Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 22, 2014

March 19, 2013

Overlooked? How a Big Film Festival Can Overwhelm

The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, which has been under way since March 12 and wraps up Sunday, is a monster of a festival: 190 films, 75 venues, 110 premieres. It’s the Cannes or Toronto for the green crowd.

With crowd-pleasing fare such as “How I Became an Elephant,” provocative ones such as “Greedy Lying Bastards” and classic films including “The African Queen,” though, it’s easy to overlook some of the more modest, yet still arresting, movies gracing the city’s screens over the course of the festival’s two weeks.

A case in point is Wednesday’s screening of “The Age of Aluminum.”

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A (Fake) Kids-Eye View of 1600 Penn

Imagine growing up under the watchful eye of the Secret Service.

The merry pranksters at Barely Political did just that. And here’s how they figure the First Daughters fill their days:

The impressions are priceless. But we prefer more organic photobamas.

March 18, 2013

House Members Fail Pop Quiz on Senate Procedure

Lawmakers debating a rule for the House budget resolution revealed a surprising lack of knowledge about Senate procedure Monday – a sign perhaps of how little time the chambers have spent talking to each other about budgets in recent years. Full story

March Madness, Congress-Style

March Madness, Congress Style

While Roll Call hasn’t had much to say about member-vs.-member battles since the conclusion of last fall’s redistricting-fueled election showdowns, our version of the NCAA March Madness bracket offers plenty more fun matchups in the House.

Every year, we match each school in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament with its House member. A note on our methodology: Because some campuses straddle one or more congressional districts (we’re looking at you, University of Akron), Roll Call continues to use each school’s admissions office ZIP code as the location by which we determine the House member who represents the school.

You’ll note that a handful of members have a slightly better chance to take home the entire prize, as Democratic Reps. David E. Price of North Carolina, Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania and Jared Polis of Colorado and Republican Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia each represent districts with two schools that have made it into the tournament.

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CPAC Fashion Statements: Pictures Worth a Thousand Dropped Jaws

Ah, CPAC. Some people go for the politics. We go for the fashion.

CPAC Fashion Statements: Pictures Worth a Thousand Dropped Jaws

Donald Trump (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Brush aside The Donald? Perish the thought!


CPAC Fashion Statements: Pictures Worth a Thousand Dropped Jaws

Rand Paul (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Dad Jeans from the Denim Rand Collection.


CPAC Fashion Statements: Pictures Worth a Thousand Dropped Jaws

Sarah Palin (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Are those clogs you’re wearing, or did you step on a horseshoe crab?


CPAC Fashion Statements: Pictures Worth a Thousand Dropped Jaws

Mia Love (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Gene Simmons called. He wants his shoes back.


CPAC Fashion Statements: Pictures Worth a Thousand Dropped Jaws

Callista Gingrich (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

I tawt I taw a putty tat!


CPAC Fashion Statements: Pictures Worth a Thousand Dropped Jaws
Michele Bachmann (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Parachute pants. They’re coming back.

Youth Serves Johnson Beef

There is an adage for those who pour drinks and serve food for a living: You can tell  the measure of a person by how he or she treats the staff. A less polite truism for those being served: Never mistreat the person bringing you food or drink, because spit happens.

So on March 15, our eyebrows arched when we saw a young man tweet: “Serving Ron Johnson at work, I started off excited to see a US Senator and to serve him… But turns out hes kinda a jerk haha” The tweet, closed with the subtle hashtag #RJSucks, seems to have been sent by a server at the Bull at Pinehurst Farms golf course and restaurant in Sheboygan Falls, Wis.
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Overheard on the Hill

“We invited the American cardinals to a reception. So, unless I’m prepared to join the Eastern Orthodox Church, as a Roman Catholic I’d better show up or I’ll lose my soul.”

— Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., yukking it up in Italy, where he is leading a delegation for Tuesday’s papal installation ceremony for Pope Francis.

Take Five With Michelle Lujan Grisham

It’s Tuesday again, which means it’s time for another edition of Take Five, HOH’s weekly chat with a member of Congress on some lighthearted subject matter. This time around, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., shares with us her longing for the comforts of home, her sports skills (or admitted lack thereof) and more.
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Linguistics Prof Weighs In on Congress, Prez

Over the past couple of weeks, President Barack Obama and members of Congress have gone out of their way to show that they are engaged in conversations about the future direction of the country.

Indeed, Obama’s “charm offensive” has raised eyebrows all over Washington. So what does one of the world’s foremost experts on conversation, who happens to teach at Georgetown University, think of all this talk?

“They really are not trying to govern. They see the opposition party as the enemy and look for every opportunity to destroy it,” said Deborah Tannen, professor of linguistics at Georgetown and the author of best-selling books such as “That’s Not What I Meant!: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships” and “The Argument Culture: Stopping America’s War of Words.”
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Closed Entrance — but Getting Spruced Up!

Lines to get into House and Senate office buildings have been frustratingly long due to the recent closure of a number of doorways thanks to the sequester’s effect on the Capitol Police budget. And staffers have been told that those closures are likely here to stay.

But have no fear! Those closed entrances to the side office buildings will be spick-and-span and freshly painted for the grand total of zero Hill staffers and visitors who will get to use them!

A congressional whistle-blower reached out to HOH with a picture of a painter putting a fresh coat of white paint on a now-closed entry/exit point in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Closed Entrance — but Getting Spruced Up!

A whistle-blower spotted a painter giving a closed entryway in the Russell Senate Office Building a fresh coat of paint.

“Can someone explain why visitors have to wait in long lines while we have the funds to paint an entrance that’s closed?” the tipster asked.

HOH knows that the Architect of the Capitol, tasked with the upkeep of the Capitol complex, operates on a separate budget than the Capitol Police, the agency that decided to close a number of entry/exit points to save overtime pay.

We did find it curious, however, that the painting of the entryway was taking place after it had been closed.

HOH reached out to the AOC to see whether the decision to paint the doorway was being done out of convenience now that the entrance was closed, or if the painting project had been planned before the decision to close the doorway.

“This work is just part of our planned, reoccurring maintenance,” AOC spokeswoman Eva Malecki told HOH.

Case closed.

Biden, a Lost Soul in Rome

Biden, a Lost Soul in Rome

(Win McNamee/Getty Images Pool File Photo)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. clearly brought his A-game to Rome for Pope Francis’ inaugural Mass celebration.

The veep, who arrived in Rome on Sunday, has been yukking it up with dignitaries and presidents who have flown in from all over the world for the august event.

Right off the bat, Biden starts in with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, quipping, ”I didn’t realize you’d arrange for a new pope so quickly.”

Full story

March 17, 2013

Capitol Quip: Fill in the Bracket

Capitol Quip: Fill in the Bracket

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 Wednesday afternoon, and readers will have until 5 p.m. EDT Thursday to pick their favorite.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:30 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Climb Aboard the Shrug Boat

Political party planner Melissa Dawdy wants to throw frustrated conservatives a lifeline this fall. And she’s landed tea party darling Herman Cain as her first mate.

Dawdy, who said she’s participated in several National Review sponsored-cruises and enjoyed those trips, sees an opening for a new wave of conservative coalition building. And she’s hoping to reel in folks who are desperately seeking their political bearings after a devastating fall, such as those at the just-concluded Conservative Political Action Conference.

“The average tea party person quit the tea party after 2012. They took a face-plant,” she said of the ripple effect of President Barack Obama’s re-election. “Karl Rove is trying it. But I don’t think it’s going to work from the top down.”
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Capitol Quip: And the Gold Goes to …

Capitol Quip: And the Gold Goes to ...

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.

RedStateDate Woos Single Conservatives

Being lost in the electoral woods is bad enough. Political Matchmaker CEO Alexander Fondrier wants to bring lonely GOP activists together via ideologically aligned love connections.

Fondrier, founder and CEO of and, both of which launched last fall, said the compatibility sites were born of his own frustration with finding that certain someone. He estimated that, to date, about 6,000 people have joined up — although solo Republicans tend to outnumber mate-less Dems by about 5-to-1.

“We’ve seen a lot of people in the D.C. area signing up. Also, state capitals,” he said of his burgeoning market share, which he hoped to grow by showing his stuff at last week’s Conservative Action Political Conference.
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