Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 26, 2014

January 11, 2013

State of the Union Intrudes on Mardi Gras Revelry

Bad news for revelers wanting to cut loose before the beginning of Lent: Speaker John A. Boehner has invited President Barack Obama to deliver his State of the Union address on Feb. 12. That happens to be Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday.

“Oh, my,” said one bummed-sounding staffer for a Louisiana House member.

Calls to several offices of Louisiana’s congressional delegation went out. Boehner’s invitation was sent Friday morning and, at least for the offices we called, the ramifications hadn’t sunk in yet. “Not yet,” said a staffer for Democratic Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, who represents New Orleans. Noting that it was kind of a slow Friday, she promised to try to run down a reaction.

Ditto for the office of Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, whose family hails from the Crescent City.

We’ll update this as we get reaction, but Obama could help spice up his speech and make amends to Pelican State lawmakers if he threw beads from the podium.

Still, there is one silver lining: the Louisiana Society of D.C.’s Washington Mardi Gras 2013 Ball is scheduled for Feb. 2 at the Washington Hilton, so Washingtonians can attend that without having to ditch the SOTU. But even that posed a conflict for New Orleanians because it conflicts with the Super Bowl, which is being held in New Orleans on Feb. 3. That decision was described last year by New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Jonathan Tilove as an “epic scheduling conflict.”

Don’t Have Tickets for the Big Day? Inauguration Dress Rehearsal Offers Alternative

Were you snubbed by Ticketmaster in your quest for seats to the inaugural ball and the Inauguration Day parade? Are you weary of the throngs of tourists that will descend on the District on Inauguration Day and clog up our already taxed commuting system?

There’s an answer to your woes.

On Sunday, the Department of Defense will hold a dress rehearsal of a number of Inauguration Day events, including President Barack Obama’s Capitol departure ceremony, a dry-run of the swearing-in and a run-through of the parade with military musical units, marching bands and color guards.

The Inauguration Day rehearsal will provide Washingtonians a low-key — albeit unofficial — alternative to the madness of the official Inauguration Day activities.

Beginning at 8 a.m. and going to 11:30 a.m., a full run-through of the parade will take place, including rehearsals for nonmilitary participants in the parade at the official reviewing stand in front of the White House.

Later on, from 11:30 a.m. to noon, stand-ins for the president and vice president will hold a mock swearing-in ceremony on the official inauguration platform that has been erected on the West Front of the Capitol.

“The purpose is to practice large-scale movements of military personnel and resources and finalize any logistical or staffing considerations for Inauguration Day,” according to the Joint Task Force – National Capital Region, which is providing the military support for this year’s Inaugural festivities.

January 10, 2013

The Nixon Faithful Stand By Their Man

“Thank you for your loyalty,” Ron Walker, chairman of the Richard Nixon Foundation, told the crowd at the Mayflower Hotel. “All of us in this room have a special bond: We worked for Richard Nixon.”

Nixon would have turned 100 on Wednesday, and although the former president’s legacy is inextricably linked with the Watergate scandal and his own reputation for gruff, quirky awkwardness, his most faithful admirers and staffers gathered at the Mayflower on Wednesday evening to pay tribute.

The setting was Washington perfect. The Mayflower, after all, has been the site of politics and scandal for decades — from being a favorite hangout for children’s author/British spy Roald Dahl to being the site of the trysts of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

The party was thrown by the Richard Nixon Foundation, and attendees included the Nixon daughters, the president’s youngest brother, Ed, former Nixon aides Patrick Buchanan and Ben Stein, Harry Shearer, the actor who played Nixon in the UK series “Nixon’s the One” and the evening’s keynote speaker, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

“Hello, Dr. Kissinger,” this HOH reporter said. “Sorry to interrupt. I’m a reporter with Roll Call.”

“What is that?” he asked.

Full story

By Neda Semnani Posted at 2:12 p.m.
Nationwide, Parties

January 9, 2013

U.S. Mayors to Get Double Bill of VP Biden and MC Hammer

We knew the vice president was “2 Legit 2 Quit” — we just never realized how legit he was.

On Jan. 17, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will address the nation’s mayors “at the Opening Plenary Luncheon of the 81st Winter Meeting of The U.S. Conference of Mayors at the Capitol Hilton Hotel.”

Performing at the same luncheon: hip-hop great MC Hammer.

Did your face just melt? Did your heart swell with joy?

The correct answer is: yes.

Please Hammer, don’t hurt ‘em, but during Biden’s quality Hammer time, these are some classic Hammer tracks we would like our vice president to go ahead and get down with at the luncheon: Full story

January 8, 2013

Amodei Happy to Be Among the ‘Normal People’

Following a particularly challenging week in the Capitol during the fiscal cliff debate, Republican Rep. Mark Amodei says he’s relishing the opportunity to head back to his Northern Nevada district over the recess to be among “normal people.”

According to news release from Amodei, those so-called normal people include Native American tribes, members of the U.S. Forest Service, local police and fire departments, city business leaders, local chambers of commerce and veterans.

We here at HOH were curious, though. If the aforementioned groups of people are “normal,” who are the unlucky “abnormal” folks?

“Normal people don’t view everything through the prism of political winners and losers,” Amodei Communications Director Brian Baluta told HOH. “I’d say there’s something abnormal about celebrating so-called political wins that do nothing to solve the nation’s problems.”

So the takeaway from Amodei’s office? Native American tribes, members of the U.S. Forest Service, local police and fire departments, city business leaders, local chambers of commerce and veterans are apolitical or, more optimistically, winningly nonpartisan.

Missed Connection on the L2

Love and public transportation are governed by the same laws.

Neither love, nor the bus, will come when you’re desperate; both love and the train run on their own timetables; and there are a lot of strange people heading in your general direction.

There is something especially lovely when love and public transport collide.

On Jan. 3, a dude was riding the L2 bus, cruising down Connecticut Avenue. While on this ordinary commute, the dude met a female Senate staffer and, quick as a blink, was the most smitten kitten in Washington.

According to our tipster, the Mr. Smitten asked his Hill friends to circulate an email with a series of “gutsy haikus.”

“His big, bold gesture has been described as ‘adorable’ and ‘truly epic,’” the tipster tells HOH.

As far as we know, dude is not the tipster. If you have any information for this love-sick bus rider, email L2dreamscometrue@gmail.com.

Click through to read the story of their meeting in haiku form.

Full story

January 7, 2013

Ticketmaster’s Inaugural Nightmare Isn’t Over

Ticketmaster can’t catch a break.

The ticket-selling giant caused quite the ruckus Sunday when it sent out the link for buying tickets to the official presidential inaugural ball and parade earlier than it was supposed to. Before 8 p.m. Sunday, one day before tickets were supposed to be released, Ticketmaster’s servers were down and the events had been sold out.

The company quickly took responsibility for the glitch, but it also decided that the die had been cast and the tickets that had been sold would be honored.

Unfortunately for some, Ticketmaster’s original misfired email — the one sent Sunday with the link to buy tickets — was delayed in delivery.

On Monday afternoon, some unlucky few received the delayed email inviting them to buy tickets to already sold-out events.

“[S]ome customers … have just received the email about upcoming Inaugration events that was originally sent last night. This is not a new email,” Ticketmaster spokeswoman Jacqueline Peterson said in an email. ”It was originally sent last evening and it appears that either the ISP and/or the email provider(s) held the delivery of this email.”

They never had a chance.

Happy Birthday, Sen. Paul!

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., received an early birthday present from his 19-year-old son, William Hilton Paul, over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, the younger Paul was arrested at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina and charged with underage alcohol consumption, disorderly conduct and being intoxicated and disruptive after a flight from Lexington, Ky., to Charlotte, N.C., according to media reports. Sen. Paul’s 50th birthday was Monday.
Full story

The Private Tweets of Doug LaMalfa

The Private Tweets of Doug LaMalfa

Screenshot

Freshman Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., is one of a kind.

Out of 533 current members of Congress, LaMalfa is the only one whose Twitter account is protected from the curious eyes of the public. As of Monday afternoon, at least, the @DougLaMalfa account was locked. That means the new congressman must approve his followers individually.

According to his spokesman, the congressman said he thought he had unlocked his Twitter feed more than a month ago. Whatever his intentions, as of Monday afternoon, LaMalfa’s Twitter profile remained on lockdown.
Full story

A ‘Beautiful’ Life After Congress

A ‘Beautiful’ Life After Congress

(Courtesy Connie Mack)

Life away from Congress seems to be good for former Reps. Connie Mack, R-Fla., and Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif.

“We are excited about the future,” Mack said in an email to HOH. “We feel like a lot of weight has been lifted off of our shoulders and can live our lives. It’s a beautiful thing.”

After the 112th Congress came to a long-awaited close on Jan. 3, the couple — who both lost in the 2012 elections — traveled to Bono Mack’s former California district to attend the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Mack posted a photo Sunday night of the two of them at the festival glowing in their formal wear. “I have my very own Bond girl!” tweeted @ConnieMackIV.

Mack told HOH he and Bono Mack have been traveling the country in the first few days after their congressional tenures came to a close. He lost a bid to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and she lost a re-election bid to now-Rep. Raul Ruiz. Mack said they were at CNN’s New York offices Monday, a visit sure to fuel rumors that they are considering gigs with the Fourth Estate.

Fit for a King

Since 1985, historian Clayborne Carson has been analyzing the personal papers of legendary civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

From delving into King’s early sermons to publishing the correspondence between King and leaders such as Ghanan leader Kwame Nkrumah, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and then-Vice President Richard Nixon, Carson has helped paint a comprehensive portrait of King’s life and work.

On Thursday, Carson will be in Washington, D.C., to speak about his new memoir, “Martin’s Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.”

The memoir, released Tuesday, focuses on Carson’s parallel journey to King’s, including witnessing King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington in August 1963 and what he learned about the civil rights leader through analyzing his personal documents.
Full story

Regarding Sandy: Vitter Calls Reid an ‘Idiot’

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., can’t get any respect from Republican colleagues in either chamber.

Regarding Sandy: Vitter Calls Reid an Idiot

Reid, center, just can't seem to get any respect. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Last week, it was widely reported that during the fiscal cliff negotiations, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told the Senate’s top Democrat to “go f— himself.” Monday afternoon, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., very publicly called Reid “an idiot.”

Full story

Ticketmaster’s Inaugural Screwup

Updated: 1:56 p.m. | The presidential inaugural season is upon us.

Cue general anxiety, hysteria about receiving party invitations, getting tickets to balls, venturing out into the cold and on and on and on. The good news: Bars in the District will be serving into the wee hours of the night. The bad news: Ticketmaster screwed up and many people who were hoping to go to official events sponsored by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, such as the official ball or parade, are out of luck.

The tickets were for the public, which means that even some PIC staffers couldn’t get tickets to some of the events they have been planning. Full story

January 4, 2013

Pelosi and the Women of Photoshopping-gate

On the heels of her re-election as House minority leader, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi has already landed herself in a bit of hot water.

It isn’t over a controversial vote or legislative negotiation, though, but rather from an effort to preserve the historical record by, well, kind of making it up. On Thursday, the opening day of the 113th Congress, Pelosi’s staff orchestrated a photo shoot of all the House Democratic women. The photo the office released to the public, however, wasn’t the same photo taken earlier in the day.

What’s being sold as the “official” shot actually constitutes two pictures meshed together: the original group portrait of 58 lawmakers with four late-arrivals photo-edited into the back row to appear they were there the whole time.

Really, the stragglers – Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Corrine Brown, and Reps. Yvette Clarke of New York and Shelia Jackson Lee of Texas – posed together in a separate photograph, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill explained. They arrived for the photo shoot on the Capitol steps just as their colleagues were dispersing.

Here’s the group shot captured by our own CQ Roll Call photographer:

Pelosi and the Women of Photoshopping gate

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

And here’s the version being distributed by Pelosi’s office:

Pelosi and the Women of Photoshopping gate

(via Flickr)

Full story

‘Mr. Akaka …’ Lives On

Mr. Akaka ... Lives On

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Daniel K. Akaka retired from the Senate Thursday after a career that started in 1990, but for at least one more day, his presence lived on in the Senate chamber.

During a routine Senate quorum call Friday afternoon, a clerk mistakenly led off the calling of the roll with “Mr. Akaka.”

The clerk’s misstep should be no surprise because the Hawaii Democrat’s name had been first in the alphabet during his lengthy career. The reading of his name became so ubiquitous that The New York Times highlighted the end of the tradition in a story about Akaka’s retirement.

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...