Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 23, 2014

February 14, 2013

Camp Gets Tracy’s Kids Courage Award

A bunch of Washington’s own stars (and by that we mean members of Congress) rolled out the red carpet Wednesday evening for a Hollywood-style, Oscar-themed event to benefit Tracy’s Kids — an art therapy program designed to help children and their families deal with the trauma of cancer.

The event, “And The Winner Is …”, is the eighth annual Tracy’s Kids Courage Award ceremony, and it’s held to recognize “a public person who exemplifies the strength, dignity and perseverance” necessary to face the challenges of the disease.

Full story

February 13, 2013

Taylor Gourmet Eats Humble Pie for Rubio Flap

Taylor Gourmet’s attempt to capitalize on Twitter love from the office of Sen. Marco Rubio left a very bad taste in one loyal customer’s mouth.

The food fight erupted after political observer Elayne C. Burke spotted the hoagie joint crowing about the Florida Republican’s pre-State of the Union dinner plans:

“Fun fact: @marcorubio comms team went w/ @Taylor_Gourmet for dinner. 12 inchers, fried ravioli, & risotto balls all around,” Taylor Gourmet promptly retweeted after Rubio aide Val Mack broadcast Team Rubio’s penchant for homegrown sammies.

Full story

Film Provides Food for Thought

Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular holidays for eating out, as restaurants do everything to woo couples, with specials promising oysters, Champagne, chocolate and all other manner of edible luxury.

So it’s somewhat daring for the folks behind “A Place at the Table,” a documentary about food insecurity in the United States, to host a screening on a night when most of the film’s intended audience would otherwise be shelling out a lot of dough for over-the-top romantic meals.
Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:15 p.m.

Overheard on the Hill

“When God looked down on the Senate, he realized that the senators alone could never keep things running. He said, “I need a caretaker!” So, God made a chief of staff!

Sen. Mike Lee, riffing on an old Paul Harvey bit, in order to honor his departing chief of staff, Spencer Stokes.

Ayotte Rocks Mint Green

It felt like Fashion Week in Statuary Hall before the State of the Union address.

It is, perhaps, a testament to the advancement of women in government and journalism that a gaggle of female reporters staking out the Capitol on Tuesday night had an opportunity to admire the wardrobe selections of female senators and Supreme Court justices.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of the best-dressed ranking members of the federal government. She wore a red overcoat that would have impressed even Maureen Dowd.

After the line of dignitaries had passed by and Ginsburg was safely out of earshot, HOH articulated that sentiment to a colleague. A Senate page overheard the comment and blurted back her own critique.
Full story

Ted Cruz, Man of Few(er) Words

Ted Cruz, Man of Few(er) Words

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Ted Cruz was utterly speechless on the day after the State of the Union — not because he didn’t have anything to add to the rhetorical cacophony in the Capitol. The guy just plain lost his voice.

Huffington Post senior political reporter Jon Ward directly experienced the silent treatment when he approached the Texas Republican for comment. “Just tried to ask Ted Cruz a question. He showed me a note saying he has a ‘nasty cold’ and has lost his voice ‘entirely,’” the veteran political scribe broadcast to the Twittersphere.

A Cruz aide confirmed that the boss was, in fact, feeling out of sorts.

“He has a cold and lost his voice, not much more to it. We expect and hope his voice returns soon!” the staffer told HOH.

Some fellow reporters wondered whether the tight-lipped Cruz was just finding a more creative way of avoiding questions from reporters in the halls of the Capitol. Since joining the Senate last month, Cruz has been a difficult interview for many journalists, given that he generally directs reporters to his staff rather than answering questions off the cuff in the style of most other senators.

“He’s the new Al Franken,” a fellow hack said, equating Cruz to the proudly national-media-averse Minnesota Democrat.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 6:23 p.m.

Capitol Quip: Pick Cupid’s Winning Target

Capitol Quip: Pick Cupids Winning Target

CQ Roll Call editors have culled this week’s entries for the Capitol Quip and are ready to unveil the five finalists our readers will vote for.

Using the comments section, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. Thursday. SPECIAL NOTE: If you submit your comment anonymously, we might have some difficulty getting you your signed print if you win. So before cloaking yourself, think about how we can contact you to get you your prize. If you’re super shy, you can send us an anonymous line that only we will see at Thanks for playing!

Here are this week’s finalists:

• “Remind me, which button releases the memo?”

• “You still carrying around that bow?”

• “I gave him 10 seconds to get his affairs in order.”

• “Love at first flight!”

• “The Justice Department says it’s more legal than a bow and arrow.”

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Feb. 19 and in that day’s print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of their Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 6:10 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Boundary Road Celebrates One Year on H Street

The folks over at Boundary Road are whooping it up Wednesday night to celebrate the restaurant’s one-year anniversary, complete with a cocktail version of the Wayback Machine, wherein the quaff-and-nosh establishment will bring back favorite recipes from their opening days along with many, many other bar specials.

Boundary Road Celebrates One Year on H Street

Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call

Among those deals are the $5 “late night special” — a can of Natty Boh and a shot of Old Overholt Rye — as well as $5 shots of Becherovka, a Czech herbal liqueur.

“We tried to basically make it our house liquor when we opened,” said one Boundary Road staffer. “But we ended up drinking too much of it.”

Becherovka is back on the menu for Wednesday’s soiree, so get it while it’s still available.

The old-school cocktails the Boundary Road gang will mix include the Praha City Represent (they seem to love all things Czech — Praha is how the natives spell Prague) and the Five & Dime.

The staff also promises giveaways for regulars and neighbors, although they’re keeping it quiet what those giveaways are. Perhaps the recipe for Becherovka?

The American Dream: One Water Bottle’s Amazing Date With History

This all happened so fast.

One minute I was placed quietly off to the side of a set, just out of the camera’s view. The next minute a hard blast of fame hit me clear across my plastic cap and chased me from the halls of the Capitol complex to the quiet of Todd Harris’s desk.

The American Dream: One Water Bottles Amazing Date With History

My portrait by Todd Harris

To be honest with you, I wasn’t ready for the fame. But who ever really is? You can never prepare to go from your parents not even remembering what you look like to being the most famous bottle in America. It is so crazy. Full story

Getting to Know Marco Rubio

While mainstream media got all hot and bothered about Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s post-SOTU drinking habits (Poland Spring ought to flood his political action committee with loot), Internet denizens have much more burning questions about the rising GOP star.

(Auto-fill is a journalistic godsend.)


Getting to Know Marco Rubio


I smell a holy war.


Getting to Know Marco Rubio


Now’s your chance to snap those all important “before” pics, Rogaine.


Getting to Know Marco Rubio


Height-ists are the worst.


Getting to Know Marco Rubio


Confidence is medium that The Donald is all over this.

Alta Vista

Getting to Know Marco Rubio

Such cutting questions.

The Politics of Facebook

For those new to social media, everyone’s a critic in the public domain.

But we are pleased to report that there was something for every armchair quarterback to pounce on during last night’s State of the Union address:

The deconstructionist

The Politics of Facebook


Full story

February 12, 2013

Jesse Kelly’s Early Valentine to Marco Rubio

In the “where are they now?” column of former House candidates, Tuesday night’s answer for Republican Jesse Kelly is in front of a television.

Per his Twitter account, he could not be more pumped that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will deliver the Republican response in both English and Spanish.

“Tonight we win back all Hispanics because Rubio speaks spanish [sic] too!” he tweeted at 10:46 a.m.

“To broaden the Republican voter base, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be doing the GOP response in English and Pig Latin. airfay areshay,” he tweeted at 4:44 p.m.

“Totally set for the night. I’ve got blood-pressure pills ready for Obama’s speech and Rosetta Stone software ready for Rubio’s response,” he tweeted at 7:13 p.m.

Kelly ran twice for the tossup Tucson, Ariz.-based district. He narrowly lost first to now-former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, in 2010 and then once again to Rep. Ron Barber, also a Democrat, in the 2012 special election to replace Giffords.

Kelly now lives in Washington and works for Citizens United.

By Abby Livingston Posted at 9:03 p.m.

John Lewis Marches on Comic-Con

John Lewis Marches on Comic Con

(Courtesy Nate Powell)

History-maker John Lewis not only has a graphic novel about his life, “March,” that’s days away from completion, he also stands to become the first sitting congressman to flog his wares at Comic-Con, the iconic comic book/superhero/sci-fi confab in San Diego slated for July 18-21.

The Georgia Democrat’s tale of life in the Deep South and the rise of the civil rights movement has been broken up into a trilogy chronicling the convention-shattering events that closed the book on segregation. The first volume, which Lewis co-authored with staffer Andrew Aydin, is scheduled for release this August. Top Shelf Productions aide Leigh Walton said subsequent volumes are scheduled to be issued in 2014 and 2015.

According to the publisher, the first volume carries readers through Lewis’ youth in Alabama to the headline-grabbing, lunch counter sit-in the then-Fisk University student participated in while in Nashville, Tenn. Volume two picks up in tumultuous 1960.  And volume three blows things wide open with the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Walton suggested a book signing could happen in D.C. this September but was much more excited about reuniting Lewis with his fellow lawmaker and civil rights activist-turned-San Diego mayor, Bob Filner, at the annual pop culture fest.

“They’re excited about getting together at the show,” Walton told HOH.

“March (Book One)” hits retailers Aug. 13.

Refusing to Make a Mark

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faced a question before the formal start of his Tuesday stake-out with reporters about a matter on the minds of many of his fellow Kentuckians.

A reporter asked McConnell for his thoughts on Maker’s Mark reducing the proof of its standard bourbon. McConnell offered a laugh but declined to answer, instead noting, “we’re having a tasting tonight” for the State of the Union, which he called “the longest day — every year.”

Maker’s Mark is diluting the alcohol content of its bourbon to meet increased demand.
Full story

Microbrewer Scores Seat at Big Show

Determined to score a front row seat to history? Slipping the commander in chief a few cold ones probably wouldn’t hurt.

New Glarus Brewing Co. co-founder Deb Carey, who has been in and out of the White House for repeated small business roundtables, will be watching President Barack Obama deliver his latest State of the Union address alongside first lady Michelle Obama.

According to her local paper, the Wisconsin microbrewer got rather chummy with our elected leaders last fall, swapping suds with the first boozer — she delivered two wine bottle-sized of Serendipity, her apple-, cherry-, cranberry-fueled sour ale. POTUS, meanwhile, gifted her three 12-ounce bottles of highly coveted White House Honey Ale. And she garnered a peck on the cheek from Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The Brewers Association would like to believe Carey’s presence in FLOTUS’ box is a good sign the recently reintroduced Small BREW Act might finally slide through the 113th Congress.

Can’t a guy just enjoy having his drinking buddies around?

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