Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2014

Posts in "POTUS"

July 29, 2014

Mashup King Tortures Bill Murray With Droning Dick Cheney

Our condolences to involuntary time traveler Phil Connors, but political activist Diran Lyons has a rather rude awakening for you.

The “Groundhog Day Remix” is the latest viral vid bait to spring from Lyons’ news-saturated skull.

He told HOH inserting former Vice President Dick Cheney’s latest pronouncements about the war on terror into the nightmarish scenario was all about purging himself of mounting frustration.

“Cheney’s recent comments in the media about military spending, Syria and Iraq began to irritate me … I felt somewhat like Murray and the clock radio, constantly being subjected to views on foreign policy that I find disagreeable,” Lyons said. When he sat down last month to revisit the iconic flick — something he says he and his family do “at least once a year together” — the wheels started turning and, voila, another custom tailored clip was set in motion.

His most widely perused effort to date (940,000-plus views and counting) has to be the one wherein President Barack Obama choppily utters every last combative word of Jay-Z’s rap anthem, “99 Problems.”

Full story

Life on Sarah Palin’s Wavelength

After years of randomly popping up on cable news shows, conservative documentaries and in single-season series, one-time GOP vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin is ready to build a programming empire all her own.

The former governor of Alaska has teamed with digital media platform TAPP to launch the subscription-based Sarah Palin Channel. The SPC marks the second outing by TAPP, which waded into the online market this past March with the religiously themed “New Life TV with Steve Arterburn.”

“Together let’s live life vibrantly, purposefully and boldly,” the Alaska Republican implores viewers in her welcome video.

A TAPP aide told HOH that Palin’s new project has been in development for several months, and currently features a series of “sample” video clips — watch her frag President Barack Obama in response to a reader-submitted query regarding political leadership and weave a pro-energy independence pitch through commentary about Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The company has plans to court additional constituencies (a word cloud touts “fantasy sports,” “addictions” and “paranormal” content as viable contenders) in the future.

For $9.95 a month, or $99.95 per year, subscribers get all the current content — selected “behind the scenes” videos; the word of the day from Palin’s mother, Sally Heath; a real-time countdown until the end of Obama’s second term — plus the ability to comment and contribute to Palin’s planned infotainment portal.

There’s also a two-week, no-obligation trial period for those unsure about the self-styled news aggregator.

Those who register before Aug. 1 are promised two additional months of free viewing. Military personnel currently on active duty are encouraged to email SPC (proudlyserving@SarahPalinChannel.com) to receive free access to the evolving site.

Per TAPP, programmers are still working on the exact formula for populating the channel. “It will be 95 percent original content,” our contact said.

But they are leaving the door open to revisiting some of Palin’s greatest hits. Full story

July 25, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of July 21 (Video)

As members discuss ski resorts, bears and rivers, the Vice President reminds us why America should be “number one.”

July 22, 2014

Richard Nixon: Cookbook Connoisseur, Fan of Sophie Leavitt’s ‘Penny Pincher’s Cook Book’

While the Washington Post is poised to revel in the 40th anniversary of its administration-toppling Watergate investigation, we here at HOH would prefer to reflect on the positive things President Richard Milhous Nixon brought to the table.

An appreciation of cheap eats, for one.

These days, no one thinks twice about having the White House weigh in on what’s on their plate because first lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to keep nutrition and healthful dining in the public consciousness. One could argue that Nixon helped plant the seed for sustaining a public discourse on maximizing hard earned food dollars by standing firmly behind author Sophie Leavitt’s “Penny Pincher’s Cook Book.”

Richard Nixon: Cookbook Connoisseur, Fan of Sophie Leavitts Penny Pinchers Cook Book

(CQ Roll Call)

The 1971 book — which this reporter just happened to stumble upon while poking around one of those “take a book, leave a book” bins in Old Town Alexandria — encourages would-be cooks not only to adopt frugality, but to embrace it as a source of inspiration. Full story

July 11, 2014

Congress-edits Is Just the Latest to Keep Tabs on Pols’ Cyber Stumbles

Another day, another resource to expose the often clueless political operatives who foolishly tool around the Internet believing their subversive activities — be they illicit, shady or just plain dumb — will never come back to bite them in the arse.

It’s getting so that overzealous Hill staffers and campaign spin doctors can’t rewrite history without someone calling them out for flooding the online ether with lies, damned lies and, well, you know the rest.

Senate hopeful Mike McFadden, the Republican pick to challenge Minnesota Democrat Al Franken this fall, received a crash course in transparency after aides got caught tinkering with unflattering responses to a divisive TV spot. Full story

July 8, 2014

Chowing Down, Cleveland-Style

Now that the Republican National Committee has elected to give Cleveland a star turn come 2016, it’s time for political operatives (and reporters) to begin debating the only thing that really matters during nominating conventions: Where we all gonna eat?

Granted, some would-be pundits and cash-strapped hacks may wind up wandering no further than whatever media-sponsored hangout keeps the complimentary drinks flowing that summer.

But we here at HOH are all about exploring C-Town to the fullest. Full story

July 3, 2014

Malia Obama’s July 4th Sweet 16

Malia Obamas July 4th Sweet 16

Malia, far right, turns 16 the same day as America’s birthday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the Obama family, Friday’s Fourth of July celebrations will also mark another milestone — Malia Obama’s sweet 16 birthday.

President Barack Obama made note Tuesday during a speech in Washington of Malia’s upcoming Independence Day birthday, with the president showing some apprehension as Malia begins to inch toward adulthood.

“With the Fourth of July on Friday — also Malia’s birthday for those of you who are interested — she will be 16,” the president said before beginning his remarks on the Highway Trust Fund. “A little worrisome.”

Turning 16 means Malia may soon be behind the wheel, as she will be at the minimum age eligible to obtain a driver’s permit in the District. Michelle Obama confirmed to Jimmy Fallon in February that Malia will indeed be on the road this summer, warning Washingtonians to “watch out.”

The Obamas have in the past marked Malia’s birthday in an array of locations, including on the campaign trail in 2012 and at Camp David in 2009.

Also in 2009, the president addressed military families on July Fourth in Washington as Malia turned 11 years old.

“When she was younger, I used to say that all these fireworks were for her,” the president said. “I’m not sure she still buys that.”

By Cady Zuvich Posted at 2:51 p.m.
FLOTUS, Kiddies, POTUS

June 27, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of June 23 (Video)

While members counted votes and confused reporters in their final week before the July Fourth recess, John A. Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell sang to overcome the odds.

June 25, 2014

Ike Skelton Auction Items Illustrate the Softer Side of Public Service

The Kansas City Auction and Appraisal Company has cataloged a treasure trove of personal effects and private letters the late Rep. Ike Skelton amassed throughout his career and has made them all available to interested buyers through June 30.

Ike Skelton Auction Items Illustrate the Softer Side of Public Service

(Screenshot)

The Missouri Democrat, who spent more than 30 years in the House and served two terms as House Armed Services Committee chairman, died of pneumonia in late 2013.

Kansas City Auction owner Jason Roske told HOH his team spent months sorting through the myriad congressional correspondence and politically-related knick-knacks supplied by the estate in order to curate the 356 lots that compromise the “Ike Skelton Collection.”

“There were well over 1,000 documents that we had to go through, piece by piece,” he said of the carefully picked over political ephemera.

The assembled offerings run the gamut from breezy collegial how-do-you-dos — including exchanges with ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.; the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii; and Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr., D-Mass. — to White House bill signings reaching back decades.

“As far as we can tell, there just have not been a lot of opportunities to sell a collection like this. Period,” Roske said. Full story

June 24, 2014

White House Intern Faints at Press Briefing (Video)

A White House intern fainted at the end of a press briefing Tuesday, one day after Press Secretary Josh Earnest took over the position Jay Carney held for three years.

According to the White House pool report, it was the intern’s first day on the job.

June 6, 2014

Can Obama’s Tumblr Town Hall Compete With ‘Texts From Hillary?’

With President Barack Obama getting ready to host a Q-and-A on Tumblr on education, it’s worth revisiting one of the best Tumblr memes ever, which started with a little old exchange between Obama and a very in-charge Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Can Obamas Tumblr Town Hall Compete With Texts From Hillary?

(Screenshot courtesy of Tumblr)

Has it really been two years since “Texts from Hillary” debuted? My how time flies.

By Jason Dick Posted at 11:52 a.m.
POTUS, Webtastic

May 30, 2014

Jose Canseco Swings for the OPM Fences

Former Major League Baseball star Jose Canseco is done with being just Twitter famous. He wants into the big show.

 

The all-star slugger turned reality TV go-to dusted off his #yeswecanseco slogan Friday — you know, the one he used during his short-lived bid to unseat embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford — in order to lobby President Barack Obama for exiting White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s post.

Canseco’s Twinterview was short, but quite telling.

He provided insights into his:

Management skills

 

Full story

May 21, 2014

Rocker Chad Smith Does D.C. Right

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith has banged out a whole bunch of special appearances this week, from hanging with first lady Michelle Obama at the first White House talent show to cracking wise about the music biz in front of the Capitol.

Rocker Chad Smith Does D.C. Right

Smith has been rocking the Capitol this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The best part of the trip, though, had to be showing his eldest son, Cole, around the White House.

“My son for some reason, 9 years old, all things presidential he is just enamored with,” Smith told HOH. To wit, Smith noted that while visiting the Oval Office, Cole dropped some knowledge on the tour guide about the reason behind the circular design — something about not being able to sneak up on POTUS — that the administration aide claimed to be unfamiliar with.

“So Cole is now giving tours of the White House,” Smith quipped.

He said Cole got the shock of his young life when President Barack Obama unexpectedly popped by a FLOTUS-led event and took a shine to the nattily attired young man.

“He had on this seersucker suit, my son. Which he never wears a suit. It’s the only suit he has,” Smith shared.

When 44 got up close and personal, Smith said, Cole got all the love.

“Barack was like, ‘Nice to meet you, Chad. … Hey, nice suit. Where’d you get that suit? Ah, Seersucker. Summer’s coming,’” Smith noted. “So he was talking to my son about fashion.”

Or was he?

“And Cole’s like, ‘The president called me a sucker,’” Smith said, choking back laughter. Full story

May 20, 2014

White House Surrogates Pregame at Big Bear Café

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities members Sarah Jessica Parker, Frank Gehry, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Chuck Close all made a night of if it Monday in Bloomingdale, taking over Big Bear Café at 1700 First St. NW for a private party filled with what sounds like good cheer and some pretty fabulous food.

HOH alumna Neda Semnani was unable to contain her excitement about the roaming celebs — the group is in town to help scrounge up additional resources for artistic programs; some have been recruited to do a little arm-twisting Wednesday while crisscrossing the Capitol — blasting out the news of the SPJ-led invasion to the Twittersphere.

A Big Bear staffer told HOH that the group of 25 enjoyed a casual dinner culled from the restaurant’s current menu — with some embellishments (natch).

“We did send out some special bites to start that included Keswick Creamery quark from the Sunday farmers market on a raisin crostini with black olive truffle tapenade, chicken liver pate with cherried brandies on sourdough crostini, smoked bluefish rillettes, and house pickled ramps and asparagus — grown by our friends at Bounty Hill Farms,” our tipster said of the gourmet nibbles sprung upon the visiting celebs.

Per our source, ex-Tabard Inn Executive Chef Paul Pelt was on hand to help craft some of the tasty new additions, including a shrimp remoulade accompanied by fried pickled green tomato that debuted Monday night and will remain on the BBC menu moving forward. We hear Parker also indulged in a portion of Pelt’s signature gumbo.

Meanwhile, newly minted pastry chef Huw Griffiths (another Tabard Inn alumnus) provided guests with sweet send-offs of rhubarb apple crisp and chocolate dacquoise.

With all those talented folks assembled under one roof, there had to be some drama, right?

Not so, swore the insider.

“Staff didn’t hear one crazy thing all night, strangely — but definitely witnessed a genuine bond and appreciation for each other; their involvement in the program and a love of kids,” our spy suggested.

The restaurant was so pleased with the way everything turned out, in fact, that staff extended an open invitation to have any (or all) of the first-timers return whenever they’re back in town.

And their local pals appear to be welcome too.

“The Obamas and Bidens have yet to visit Big Bear,” Team BBC noted. “But we’re hopeful that last night’s party will put in a good word for us.”

May 6, 2014

Becerra Aides Help Spread Mariachi Madness

Sure, it’s a mostly manufactured holiday. But Cinco de Mayo can still mean big business here in D.C. — particularly for the well-connected musicians in Mariachi Los Amigos.

Becerra Aides Help Spread Mariachi Madness

(Courtesy Team Becerra)

The band of rotating performers — an aide to House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California said the current troupe has been in place since late 2007; clips on their Facebook page suggest some iteration of the group has been enchanting fiesta-goers since at least 2001 — includes Daniel Herrera (violinist), who currently serves as deputy communications director for the House Democratic Caucus; Lorenzo Olvera (guitar), a former Becerra staffer; and Lorenzo’s brother Roberto Olvera (trumpet).

Monday was a big day for the boys; the band had been booked for four nearly back-to-back gigs, beginning with a dignitary-packed breakfast hosted by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the United States Naval Observatory. Full story

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