Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 4, 2015

December 9, 2013

Palin Book Critiques: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Political pot-stirrer Sarah Palin’s new book, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas,” has been released just in time for the holiday shopping blitz.

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Based on the online reviews to date, the polarizing tome appears to be brimming with exactly what true believers and fervent detractors both wanted to hear.

The latest publishing effort by the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee marries the former Alaskan governor’s personal reflections about Christmas with her current campaign to shame secularists for presumably robbing this nation of its holiest of holidays. The book debuted in mid-November and briefly broke onto The New York Times best-seller list (debuting at No. 13).

A fellow Breitbart scribe (Palin pens a column for the conservative blogging network) praised Palin’s prose as a “brisk and enjoyable read.”

“Even as we learn that Todd Palin gives the Governor what she considers the coolest of Christmas gifts — such as a .30-06 rifle, hockey skates, and a ‘beautiful red manual ice auger for ice fishing’ — Palin packs powerful punches,” Peter Schweizer proclaimed late last week.

Critics, however, have been punching back via faux five-star (and some one-star) reviews on Amazon.

A commenter who identifies himself as Brian C. Gardner of Cleveland, Ohio, could not contain his excitement, declaring the item “the book America most needs right now” on the very day of its publication.

“Christmas is real. Not only is it real but, just as the earth was created in six literal days six thousand years ago, it is more powerful than the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, Labor day, and Memorial Day combined. It is the Voltron of Holy Days, not to be confused with the liberal facade of ‘holidays,’” Gardner asserts in his tongue-in-cheek takedown.

A commenter who identifies himself as Joel Cruz of Chicago, Ill., marveled at Palin’s commanding grip on the issues of the day.

“In concise, two-syllable words and plenty of illustrations, Mrs. Palin calls us to battle, Constitution in hand, Bible in the other, and the Declaration of Independence in the other against the forces that would steal our Christmases and in doing so, return to the greater, snow-white America that we love. Mrs. Palin, I doff my tri-cornered hat to you and humbly lay my godless degrees in Bible, history, and theology at your Alaskan feet!” Cruz jeered. Full story

The 5Kers of Capitol Hill: Running Mystery Solved!

HOH has finally discovered where all those would-be marathoners — you know, the weekend warriors who flood city streets in matching T-shirts and kitschy headgear — are always racing off to:

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Turns out, everyone really wants to hang in some creepy, closet-looking space on the top floor of the Cannon Building. (We don’t get what all the fuss is about.)

By Warren Rojas Posted at 11:25 a.m.
Foolishness, HillSide

December 8, 2013

Holiday Partying, the Washington Way | Capitol Quip

CapitolQuip-12-09-13.jpg

‘Tis the season for celebrating holiday cheer, as long as you don’t sit down with a plate and silverware! With the holiday party season in full swing, members of Congress and staffers get to socialize — as long as they don’t break any ethics guidelines, that is. This all brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section. Editors will pick five finalists on Dec. 11, and everyone can vote for the winner through Dec. 12.

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Nuke ‘Em High | Capitol Quip

 CapitolQuip-12-02-13-Final.jpg

Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for last week’s Capitol Quip contest. Here’s the winning entry, as voted by readers of Heard on the Hill.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

December 6, 2013

John McCain Saves the Day at Harris Teeter

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Veteran Democrat aide Ty Matsdorf, who is typically bogged down amassing blistering opposition research, finally found something Republican to be thankful for on Friday: Sen. John McCain.

 

The former contributor to President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign told HOH that the Arizona Republican came to his overburdened wife’s rescue while she was out gathering groceries at the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter at 3600 S. Glebe Road in Arlington, Va.

Per Matsdorf, his mother accompanied his wife and newborn daughter to the store. But as they made their way back to the car, grandma had to rush back into the Teeter, leaving mama Matsdorf to wrestle with the bulky baby carrier, a full cart and the rain.

“As she was exiting, McCain was entering with an empty cart. Upon seeing my wife, he immediately stopped and unprompted said, ‘Let me help you,’” Matsdorf said of the kindly gesture. “My wife said ‘no, no’ but he insisted saying, ‘I know how hard it is with kids.’ He then left his empty cart, and pushed my wife’s all the way to our car, which apparently was really far away because my wife couldn’t find parking.”

Once at the car, Matsdorf said McCain even offered to help unload the groceries. But by then his mother had returned, and Team Matsdorf was able to resume control of the parenting fray.

Here’s to knights in shining armor, whatever their political stripe might be.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:11 p.m.
AwesomeSauce, Sens

Second Richest Member Bemoans Health Care Costs (Video)

Turns out Americans without employer-based health insurance might not be the only ones hit with higher insurance premiums.

Rep. Michael McCaul, Congress’ second richest member, took to the House floor this week to criticize the Affordable Care Act. The Texas Republican, with an estimated net worth of at least $114 million, said he lost his health care plan and his premiums on the D.C. Health Exchange went up significantly, impacting his family.

As the health care law rolls out for members and staffers, McCaul — who has significant investments in health insurance companies such as United Health Group and Aetna, according to his financial disclosures — wanted all to know he felt the pinch, too.

By JM Rieger Posted at 4:04 p.m.
Reps

This Year’s Most Beautiful Christmas Card

The parade of self-styled holiday greetings has officially begun. And we dare suggest that the first vanity project to cross our desk may very well win the entire season.

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

For those of you not lucky enough to bask in the glory of House staffer Scott Cunningham’s Christmas correspondence, the legislative aide to Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, re-purposed his debut on this year’s “50 Most Beautiful” list by The Hill as the backdrop for his personal greeting.

“Making The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People list? Easy. Sending my Christmas cards out on time? Harder than keeping the government open,” the House GOP aide quipped, referring back to the unscheduled legislative break that was Drunktober.

Cunningham’s bold maneuver (bonus points for making light of the government shutdown, what with Congress unlikely to beat reindeer poop in a public opinion poll right now) made at least one veteran Hill staffer cringe.

“That’s horrible! I’m embarrassed for them,” our source said upon learning of the recycled imagery.

Cunningham did not respond to repeated emails requesting clarification about how many cards were mailed out, or how far the insider-y missive might travel. (Outside the Beltway? All the way back to the Lone Star State?)

Others remain hard at work on the blizzard of creative messaging that blankets congressional offices around this time of year. Full story

Deutch Doesn’t Play When It Comes to Piano

As far as Rep. Ted Deutch is concerned, there’s always time to tickle the ivories.

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

The Florida Democrat spontaneously began playing a few bars Wednesday, following a Recording Academy briefing for lawmakers interested in intellectual property rights. As part of the advocacy effort, hit-maker Harvey Mason Jr. — who has worked with performers ranging from Aretha Franklin to Justin Bieber — treated Deutch and Reps. Judy Chu, D-Calif., John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Tom Marino, R-Pa., to a sneak preview of “Who Do You Love,” an unreleased track from Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson’s forthcoming album.

According to an HOH tipster, Deutch “stole some limelight when he gave an impromptu (and very short) riff on the keyboard.”

Not that anyone should be terribly surprised. Full story

Blackburn’s Top Aide Strikes a Pose — From the Past

It may be House staffer Mike Platt’s birthday.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

But thanks to some sneaky office mates and a mischievous spouse, anyone wandering over to the Cannon House Office Building can share in the present of a peek into his Blue Steel-y past.

The photographic tribute was posted outside Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s office door bright and early Thursday morning as a special tribute for the chief of staff’s 40th birthday.

“I was totally surprised. I had no idea they had anything like this planned,” Platt told HOH about encountering his younger, stone-faced self when he waltzed into work.

According to Platt, his family revels in recirculating the novelty shot at strategically selected times. “This lovely photo is most definitely a glamour shot,” Platt admitted via email. “I did some modeling in high school and college.” Full story

December 5, 2013

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Dec. 2 (Video)

Amazon, Geico and high-school sports grace the House floor in HOH’s second installment of Congressional Hits and Misses.

By JM Rieger Posted at 1:39 p.m.
Foolishness

Lech Walesa Gets Another Day at the Capitol

A full house gathered in the Capitol Visitor Center auditorium Wednesday evening to see a new film about the life of Poland’s transformative pro-democracy leader Lech Walesa — and to hear from the man himself.

Walesa, far left, and Dodd, far right, discuss the Cold War under gigantic images of their previous selves. (Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Poland)

Walesa, far left, and Dodd, far right, discuss the Cold War under gigantic images of their previous selves. (Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Poland)

The night, as does the Andrzej Wajda film that mixes archival footage with recreated scenes and some dramatic license, focused on Walesa’s rise from an electrician in the shipyard at Gdansk to the leader of the Solidarity Movement, through the fall of communism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlrjOAe1-mQ

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., told the audience about her own experience watching the events of early 1980s Poland unfold from her home in Baltimore, not long after the elation of the ascension of Poland’s native son Karol Wojtyla to be Pope John Paul II.

“As the summer went on in 1980, all of a sudden we heard something dramatic had happened in Poland. There was a strike in Gdansk shipyard. Some guy named Walesa jumped over a wall. What was going on in Poland? My sisters and I talked to each other. My mother called me,” the Maryland Democrat said. “Everybody was excited and everybody was frightened — what did this mean? Was this the beginning of a beginning, or was this an effort of gallantry, bravery and courage that could end in suppression and repression?”

Full story

Chaka Fattah Preps New Public Affairs Show

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah will add TV personality to his résumé next year, spearheading a forthcoming public access show dubbed “A Capitol Idea with Chaka Fattah.”

The half-hour, public-affairs-style program is expected to air on the Pennsylvania Cable Network beginning Jan. 19, 2014.

(Courtesy Chaka Fattah)

(Courtesy Chaka Fattah)

Fattah taped his pilot episode on Dec. 4 on Capitol Hill, sitting down with House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., for a heart-to-heart about manufacturing issues. A Fattah aide said the shows are expected to be split between a discussion with a policy/program expert and an interview with those affected by the corresponding issue.

Fattah expects to wrap the manufacturing segment next week, when he’ll bring a Philadelphia-area entrepreneur over to the House TV studio to talk business.

Debra Anderson, Fattah’s deputy chief of staff, told HOH the plan is to devote at least one episode to each of the congressman’s core priorities, a list that includes neuroscience, college preparatory programs, expanding cooperatives and youth mentoring.

“It’s just a different way to get the message out,” Anderson said of Fattah’s ongoing multimedia outreach. Full story

December 4, 2013

Def-Con 5 Captions | Capitol Quip

CapitolQuip-12-02-13.jpg

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.

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

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • The hard part is trying to cover your behind!
  • How long, do ya’ think, until the voters signal the all clear?
  • Is this Mutually Assured Democracy?
  • The silence is deafening!
  • All safe to come out and resume fundraising now!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Sunday and in the following 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 6:25 p.m.
Capitol Quip

House Oversight Web Pages Snub Dems

Far be it from us to tell de facto GOP bloodhound Rep. Darrell Issa of California how to conduct his professional affairs, but it would seem he needs to haul at least one more individual before his truth-seeking panel: whoever dropped the ball on maintaining an accurate committee website.

It would appear that Issa, who has used his power as head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to mercilessly grill administration officials about virtually everything, does not demand that same level of full transparency or accountability from his own staff — at least when it applies to dealing with the Democrats on the panel.

Although she was sworn in to office eight months ago and currently serves on various oversight panels, Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who won a special election to replace recently imprisoned former lawmaker Jesse L. Jackson Jr., remains conspicuously absent from various rosters, including:

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

the full committee, Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:33 p.m.
Freshman, HillSide, Reps

Reps, Wizards Christen Horton’s Kids Hoops

“Do y’all know how to shoot any hoops out here in Ward 8?” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., asked the crowd gathered to cut the ribbon on the newly refurbished outdoor basketball court at the Horton Kid’s Community Resource Center.

Norton, along with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., both congressional hoopsters, were on hand Tuesday evening to celebrate the court’s reopening, a project funded by Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation — a charitable wing of the Washington Wizards organization — and the Hoops for Youth Foundation.

Wizards Otto Porter Jr. and Jan Vesely attended as well as Wizards/Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.

Norton, back row, left, and Vesely, center and Porter helped christen the refurbished court. (Photo courtesy of Horton's Kids)

Back row from left, Norton, Vesely and Porter helped christen the refurbished court. (Courtesy Horton’s Kids)

Brenda Chamberlain, the executive director of Horton’s Kids, said the court will be put to good use. “This court gets used by hundreds of kids every day,” she said. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...