Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 20, 2014

April 12, 2013

Rob Lowe to Narrate the 1980s

Fire up the Hot Tub Time Machine!

It’s the event every Gen-Xer has been waiting for: Affirmation that the 1980s gave birth to every culturally significant trend of the next 30 years.

And who better to guide us through this than the National Geographic Channel’s three-night, six-hour mini-series, “The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us,” narrated by Rob Lowe, he of “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Class” and “About Last Night…”

Long before Lowe played the noble Sam Seaborn on “The West Wing,” Lowe was starring in hard-R comedies in the era of leg warmers, Aqua Net and Ronald Reagan — a time we were all duly reminded of with this week’s death of another 1980s icon, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Thatcher.

“Despite its reputation for bad hair and loud clothing, the ’80s was a big, bold time, and just about everything about the era, from the politics and technological innovations to the blockbuster movies, TV shows and ‘to the max’ fashions, continues to shape the world we live in today,” a release from National Geographic Channel pants.

Even Cyndi Lauper is back, thanks to the latest Twitter misadventure of Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.

That’s what we’re talking about! Those of you who want to remember, it all starts on National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. EDT Sunday night.

Obama Wears Things on His Head

President Barack Obama said Friday that presidents don’t wear hats. But we see plenty of evidence that he’s willing to make an exception, if the chapeau is right.

Let’s start at the beginning. Earlier in the day, Obama became the second politician to be offered a helmet in the past several months.

In January, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was presented with a football jersey and a helmet after she returned to work following a fall and subsequent concussion.

On Friday, Obama presented the Navy Football team with a trophy. Two players then presented “44″ with a helmet, and, according to the pool report, “[s]omeone in the crowd shouted ‘put it on.’” Obama demurred.

“Here’s a general rule,” the president replied. “You don’t put stuff on your head if you’re president. That’s politics 101. You never look good wearing something on your head.”

He seems to have learned this great lesson from two politicians from Massachusetts and Democratic presidential candidates, Gov. Michael Dukakis and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Still, our current commander in chief has worn several things upon his head. Don’t believe us? HOH has gathered eight pictures of Barack Obama wearing, holding and regarding hats and helmets and one painting of the president with a pancake on his head.

Choom Gang Panama Hat

Obama Wears Things on His Head
(Photo courtesy of Lisa Jack)

Full story

Awkward? Jane Harman and Mark Mazzetti Together Again

In a potentially awkward encounter, former Rep. Jane Harman had nothing but warm praise this week for a new book by Mark Mazzetti, the New York Times reporter who once reported on her alleged collusion with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The California Democrat became the first female president and chief executive officer of the Woodrow Wilson Center in February 2011. Months later, Mazzetti began his tenure there as a scholar, during which he wrote “The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.” The book was released earlier this week.

In her opening remarks at Thursday’s book launch at the center, Harman said her organization gives the space for scholars such as Mazzetti, who was in attendance, to do their work.

Full story

Steve Cohen Just Wants to Have Fun

Let’s give Rep. Steve Cohen the benefit of the doubt, at the same time keeping straight all that is going into his explanation over his latest Twitter misadventure: Cyndi Lauper, his own daughter, Mavis Staples, the movie ‘Absence of Malice,’ two of his own colleagues, the White House, and, of course, the Sunlight Foundation.

At a somewhat perplexing news conference Friday afternoon, the Tennessee Democrat said that a tweet he fired off from his Twitter account Tuesday night to singer Cyndi Lauper, saying she was “hot” at a performance at the White House, wasn’t a mistake but rather a prank on the media.

Cohen gave a couple of reasons as to why he sent the tweet in question to Lauper: “CyndiLauper great night,couldn’t believe how hot u were.see you again next Tuesday.try a little tenderness”

First, he said he wanted to promote the White House program – which featured performances of Memphis music by Justin Timberlake, Queen Latifah, Mavis Staples and the Alabama Shakes, among others, and will be replayed on Tuesday on PBS.

Second, he said he was trying to turn “gotcha” journalism around on all of us journalists. Full story

Stockman Mixes Babies, Guns and Abortion With New Bumper Sticker

Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, is rapidly becoming one of our favorite members of Congress.

Political Wire’s Taegan Goddard flagged the congressman’s campaign feed tweet, which touted the latest Stockman bumper sticker. The sticker proclaims: “If babies had guns they wouldn’t be aborted.”

Stockman Mixes Babies, Guns and Abortion With New Bumper Sticker

By Neda Semnani Posted at 1:12 p.m.
Foolishness

McCotter Sues Former Staffers for Forged Ballot Signatures

Ex-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., is taking two former staffers to court, suing them for the fraudulent nomination petitions that ultimately led to his resignation from Congress in July.

In the lawsuit filed in Michigan’s Wayne County Circuit Court on Thursday, McCotter alleges that the two aides deliberately submitted forged ballot petitions to foil his re-election efforts, according to The Associated Press.

The former fringe 2012 GOP presidential hopeful filed the suit against his former deputy district director, Don Yowchuang, 34, and former intern, Dillon Breen, 20. Full story

April 11, 2013

Ex-Lawmakers to Explore Whether the Truth Is Out There

Stephen Bassett, an extraterrestrial issues activist, believes the time has come for Congress to open up about visitors from space.

While waiting, though, Bassett and his organizations, Paradigm Research Group and Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, are spending thousands of dollars for former members of Congress to hold a 30-hour “hearing” at the National Press Club from April 29 to May 3.

Bassett’s groups will pay $20,000 each to six former members — Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, and Reps. Darlene Hooley, D-Ore.;  Merrill Cook, R-Utah; Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md.; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich.; and Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif. — to preside over the “citizen hearing” as if they were on the Hill.
Full story

Celebrating Moran’s and Campbell’s Pet Projects

The Washington Humane Society will figuratively pat congressional animal-loving Reps. James P. Moran, D-Va., and John Campbell, R-Calif., on the head Saturday during the 7th annual Fashion for Paws gala.

The co-chairmen of the Animal Protection Caucus will be jointly honored with the 2013 Humane Hero Award, recognition for their work on the behalf of our four-legged friends everywhere.

Tickets to the glitzy shindig, scheduled from 8 p.m. to midnight at the National Building Museum, are $150 per person and benefit the Washington Humane Society.
Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 7:07 p.m.
AwesomeSauce

Taste of the South Readies Down-Home Comforts

Washington’s Southern belles and their beaus will glam up Saturday night for the annual Taste of the South at DAR Constitution Hall.

Tickets for the charity gala ­— $125 per person ­— sold out within two weeks, according to the event’s chairwoman, Alyson Gabel, primarily to staffers and lobbyists excited for drinks, dancing and down-home delicacies from 13 Southern states in the name of a good cause.

Since Taste of the South’s founding in 1982, the event annually has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable initiatives throughout the South. This year’s featured charity is Mercy House, a nonprofit based in Harrisonburg, Va., that helps homeless families. Proceeds will also help The Fishing School, a D.C.-based youth development organization, and other charities from the host states.
Full story

Overheard on the Hill

“First time I can remember having a joint Democrats and Republicans lunch since I’ve been here.”

Sen. Bob Corker, regarding Thursday’s joint-caucus Senate lunch to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Sen. John McCain’s release from a North Vietnamese war prison.

By Emily Cadei Posted at 7:04 p.m.
Overheards

Ex-Lawmakers to Investigate Extra-Terrestrials

Former members of Congress will bring their investigative chops back to Washington later this month to get to the bottom of an issue that has vexed scientists in both the U.S. government as well as the “X-Files” for years — the existence of extraterrestrial life and the U.S. government’s alleged cover-up of the issue.

According to the group Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, ex-Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, ex-Rep. Darlene Hooley, D-Ore., ex-Rep. Merrill Cook, R-Utah, ex-Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., ex-Rep Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., and ex-Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., “will attempt to accomplish what the Congress has failed to do for forty-five years — seek out the facts surrounding the most important issue of this or any other time.”

The former members will convene their hearings, to span 30 hours, from April 29-May 3.

Full story

By Neda Semnani Posted at 1:39 p.m.
AwesomeSauce

April 10, 2013

Bid Your Way to Being a Political Influencer

We’ve been sequestered. The economy is still sputtering along. And the tax man is demanding to get paid next week.

Amazingly, some folks out there appear to have extra loot lying around. And, if auction website Charitybuzz is to be believed, aspiring philanthropists are not afraid to trade big bucks for entry into the political arena.

Why risk having your dirty laundry aired by running for office when you can simply cut a check — granted, by all appearances it’ll have to be a fairly big one — and spend a summer afternoon sailing with Ted Kennedy Jr.? This day trip to Hyannis Port, Mass., has an estimated value of $15,000 (proceeds benefit the Austen Riggs psychiatric center), but was going for roughly a third of that at press time.
Full story

Reichert Still Carries Green River Killer Case With Him Years Later

While many members of Congress proverbially cut their teeth in politics, Rep. Dave Reichert’s throat was cut with a butcher knife. The Washington Republican faced down perps with loaded shotguns pointed at him. And he developed an empathy for runaways because he was once one himself.

As sheriff of King County in his home state, Reichert investigated kidnappings and murders, and rose to prominence by helping bring down the infamous Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway.

“It has become a part of me,” Reichert told HOH as he prepared for a panel discussion on the case Wednesday night at the Naval Heritage Center in D.C. “It was such a tragic and dramatic time in my life and [that of] every investigator that worked on the case.”
Full story

Minnesota Delegation Digs Into Annual Hotdish Fight

It’s not every day that you get to watch members of Congress battle it out over who can make the best hotdish. But for HOH, Wednesday was that glorious, calorie-laden day.

Senate Democrat Al Franken hosted the third annual Minnesota delegation “Hotdish Cook Off” in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Minnesota Delegation Digs Into Annual Hotdish Fight

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Ex-Reps. Vin Weber, R-Minn., and Gerry Sikorski, D-Minn., pulled bipartisan judging duty, sampling each of the nine featured dishes and ultimately weighing in on their favorite.

After great deliberation, House Democrat Tim Walz took top honors and earned bragging rights for his dish, dubbed “Hermann The German Hotdish” after a bobblehead statue of the Hermann Monument in New Ulm, Minn.

Full story

Capitol Quip: Five Captions Ready to Blossom

Capitol Quip: Five Captions Ready to Blossom

Here are the five finalists for this week’s caption contest. Now it’s your turn to vote.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • This is nice, but until Congress gets their act together, I fear it’s all just bloom and gloom.
  • Looks like we are seeing 5 percent less growth this year.
  • So it IS true — Washington really is full of flakes!
  • Couldn’t we just tiptoe through the tulips?
  • Too bad we can’t tax cherry blossoms. Wait a sec …

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on April 15 and in Monday’s print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 6:04 p.m.
Capitol Quip

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