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

April 4, 2013

Chez Gipper Gets Berlin-Walled

It would appear that no one at the University of Chicago got the memo that real Americans don’t destroy the “Great Communicator’s” hangouts.

If they had, the university would have known better than to sign off on leveling the boyhood home of former president and conservative poster-boy Ronald Reagan to make way for a couple of hundred parking spots:

According to WGN, the university plans to commemorate “40’s” connection to the Hyde Park ‘hood by erecting a plaque at the currently rubble-y scene.

Should that not be enough to sate political road-trippers, there are five Reagan-branded structures to visit (thanks, Grover!) a mere two hours away in scenic Eureka, Ill.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:08 p.m.

April 3, 2013

Mark Sanford Teases MSNBC About Prop Pigs

Dry those tears, Mika Brzezinski.

Contrary to the fiery end you were told befell scene squealers “Pork” and “Barrel”:

An aide to South Carolina hopeful Mark Sanford assured HOH the former and would-be congressman merely lost touch with the famous stunt swine.

“He was joking. We don’t have a clue what happened to those pigs,” Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said of the unknown fates of the bacon-in-training.

According to Sawyer, Team Sanford borrowed the photo-op-friendly oinkers from a Lexington, S.C., farmer for its famous May 27, 2004, presser shaming Palmetto State lawmakers about runaway spending. He said the duo was dutifully returned to the contributing farmer the same day.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 6:38 p.m.

FLOTUS Rehashes Kiddie Recipe Contest

FLOTUS Rehashes Kiddie Recipe Contest

(Courtesy the White House)

First lady Michelle Obama is soliciting a fresh batch of healthy-eating ideas from America’s youth, calling on kids to send in signature snacking suggestions for the second annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ State Dinner initiative.

The inaugural Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, which falls under the umbrella of FLOTUS’ ongoing “Let’s Move!” program, culminated in a cookbook composed of 54 chef-approved dishes and a kid-friendly feast hosted by the White House on Aug. 20, 2012. This year’s honorees should expect to be feted at a similar shindig in July or August.

Locals who made the cut for the 2012 challenge — would-be recipe writers must be 8 to 12 years old — include D.C.’s own Iliana Gonzales-Evans, 11, who submitted turkey bacon-filled tacos dubbed “Mexican Delight”; Marylander Samuel Hightower, 10, who made his case for tofu squares sauteed with scallions and sugar snap peas (“Sizzling Tofu”); and Old Dominion resident Madeline Steppel, 9, who pointed to Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner’s creamless asparagus soup contribution to the “Celebrate Virginia Cookbook” as the inspiration for her own fish chowder creation.

Recipes may be submitted online or by snail mail. Send to: The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge c/o, 1166 Avenue of the Americas, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036 until May 12. Winners will be notified before the end of June.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:37 p.m.

New Nat Is All Over D.C.

New Nat Is All Over D.C.

(Courtesy Twitter)

Denard Span, the one-time Minnesota Twin and shiny new Nationals center fielder, is sliding right into home here in the District, taking in historic sights and enjoying the proximity to power.

Just a day after his club’s 2-0 Opening Day win over the visiting Miami Marlins — game two of the home stand gets under way tonight at 7:05 p.m. — number “2” ventured over to the Library of Congress to get an eyeful of “16’s” personal belongings.

“Just leaving the library of congress. I saw what Lincoln had in this pocket the night he died,” Span tweeted out after inspecting Honest Abe’s personal effects.

Full story

April 2, 2013

Mark Sanford’s Argentine Love At Victory Celebration

Former South Carolina Gov. and Rep. Mark Sanford continued his comeback from the Appalachian Trail on Tuesday with his onetime mistress, now fiancée, at his side.

On Tuesday night, as Sanford was celebrating his victory in South Carolina’s 1st congressional district runoff election for the Republican nomination, María Belén Chapur congratulated him at the watch party, and took her place to his right when he spoke to the crowd.

In 2009, Sanford made headlines, and put the final nail in his marriage’s coffin, when he went missing for several days. Aides were stuck telling the press that the then-governor was hiking the Appalachian Trail. He was actually in Argentina with Chapur, whom he later described as his “soul mate.”

After returning from his South American tryst, Sanford gave an infamously honest press conference wherein he admitted the infidelity and proclaimed his love for Chapur. The couple announced their engagement in August 2012.

Several weeks ago, Scott English, Sanford’s former chief of staff, tweeted a joke about the pope in which he referenced the ex-governor’s disappearance. The Internet laughed out loud.


NRA Rolls With Well-Armed Detail at Press Club Event

Does ex-Rep. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., know something we don’t?

The former lawmaker, Drug Enforcement Agency director and Homeland Security undersecretary brought several armed guards and a bomb-sniffing dog to the National Rifle Association’s School Shield Program press conference at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

Bags were searched as the members of the media were filed into the room. Water bottles were confiscated. However, when a reporter asked the current leader of the NRA’s School Shield Program why there were so many armed guards, she was ignored.

Then another reporter asked the question again: Why the excessive security detail?

“As you go into a mall there is security,” Hutchison said. “So there is security here at the National Press Club.”

“We come here a lot,” yet another reporter returned. All of the reporters HOH spoke to could not recall seeing this level of security at a press conference held at the press club.

Is Hutchinson afraid of something? The reporters wanted to know.

No, he said, he was “not afraid” and he was “wide open.” Although just how “wide open” a person surrounded by a dozen armed guards actually is is up for debate.

Hutchinson’s security detail at the event was not contracted by the press club, said Bill McCarren, executive director of the National Press Club. The security measures at the event were provided by the NRA for the NRA. Full story

By Neda Semnani Posted at 4:37 p.m.

Crash Davis’ Congressman and Other Useful Information

In the spirit of baseball season, HOH is kicking off a new series that examines the congressional representation of our favorite fictional characters in television, literature and the movies.

The rules go like this — we decide where a fictional character lives and then look up who represents them in the House.

We will make the best guess we can with analysis based on shooting locations, historical data, creepy Internet stalker websites, the creators of these characters when available, sources familiar with the region, obsessive friends, thinly-veiled locations and textual geographic references.

We welcome any dispute with our assessments in the comments section below.

And even if the characters are hundreds of years old, we’re only dealing with modern members of Congress. Because, after all, a truly great hero of fiction lives forever.

“Major League”
Pitcher Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen)
Cleveland: Democratic Rep. Marcia L. Fudge

We are not even certain if Vaughn’s criminal record qualifies him to vote, but if he could, he would have Fudge on his ballot, according to Ohio-native Christyn Keyes, communications director for Ohio Republican Rep. David Joyce.

“Rick ‘The Wild Thing’ Vaughn lives on West 6th in downtown Cleveland,” she wrote in an email. “Close proximity to two of his favorite things: the baseball stadium and the bar scene.”

That puts him smack in Fudge’s 11th District.

Keyes and Joyce outreach director Kevin Benacci said that it is their belief that third baseman Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen) lives in Gates Mills, Ohio, and is one of Joyce’s constituents.

Oh, Wild Thing, you make our hearts sang.

Full story

April 1, 2013

Capitol Quip: The Elephant in the Room

Capitol Quip: The Elephant in the Room

CQ Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson has another cartoon for your quippy consideration this week. Submit your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists to go before readers for a vote. We’ll let you know the five finalists Thursday afternoon, and readers will have until 10 a.m. EDT Friday to pick their favorite.

By Jason Dick Posted at 6:02 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Capitol Quip: Easter Egg Rolling to Victory

Capitol Quip: Easter Egg Rolling to Victory

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: “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their dyes!” The winner, Sarah Crim of Bowie, Md., will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from CQ Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson.

Politics Makes for Rich April Fools’ Fodder

April Fools’ Day has come and gone, and while most of us have retained a certain amount of faith in the basic decency of humanity, others seem to have been taken in by the nation’s annual day of pranking.

For example, after “news” broke that Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., was throwing his hat in the gubernatorial ring in the Keystone State, one Pennsylvania reporter had to tell her editor this factoid was false.

“I had to break the news to him that it was a joke before he pitched it at the morning budget meeting,” the reporter told HOH. “I was like, ‘Simmer down. It’s fake.’”
Full story

Skilled Debaters to Tackle Minimum Wage

Rhetorical road show Intelligence Squared U.S. will be rolling into town on Wednesday, and podcast-loving policy wonks are invited to get in on the ideological smackdown.

The public affairs discussion, which airs on NPR and PBS, will tackle the merits of tossing out the minimum wage April 3 in front of a live audience at the Burke Theater at the U.S. Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $40 per person and $12 for students. Attendees are welcome to enjoy a pre-taping reception from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., and the main event is 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Full story

Soup’s On for FDA Protest

Food activists opposed to genetically modified crops will take their fight to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration next week, sponsoring an old school eat-in at the agency’s College Park, Md., campus staged around a truly historic meal.

The anti-GMO protest is scheduled for 8 a.m.-6 p.m. April 8 outside the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (5100 Paint Branch Parkway) and will feature a full day of activities. It will include the preparation and consumption of a massive cauldron — “Don’t forget to bring your own bowl, spoon, mug, and vegetables!” the group advocates on its promotional materials — of all-inclusive “stone soup.”

Occupy Monsanto organizer Adam Eidinger told HOH that the event is geared toward one simple goal: a clear understanding of what we are all eating.

“We want transparency. This is a very reasonable thing to ask for,” he said, adding that protesters would, obviously, also have plenty to say about the controversial agri-industrial safeguards that hitched a ride to President Barack Obama’s desk via a recent spending bill.
Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:56 p.m.

April Fool It, Sen. Toomey!

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., and the Pennsylvania political community got a healthy dose of April Fools’ Day this morning.

“Some of you may know, I am seriously considering running for Governor of this Commonwealth,” Toomey was quoted as saying on the PoliticsPA blog. “I’m thinking of doing this because I believe that I can bring about the kind of reforms that can help get Pennsylvania growing again and restore the confidence of the people of Pennsylvania in the integrity of its government.”

Sy Snyder, a pseudonym for the editors of PolitcsPA, wrote that Toomey made this claim on Saturday and buoyed the joke by using a 2009 clip where Toomey actually mentioned he was considering a gubernatorial run.

Spoiler alert: Toomey did not make this announcement last weekend. Toomey’s office apparently had a busy morning slapping down media inquiries about the senator’s fake big plans. Toomey’s spokeswoman confirmed that the post was a joke and told Roll Call that the senator’s office wasn’t aware that the prank was in the works.

Shira Topelitz contributed to this post.


Kid Prez Takes Over 1600 Penn

A web-anointed “Kid President” took over briefly at the White House today, at least on YouTube.

The insanely cute youngster poked his head above the podium in a video released by the White House.

“It looks like you’re expecting somebody else, but April Fool’s on all y’all,” viral vid veteran Robbie Novak says. “I’m Kid President, and I hope everyone has an awesome day.”

The precocious would-be POTUS, who was invited to participate in the annual Easter Egg Roll festivities, has been presiding over his own online channel since just before the election.

March 29, 2013

Capitol Quip: Better Late Than Never

Capitol Quip: Better Late Than Never

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 10 a.m. Monday morning. (HOH is a little a little late posting finalists this week, so we’re giving some extra recess time for voting.)

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • SequEaster this.
  • Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their dyes!
  • I heard Cheney still roams around these parts … can’t be too careful!
  • I’ll assault them, you pepper them.
  • This is much better than last year’s “Easter Egg Subdue and Restrain.”

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog April 1 and in Tuesday’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 Emily Pierce Posted at 12:09 p.m.

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