Now that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., has announced his resignation, Congress will soon turn to the political football that will be confirming his successor. This brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip captioning contest.
Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and everyone can vote for the winner through Thursday.
To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.
Chapur and Sanford in happier times. (Courtesy CNN)
Mark Sanford asked fiancee Maria Belen Chapur to wait two more years for a wedding. She said no — and Sanford then surprised her by writing that epic, now infamous Facebook post announcing the breakup and blaming the split on an ugly custody battle with his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford.
Chapur told The New York Times in an interview from Paris — where she had just spent a week with Sanford — that the South Carolina Republican wanted her to wait two more years for a wedding, an offer she rejected.
“I’ve already been five years waiting and two years since the engagement,” she said, when asking why she wrote to Sanford and rejected his offer of waiting two more years as a girlfriend before matrimony.
She told the paper she thinks the request by Sanford to wait two more years had more to do with his political ambitions than with his custody dispute, though in two years the custody dispute would be moot.
“I think that I was not useful to him anymore — he made the engagement thing four months before the elections,” Chapur told the Times. “So this is not about his son, this is about his career and his ambitions,” she said, even as she called Sanford “the love of my life.”
Nobody likes a breakup. So when the Roll Call newsroom caught wind of South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford’s 2,346-word Facebook post announcing his breakup with fiancée Maria Belén Chapur as the result of an ongoing custody battle with his ex-wife, we wanted to help.
Here’s a Spotify playlist that Rep. Sanford can drown his sorrows with while he eats his Ben and Jerry’s.
Sanford broke the news on Facebook. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
In an epic Facebook post, Rep. Mark Sanford announced he is calling off his engagement with Maria Belén Chapur because of the stress of an ongoing custody dispute with his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford.
The South Carolina Republican famously left the state as governor for a secret tryst with Chapur while claiming he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. When he was caught, the incident interrupted an ascendant political career and ended his marriage before he made a comeback.
In the 2,346-word Facebook post, Sanford details the stress of his ongoing custody disputes with his ex-wife, including a new suit seeking to limit his access to one of his sons — something Sanford said he already doesn’t have because she has full custody and has been limiting his access already.
“I cannot do this anymore,” he says at one point. Here’s a key passage:
“In their summons I am ‘restrained’ from the following:
“Consuming or being under the influence of illegal drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol in the presence, or while responsible for, the care of the minor child.” This really is crazy. Why would one throw out the need for restraint if it were not a problem – or if one did not want to raise the specter of a problem? On this one all I can ask is that you talk to anyone who has seen or known me over my entire 54 years in the Low Country. I have never taken any illegal drug in my life. I did not drink in high school or college and though I do drink now, my consumption is so limited that my friends give me a hard time about it. I will have but one beer or two when out at a social occasion.
“Restrained from entering or attempting to enter the property of Plaintiff.” We have already been through this with the Super bowl and my taking our youngest son Blake home from a Super bowl party two years ago when his mom was out of town. I made the wrong call (though I thought the right call as a dad to be with him and not to just drop him off) and have never set foot on her property since then. I don’t know why this is being brought back up again.
“Exposing the minor child overnight to a member of the opposite sex not related by blood who could be reasonably construed as a paramour.” Though Jenny herself has certainly not lived up to this clause it is clearly aimed at me given near everyone knows about Belen and in that regard it seems designed to create intrigue where none exists. The younger boys have never spent a night housed under the same roof with Belen and with the exception of one night and a major conversation that lasted well into that night, the same holds true for the older boys. I was primarily motivated to do so by a love for the boys and wanting to go to great lengths to never again put them in an uncomfortable spot. I was also motivated by fear because there was very frequently a consequence in not being allowed to see the boys if I did something my former wife disliked.
No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter, and for this reason Belen and I have decided to call off the engagement. Maybe there will be another chapter when waters calm with Jenny, but at this point the environment is not conducive to building anything given no one would want to be caught in the middle of what’s now happening. Belen is a remarkably wonderful woman who I have always loved and I will be forever grateful for not only the many years we have known and loved each other, but the last six very tough ones wherein she has encouraged me and silently borne its tribulations with her ever warm and kind spirit.”
If the Palmetto State bachelor needs help completing the catharsis, maybe this Spotify playlist compiled by the Roll Call newsroom will help.
Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Texas, jumped into action during a flight home to Texas on Friday night to help a young boy next to him who was choking on a chicken nugget.
“I had my headphones on and was listening to some news articles,” Gallego told CQ Roll Call during a phone interview Monday, when he heard a commotion next to him.
Beside the freshman congressman was a 3-year-old boy and the boy’s mother, who was also holding a baby. The woman stood up and started shouting, “Oh my God, my son is choking! He’s choking!”
“I turned around quickly and I had to unbuckle his seat belt,” said Gallego. He then put one hand on the child’s back and one on the child’s sternum, and gently pushed forward. “As I did that he turned around to look at me and I ended up with chicken nuggets on my chest,” but the child was alright. Full story
Gowdy, right, needles colleagues Boehner, Graham and Harris. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Who knew Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., was so deft with a punchline (admittedly, a pretty corny one)?
The former prosecutor had the audience at Maryland GOP’s Red, White and Blue dinner last week howling over a shaggy-dog tale featuring fellow Republicans Speaker John A. Boehner, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Andy Harris in heaven.
Here’s a transcript of the joke, currently getting a lot of attention on YouTube:
“Before we talk about how to win again — and I know this is the first time I’ve met many of you and it’s socially inappropriate to share the details of a dream with a group that you’ve just met. I don’t know how many of you have a background in psychiatry or psychology, but I did, I had a horrible dream last night. If you’d give me just a couple of minutes I’d love to share it with you and if any of you can interpret it, that’d be great too.
“In my dream John Boehner, Lindsey Graham and Andy Harris all tragically died and, and went to heaven the same day. It can happen, I guess. Two of ‘em for sure. I think, I think it was a lightning bolt hitting a golf cart but I am not for sure how they died.
“But I know that they got to heaven and St. Peter said, “Look, I know you’re big shots on earth but there are rules up here. You need to follow the rules or there are going to be consequences.” Well Speaker Boehner was the first person to break the rules in heaven. He broke into a CVS to steal some cigarettes and some tanning lotion. It’s my dream, it happened. Trust me, I’m a lawyer.
“So in my dream I see John Boehner and he is chained to Nancy Pelosi with a ten-foot long chain. And in a voice as loud as thunder I hear, ‘John Boehner you violated the rules of heaven and this is your punishment for all of eternity.’
“And then I see Lindsey Graham. And Lindsey’s running around in heaven, wanting to know where John McCain is. I’m not going to get into why McCain wasn’t there. That’s up to somebody else but in my dream, in my dream, Senator Graham was chained to Roseanne Barr with a five-foot, a five-foot long chain. And a voice as loud as thunder I hear, ‘Lindsey Graham you have violated the rules of heaven and this is your punishment for all of eternity.’
“And this is where I get emotional because Andy’s a friend. Andy’s a friend but in my dream I see Dr. Andy Harris and he is chained with a five-foot long chain to the former supermodel Cindy Crawford. And in a voice as loud as thunder I hear, ‘Cindy Crawford you have violated the rules — ‘ [interrupted by laughter]
After his shocking primary loss, outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s days are numbered on Capitol Hill. So will the Virginia Republican’s next move be to the dance floor?
It will if Sara Benincasa has her way. Benincasa, a California-based writer and comedian, recently started a Change.org petition asking ABC to offer Cantor a spot on their competition series “Dancing with the Stars.”
“If Tom DeLay can do it, Eric Cantor can freaking rock this show,” Benincasa wrote on the petition. “He is a dreamboat and even if you don’t like his politics, you need to admit that the man’s got swag. Plus, he’s got some time on his hands, and this is a way better use of time than becoming some lobbyist. He can do that AFTER he wins Dancing With The Stars. “
The petition has more than 80 signatures so far, but Benincasa says Cantor should be getting more support. “I think Eric Cantor deserves better than 83 people,” Benincasa said in a phone interview.
Benincasa is editor-in-chief of the site “Happy Nice Time People,” a political humor website. She said she started the petition because she is “really interested in anything that could get a politician involved with entertainment,” adding that Cantor would also be nice to watch on TV.
“Even though I don’t agree with his politics, I agree with his face,” Benincasa said. She added that he could also use dance as a way to express himself once he leaves Congress.
“I feel like Eric Cantor has demonstrated a lot of passion in his life,” she said. “And I feel like the only way for that passion to find a voice now is through the magic of dance.”
So if Cantor decides to become one of the dancing stars, he can at least call another former House majority leader for cha-cha tips.
King posed with a group of students who qualified for the the National History Day contest at the University of Maryland at College Park next week. According to a King spokesperson, the students in the photo are from Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland, Maine, and are some of the 59 students from Maine who will participate in the national contest.
The National History Day competition includes students from across the country who advanced through local and state contests for the top history projects that address this year’s theme of “Rights and Responsibilities in History.”
Updated 7:33 p.m. | Republicans won the 13th annual First Tee Congressional Challenge on Monday, taking home the coveted Roll Call Cup for the third straight year.
Ten Republicans and 10 Democrats faced off on the sunny links of Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md. All of the players hailed from the House and included Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the new special committee on Benghazi, Assistant Minority Leader James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., and Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game star Cedric L. Richmond, D-La.
But for members of Congress, playing in this competition is about more than bragging rights. The funds raised from the competition are donated to The First Tee, a youth golf program.
“People want to play well. I think most everybody has a pretty competitive nature,” said three-time Republican captain Rep. Ander Crenshaw of Florida. “But big picture, we get to raise money for First Tee. I think everybody would say that’s the main reason we’re out here.”
Compared to last year’s nail-biting match that ended in a tie, the Republicans won outright this year, 14-6. Because the cup must be “taken,” if a match ends in a tie, the team in current possession of the cup retains it — hence last year’s tie resulting in the GOP holding onto the cup they had won in 2012.
Crenshaw holds the trophy after the GOP victory. (Christina Bellantoni/CQ Roll Call)
The GOP players dominated the three nine-hole rounds of golf. The first two rounds of team competition gave Republicans plenty of confidence going into the final round of individual match-ups.
Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, who has served as the Democrats’ captain for four years, said the game also gives lawmakers a chance to get to know one another as people, not just politicians.
“We’re often yelling at each other within the political theater that we occupy, but this way we can actually talk like reasonable human beings,” said Yarmuth. “And it’s very refreshing just to form personal relationships.” He joked at an awards ceremony later that he already has told DCCC they need to recruit some good players.
Crenshaw, Yarmuth, Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., left early so they could vote on HR 2203, a bill to recognize golfer Jack Nicklaus for his service “in promoting excellence, good sportsmanship, and philanthropy.”
Niklaus is speaking on the Hill Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. (It’s National Golf Day.)
“Alright, I’m on the way to a town hall, but first, let me take a selfie.”
So says Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., who goes on to post a spoof of the viral video “#SELFIE” by The Chainsmokers on YouTube, mixing the song with his own self-taken pictures with constituents, fellow lawmakers and others.
Duffy posed with Barbara Walters and Speaker John A. Boehner and even took a “bipartisan selfie” with House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.
He’s even included some of Roll Call’s own documentation of him selfie-ing! Toward the end of the video, that picture of him doing a video selfie on the East Front? Photo Editor Bill Clark took that one.
“I’m jumping on a trend to try to engage my younger constituents,” Duffy told Mashable. “They need to know that a lot of what’s happening now will impact their futures. If taking a ‘selfie’ with the chair of the SEC, Steny Hoyer or Alzheimer’s research advocates, gets their attention, then it’s worth it. Plus, it’s fun.”
Duffy has been taking selfies and posting selfie videos for more than a year. “It’s more candid and he can be more off the cuff, which people respond to,” said Duffy’s spokesperson, Cassie Smedile.
Smedile said when constituents and other groups come into Duffy’s office, they often want to take a selfie with the congressman, in addition to the posed photo.
When Duffy’s staff saw the song “#SELFIE” taking off online a few weeks ago, they thought it would be a fun idea to use Duffy’s photos to create their own video and the congressman was on board. According to Smedile, the House Republican Conference’s digital team helped assemble the video during the recent recess.
The response has been “overwhelmingly positive in a way that I think even surprised us,” said Smedile. She said Duffy’s younger constituents have been especially responsive to the video, sharing it with friends online and retweeting it as well.
“The point of it was to try and engage this younger constituency that isn’t necessarily paying attention to what we’re doing on a day-to-day basis, and we were shocked that they responded to it like they did.” said Smedile.
So far, the video has nearly 9,000 views on YouTube. The Wisconsin Republican is no stranger to the limelight; he was a cast member on MTV’s “Real World” and “Road Rules” reality programs.
Not much can beat the House Agriculture Committee for showing what a rich and diverse country we live in. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s appearance Thursday for a “Review the State of the Rural Economy” had moments that felt like the scene in “Men in Black” where Tommy Lee Jones turns to the National Enquirer to get reliable news.
The mainstream media are missing some big stories.
Like “the black vultures problem that is plaguing the Southeast,” says Tennessee Republican Scott DesJarlais. The vultures are attacking livestock, often going for the eyes — but not always. “They also attack the backside of animals,” DesJarlais says. That detail prompts a quick mental check about April Fools’ Day. There’s no comfort in confirming that it was two days earlier.
Farmers are setting off fireworks and firing their guns into the air because they can’t kill the vultures without a permit. Unruffled (heh heh), the vultures keep coming back. Full story