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Posts in "VIPs"
June 18, 2014
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game Wednesday night.
Giffords left Congress in 2011, after she was shot during a gun rampage at an event in her district.
Her appearances in Washington are infrequent, and always spark emotion from lawmakers in both parties. She is close with the co-captains of the members’ team, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and she once played on the bipartisan team.
June 13, 2014
“American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken, the Democratic nominee in North Carolina’s 2nd District, is staffing up.
No longer “Invisible,” Aiken’s campaign is looking to hire a field director for his race against GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers, according to a job posting on a Listserv for progressive campaign jobs. For aspiring campaign workers, “This is the Night” to get involved.
“Do you want to work for Clay Aiken?” reads a job posting to the JobsthatareLEFT job Listserv. “Clay is the 2014 Democratic nominee in the North Carolina 2nd congressional district election. Our race was named a DCCC emerging race and is one of the few competitive races in this battleground state.”
May 12, 2014
Advocates for extending voting rights to the District are adding another weapon to their coalition-building arsenal: the (local) star-studded gala.
Updated 4:57 p.m. | Politicos expected to strut their stuff at the inaugural “3 Star Ball: Party With a Purpose” include: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., shadow Sen. Paul Strauss and councilmembers-turned-mayoral-hopefuls Muriel Bowser and David Catania. The event is scheduled to take place May 22 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on the scenic rooftop of the National Association of Realtors’ HQ (500 New Jersey Ave. NW).
Tickets to the gala, which will feature gourmet finger foods, frosty pours of DC Brau’s “The Citizen” and “Public Ale” and live entertainment, are $75 per person.
Organizers carved out a place for newly minted U.S. citizen José Andrés on the host committee. But, sadly, the bicoastal restaurateur will not be working his culinary magic for the mingling masses. That task falls to Alexandria, Va.-based Windows Catering, which is expected to ply partygoers with the likes of lobster rolls, beef Wellington, grilled vegetable quesadillas and cheesecake lollipops (among other nibbles).
DC Vote also plans to honor a pair of hometown heroes that night: regional suds slinger DC Brau, and Nancy Bagley, ex-aide in the administration of President Bill Clinton turned media maven (Washington Life Magazine).
“DC Brau has displayed extraordinary efforts to educate consumers about DC’s lack of congressional representation. They include messaging about DC statehood and representation on their cans of beer as well as in promotional advertising for their products,” DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry said of the brewery’s in-your-face campaigning.
May 5, 2014
The White House Correspondents Association Dinner is a chance to see and be seen, and an evening when Washington’s elite can rub elbows with Hollywood elites. Members of Congress also frequently attend as guests of the media outlets.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., lamented (sort of) that it could be his last #WHCD given he isn’t seeking re-election this fall. Before President Barack Obama began his speech, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told CQ Roll Call it was “getting old” that the president has so often taken jabs at him. (He didn’t get mentioned this time around.)
Roll Call’s guests included Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.
Here is a list of the members who attended, according to the official program.
About a week ago, the Hungry Lobbyist Twitter account posed a truly baffling question:
— HungryLobbyist.com (@HungryLobbyist) April 24, 2014
Now we know.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was shooting a 22-second cameo for a video that aired at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on May 3. The video went completely viral and is now closing in on 1 million views since it was posted online late that night.
May 4, 2014
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did not attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, but he was the star anyway.
Mid-way through the dinner, President Barack Obama presented a seven-minute long video of Biden taking “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus on an adventure around the White House and Washington, D.C.
Biden played a Steve McQueen-esque version of himself, sporting a bomber jacket and driving a Corvette around the grounds of the Naval Observatory while wearing aviators … at night.
Word spread fast online over the video. While dinner attendees rushed off to after-parties, and eventually bed, there were nearly 35,000 views of the video on YouTube as of 9:20 a.m.
May 2, 2014
There he was. Nearly 4,400 miles from home.
Just another Washington insider trying to enjoy a few precious moments in sunny Italy away from work without fixating on Congress or politics, when whom should his wandering gaze fall upon, but her.
“That time you went to a restaurant in Florence on vacation and [House Minority Leader] Nancy [Pelosi] has … enjoyed a meal there,” our tipster shared after stumbling upon a snapshot of the California Democrat during a recent European retreat.
Pelosi led a congressional delegation through the region in early 2009, stopping in Florence, Rome and Naples along the way.
Our forensics lab is still crunching all the data.
But the ‘do (length, hairstyle, color) seems to match this puckerrific pose captured just outside the Capitol in March of the same year.
Regardless of the time frame, the proud Italian-American leader appears to have made a lasting impression. Our overseas spy said her smiling mug is prominently featured “just under a picture of the owner with [singer Bruce] Springsteen, and on the same wall as photos with [actors John] Travolta and Brad Pitt — among others.”
April 27, 2014
AMTRAK NORTHEAST REGIONAL, EN ROUTE TO NEW YORK — Spending an hour-and-a-half immersed in the minutiae of retired Rep. Barney Frank’s day-to-day existence may sound like an odd way to spend a Sunday. But it’s part of the peek-behind-the-political-curtain cinephiles have come to expect from the intellectually challenging Tribeca Film Festival.
Audiences will get their first taste of “Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank,” later this afternoon.
An aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — filmmakers Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler picked the California Democrat’s brain as part of the process — told HOH his boss had seen an early cut of the flick and enjoyed the look back at her colleague’s illustrious career. Other House lawmakers and former congressional aides are very interested in seeing how Frank’s larger-than-life personality will come across on the big screen.
None of this, however, is particularly new to the Tribeca crowd.
TFF spokeswoman Tammie Rosen said the 13-year-old celebration of independent cinema has made a habit of welcoming those willing to get up close and personal with decision makers, as well as in-the-line-of-fire world leaders.
“We always have really buzzed-about docs that are political,” Rosen said of the festival’s rich history.
That tradition is alive and well this year, manifesting itself via hard looks at thought provoking subjects, including:
- “1971“ — an examination of the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI’s attempt at breaking into the top cop’s Media, Pa., HQ
- “All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State” — reflections on the first woman to serve as governor of Texas
- “In Guns We Trust“ — a glimpse into mandatory firearms ownership in Kennesaw, Ga.
- “Of Many“ — Political scion (and mom-in-training) Chelsea Clinton showed off the religiously themed documentary she co-produced a handful of times during the festival. (The final showing is today at 2:30 p.m.)
- “Silenced“ — delving into the plight of whistleblowers in a post-9/11 world
- “True Son“ — chronicling aspiring pol Michael Tubbs’ run for city council in Stockton, Calif.
- “Use of Force“ — a “fully immersive documentary experience” that places viewers in the middle of the fatal confrontation (2010) between immigrant Anastasio Hernandez Rojas and the U.S. border patrol
Rosen was unsure whether Frank was the first congressman to participate in a world premiere at TFF; she noted that Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Rwandan President Paul Kagame added political power in previous years.
April 7, 2014
Conservative artist/provocateur Sabo is no stranger to mixing members of Congress and California, as can be seen from his mock-up of a recent Ted Cruz, R-Texas, event in Beverly Hills.
But now that the Breitbart News Network has expanded to the Golden State, Sabo is helping mark the bi-coastal migration with a fresh batch of eyebrow-raising art.
The politically charged images, including one of a provocatively dressed and posed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., served as the welcome mat for the fledgling site, an act of aggression fitting with the anonymous artist’s MO.
“My aim as an artist is to be as dirty, ground level, and mean as any Liberal artist out there, more so if I can,” Sabo, who describes himself as a Republican and ex-Marine, declares on his personal website. He has previously taken shots at President Barack Obama and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, but elected to widen his scope this time around to better suit the media rollout.
Sabo assured HOH, however, that he is not on the Breitbart payroll.
“Just consider me a fan of Andrew, a kindred spirit with a common mission,” he suggested via email. “My contribution to said ‘mission’ is to help Conservatives find their creative voice. I admit my approach is rather hard edge. … That’s just the way I like it.”
He declined to specify how many posters had been papered across Los Angeles and indicated that it’s still too early too tell which anti-Democrat depiction will cause the biggest commotion.
“The posters just hit the street so, I can not comment on which has pissed ‘Progressives’ off more. I hope they all equally tie their panties in knots,” Sabo said.
Democrats here in Washington, D.C., had no such problem picking their least favorite contribution to the arts — the rather unflattering image of Pelosi.
“To say the least, the Breitbart News ad is foul, offensive, and disrespectful to all women. It is a disgusting new low and would be reprehensible against any woman — regardless of party,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., stated in a release. “It’s no wonder the Republicans are having problems appealing to women. If GOP leaders are serious about their rebrand, then both their elected and Party leadership should condemn this outrageous behavior, call on Breitbart News to immediately remove the ad, and not continue to use this website as a forum for their views.”
Per Sabo, Pelosi was on his hit list because she is “a typical gun grabbing liberal who fights to insure only the ‘authorities’ can possess firearms that way they, the political class, can run over us anytime they want without fear of retribution from the peasants.”
The others drawing fire — “They all suck, some slightly more than the other but not by much,” Sabo groused — this time around include:
California Gov. Jerry Brown
“Jerry Brown is back-wash. Californians were dumb enough to have brought back [him] from the dead; talk about a zombie invasion,” Sabo said of the boomerang pol.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
“Zuckerberg is a tech-klepto who’s nose is waaaaay too far up everyone’s business,” Sabo said.
CNN personality Piers Morgan
“Piers Morgan needs to go back home,” Sabo counseled.
Breitbart readers were, by and large, rather pleased to see their common enemies held up to ridicule and scorn:
One rabble-rouser even urged Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to take notes, but doubted the higher ups would hear her plaintive cries.
Meanwhile, a left-leaning observer vowed to counter the visual offensive by coining a new definition for “Breitbart” a la the homoerotic connotation sex columnist Dan Savage affixed to former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., years ago.
And while he may be persona non grata over in the House, Sabo appears to be in good with at least one member in the other chamber, the aforementioned Mr. Cruz.
Sabo reimagined the tea party favorite as an inked-up outlaw a few weeks back, and said the Texas Republican responded in kind. “I’m happy to report Senator Ted Cruz has a pair [of posters] and has yet to throw me under the bus,” Sabo said of his congressional fan base.
Cruz made light of the gritty depiction on Twitter, offering one small correction to the rather outlandish homage:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 15, 2014
March 20, 2014
Restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier is heading across the pond at the end of the month to partake in a culinary exchange set to include a private reception for newly minted U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, Matthew Barzun, as well as a week-long “pop-up” dining experience orchestrated alongside award-winning British toque, Simon Hulstone.
DC denizens have the opportunity to sample the distinctive flavors Wiedmaier plans to share with curious Londoners at the “A Tale of Two Cities” preview dinner scheduled to take place March 21 at Marcel’s (2401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW).
The seven-course meal ($165 per person) will showcase locally inspired dishes — including pan-seared scallops with black fermented garlic and squid ink, roasted pigeon with potato risotto and black truffle, and plum-tarragon tart with honey and cinnamon ice cream — paired with Virginia wines and spirits. Author and bon vivant Jason Tesauro has mixed together a slew of regional producers, promising pours from award-winning wineries such as Barboursville Vineyards, Thibaut-Janisson Winery (French President Francois Hollande was introduced to their bubbly at the latest state dinner) and Boxwood Estate Winery, as well as some fizzy refreshments from Foggy Ridge Cider and a little hard stuff from Catoctin Creek Distillery. Full story
March 7, 2014
Maintaining that whole separation of church and state split is a tightrope act on any given day of the year.
Church has, as of late, taken the lead on Capitol Hill thanks to the contributions of high-profile, and intimately connected, spiritual leaders.
Last week, Rep. Scott Peters experienced the rare privilege of having his father, retired pastor and civil rights activist Harvey Peters, usher in the legislative day with a prayer.
“Few members of Congress get the chance to see a parent speak in the House chamber, and I am truly thankful that I was able to share this moment with him, and with my Mom, RuthAnn, who watched from the gallery,” the California Democrat shared on the House floor. “His work instilled in me and my three sisters the values of courage and equality that I’ve tried to bring to my own service.”
An aide to the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, the chaplain of the House of Representatives, told HOH that the chaplain’s office has limited data regarding immediate family members who have presided over the morning prayer, but confirmed that Peters is in a fairly exclusive group.
Rep. Bruce Braley is in the club.
The Iowa Democrat got to see his brother, Rev. Brad Braley, prepare Congress for the work ahead during the of summer 2010. Full story
February 28, 2014
“What about the Welsh?” Rep. Morgan Griffith asked more than a year ago.
When the congressman of Welsh and Scottish descent was approached about joining the Friends of Scotland Caucus, he was surprised to learn that there was no Welsh caucus. So the Virginia Republican set out to start the new group, which launched this week.
February 25, 2014
The latest smattering of fast falling flakes to blanket the area could not keep advocacy-minded entertainers away from the Capitol on Tuesday. And there’s still more help from Hollywood already on the way.
Actress-turned-animal-rights-activist and former Elvis spouse Priscilla Presley made the rounds on behalf of the Humane Society, stumping for equine rights and relief from soring.
A tipster placed Presley at neighboring 701 Restaurant the night before, sharing that the world famous “Naked Gun” co-star broke bread for several hours with friends at the pol-pleasing establishment.
Paul Williams, ’70s-songwriter-turned-president and chairman of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, proved that he’s still a big man on this campus by tag-teaming pressers across Capitol Hill.
Williams helped usher in the new Library of Congress exhibit, “ASCAP: One Hundred Years and Beyond” and shared his thoughts with lawmakers about music royalties.
Bono, meanwhile, didn’t make it all the way to the halls of Congress — sending, instead, 250-odd friends to share his concerns with lawmakers.
A tipster said the U2 frontman surprised members of his ONE Campaign by popping into town Feb. 22 for a brief visit during which he “thanked the volunteers for their time and dedication to the fight against extreme global poverty.” The pep talk must have worked: ONE aides from more than 44 states were expected to take 222 meetings with House and Senate staffers Tuesday.
And the celeb worship is far from over.
Come Wednesday, the Dirksen Senate Office Building will be the place to be, thanks to dueling hearings featuring a pair of Tinsel Town heavies.
Actor/screenwriter Seth Rogen kicks things of at 2 p.m. by joining ex-Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., for the second round of questioning during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education hearing about Alzheimer’s. Rogen, whose mother-in-law has the debilitating disease, serves as a “celebrity champion” for the National Alzheimer’s Association.
Not to be outdone, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has snagged Academy Award-winning director — and the next in line to don Batman’s iconic cowl — Ben Affleck for a discussion poised to begin at 2:15 regarding peace prospects in the Republic of Congo. Affleck co-founded the philanthropic Eastern Congo Initiative in 2010.
February 11, 2014
It’s one hot ticket: Not just a State Dinner, but a State Dinner for the president of France, Francois Hollande. How would you like to be the chef in charge of the souffle tonight?
Members of Congress have gotten a lot of cold shoulders from the White House during the Obama presidency, having seen traditional picnics and socials be postponed, then canceled, for instance. So how did the legislative branch come out on the invite list?
A roster from the Office of the First Lady shows 11 current members of Congress on the guest list, although FLOTUS tried goose the number to 12 by promoting Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams to federal office by identifying her as “United States Representative (Georgia).” Oh, well. They’ll just have to wait for an intervening election.
Here’s the list of members attending:
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif.
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky.
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.
Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
For those of you keeping score at home, that’s eight House members and three senators. Among those, there are seven Democrats and four Republicans.
Noted congressional alumni are former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who is now secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission; former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., now secretary of Defense, and former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., currently secretary of State, along with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., formerly the distinguished senator from Delaware.
January 27, 2014
It’s not every day that the leader of the free world invites himself into our collective living room.
So it’s very likely that Tuesday’s nationally televised State of the Union address will be the most animated that many Americans will see President Barack Obama all year.
Not so on the Internet, where the artsiest among us expend a great deal of time and energy reimagining what various presidents might look like under different circumstances.
Some unload on conservative policies (such as Ronald Reagan’s famous “trickle down” philosophy):