Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 9, 2015

June 6, 2013

Five Unifying Slogans for Bachmann/Dole!


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 9 a.m. EDT Friday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • The US Capitol is the place for me.
    Cuttin’ deals is the life for me.
    Legislatin’ a good old omnibus bill
    Keep your tea parties, just give me bipartisan will.God’s country is where I’d rather go.
    Congressional business is our biggest foe.
    I just adore the gun rights crew.
    Robert, I love you but the party needs something new!
  • If this smile lasts more than four hours, call a doctor!
  • If I open my eyes and look real hard I can see the White House!
  • American GOPic
  • I’m not retiring because my Tea Party views are out of touch: I finally realized the pen just ain’t mightier than the pitchfork!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog June 10 and in that day’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 Jason Dick Posted at 8:39 a.m.
Capitol Quip

June 5, 2013

Frager’s Hardware Fire ‘About as Big as They Get in D.C.’

Frager’s Hardware, the quirky, cluttered Capitol Hill institution that catered to everyone from weekend gardeners to U.S. presidents, was engulfed in flames late Wednesday afternoon, with firefighters waging a four-alarm fire as black, white and brown smoke spewed across the neighborhood and blotted out views of the Capitol from the east.

A four-alarm fire broke out at Frager's Hardware on Wednesday afternoon. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call.)

A four-alarm fire broke out at Frager’s Hardware on Wednesday afternoon. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

“We don’t really know what happened, but everyone got out,” Frager’s owner John Weintraub told Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells as the lawmaker arrived on the scene. Weintraub said “everyone got out,” and all were accounted for among his employees and that he did not know what started the fire.

Frager's owner John Weintraub, second from left, speaks to Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells at the scene. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call.)

Frager’s owner John Weintraub, second from left, speaks to Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells at the scene. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

“It’s at least a four-alarm fire, and that’s about as big as they get in D.C.,” Wells told CQ Roll Call.

The smell of the fire was evident from at least two miles away, and the smoke plumes could be seen from even farther as the main building, which sold everything from mouse traps to brooms and air filters, billowed smoke.

The surrounding crowd of hundreds, ranging among a wide array of ages and races, seemed to be in a state of shock. Many had likely seen such scenes before, as other Capitol Hill landmarks, such as Eastern Market in 2007 and the Tune Inn in 2011, had also burned.

Residents could only watch as the fire department battled the flames. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call.)

Residents could only watch as the fire department battled the flames. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Those institutions, with the support of the community, reopened.

By Jason Dick Posted at 8:28 p.m.

Booze Writer Offers to Liquor Up Congress

Call us crazy, but it sounds, at least to us, like imbibing scribe David Wondrich would prefer to see Congress folks close down local bars like it was their job.

“In recent decades, though, give or take a Vito Fossella, you don’t hear much about woozy high times in the nation’s capital,” he eulogizes in the June/July issue of Esquire.

Partisanship, it seems, has ruined the raucous good times once enjoyed by all. But rather than drown his sorrows alone, Wondrich elects to get politically active.

His solution: spotting bipartisan drinking buds a few bucks.

Full story

Van Hollen Treats Cop to Ravens Celebration

By his estimation, Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen bumps into Capitol Police Officer Aaron Smith “practically every day.”

That budding friendship — built on running conversations about family, work and, of course, football — reached a new level on Wednesday when Van Hollen made good on a promise to escort Smith to a very special ceremony.

“I told Cap. Police Ofc. Aaron Smith that if the @Ravens won the Super Bowl, I’d bring him w/me to meet the #RavensAtTheWH,” Van Hollen tweeted Wednesday, teeing up the following clincher:

Full story

Surnames Victimized at Lautenberg Funeral

Those who bemoan the death of accuracy in the media must feel vindicated by the gaffe-filled news coming out of the funeral of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J.

In a White House pool report of the event, Herb Jackson, the Washington correspondent of the The Record of Bergen County, N.J., points out that at least one fellow lawmaker’s proper name did not survive the program editing process.

“Sen. Al Franken’s name is spelled Franklin,” Jackson notes.

Too bad Jackson is culpable of the same sin — not just once, but twice.

In the preceding paragraph of the pool report, Jackson flubs the featured entertainment’s name (“That’s followed by music by Brian Stokes Mmitchell”) and stumbles again when referring to the former FLOTUS-turned-secretary of State (“The next speakers are former Secretary of State Hillary Rodhman Clinton …”).

Here’s hoping the printed word survives to fight another day.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:56 p.m.

June 4, 2013

Angelina Jolie: The Photos That Keep on Giving

Actress and human rights activist Angelina Jolie turns 38 today. (Big ups, Angie!)

Rather than embarrass ourselves by offering some paltry trinket, we at HOH decided to recount the joy the mega movie star has brought to star-struck pols and congressional gawkers over the years:

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call archives)

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Beat that, Brad Pitt!

Pocan Makes Colbert Squirm

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., made his debut on “The Colbert Report” on Monday, sliding into the hot seat against the faux conservative host in the latest installment of the recurring “Better Know a District” segment.

The rapid-fire interview — which staff confirmed was filmed here in town on April 26 — ran the gamut, touching on everything from the “Hunger Games”-authorizing provisions woven into to the Affordable Care Act (false) and Pocan’s opposition to bear wrestling (true), to “squeaky” cheeses and Speaker John A. Boehner’s hypersensitive tear ducts.

Full story

Gape-Gap Gasp! Ex-Lobbyist Looks to Prevent Inadvertent Flashing

Rochelle Behrens, an ex-lobbyist for Quinn Gillespie, did mind the gap.

As a professional woman and now a fashion designer, Behrens wanted to address the “gape,” which is her term for that special gap that appears at the summit of the bosom area on a button-down shirt. The “gape gap” shows off a woman’s, um, décolletage and can be very revealing indeed.

Behrens thought and thought and obsessed over the button-down gape-gap and finally created a flash-free shirt, which she appropriately enough dubbed: The Shirt.

It is also seriously expensive. If you buy it in stores, The Shirt can set you back anywhere from $132 to $198.

But take heart, gape-gap sufferers on a budget. Behrens has taken to Kickstarter to raise money to make a more affordable gape-gap-free shirt ($60 to $75 each).
And just like a public-radio pledge drive, Behrens and Co. will be giving out “thank you” gifts at the various giving levels.

Gingrich Lobbies to Slap Wife on Beer Bottle

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich doesn’t use his enduring clout to support just any old vanity project. But he will, apparently, go to bat for the chance to plaster an image of his platinum-tressed third wife, Callista, on a craft brew bottle.

(Courtesy Stevens Point Brewery)

(Courtesy Stevens Point Brewery)

At the moment, Callista Gingrich appears to be leading the field of exactly two applicants vying for the honor of being the next Drop Dead Blonde poster girl. Full story

Lisa Murkowski’s George Clooney Moment

It’s a long way from D.C. to Alaska … long enough to make Republican Lisa Murkowski the million-mile senator.

Murkowski posted to Facebook on Monday night that on her flight back to D.C. after the Memorial Day recess, she found out she had achieved million-mile status on Alaska Airlines.


Murkowski still has about 9 million miles to go to match George Clooney’s character’s total in the 2009 movie “Up in the Air,” but the good news is that unlike Clooney’s Ryan Bingham, the people of Alaska seem to like her enough that they’ve continued to elect her.

Many thanks to Murkowski spokesman Matthew Felling for flagging.

June 3, 2013

Pelosi Promotes Takei Cameo

NASA released a special “It Gets Better” video for national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride month.

And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi couldn’t help but clue everyone in to a cheeky Easter egg featuring actor and gay rights advocate George Takei:

For our money, it does not get any better than basking in Takei’s highly infectious, bass-filled chuckle.

Grannies, Mystics Hoop It Up on Hill

That bouncing noise in the Cannon House Office Building on Tuesday is the sound of grandmothers in better shape than you.

Title IX passed decades ago, but that doesn’t mean that all’s fair in men’s and women’s athletics. On Tuesday, just weeks before the 41st anniversary of the Title IX passage, the American Association of University Women will hold a basketball clinic and various other activities to get Congress to focus on increasing compliance with the law — and they’re bringing their grannies with them.

It all starts with a basketball clinic in the Cannon Caucus Office. Four members of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics will coach 20 D.C. public school girls on the skills integral to the game. After the clinic, the program “Grade School to Grannies: The Importance of Women’s and Girls’ Participation in Sports across the Life Span” will briefly switch gears. Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., AAUW CEO Linda D. Hallman and documentary filmmaker Angela Alford will briefly address the group.

Alford directed the film “Granny’s Got Game,” which chronicles the Fabulous 70s, a senior women’s hoops team shooting for gold at the senior Olympics. Members of Congress and their staffs will have a chance to shoot hoops on a miniature court in the Cannon Caucus Room, with the Fabulous 70s refereeing, all while the film rolls in the background.

“Title IX has made enormous strides toward gender equity in athletics, but we need greater Title IX compliance in education overall to use the landmark law to its full potential,” Hallman said in a statement.

Slaughter added: “Watching women who have achieved the pinnacle of athletic success in professional sports play alongside a group of septuagenarians who are still shooting hoops — and winning gold medals — reminds us that it’s never too late to realize the benefits of athletic activity.”

After the official event, the Fabulous 70s will lobby members of Congress to support the High School Data Transparency Act, which would require high schools to publicly report basic data on the number of female and male students in athletic programs and expenses made for the sports teams.

“These women, who are still playing basketball at 75 years old, are a testimony to what sports can mean to girls. Basketball has given them a lifetime of exercise, fun, and friendship,” Alford said.

Grijalva Does His Best Bill Nye

Arizona Democratic Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva got all science guy during the recess, dropping knowledge about his problems with the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline:

“You don’t have to be a congressman in a borrowed lab coat to do the math,” he asserts in this three-minute chemistry lesson, saying job-creation estimates of up to 250,000 jobs are way off, according to a recent study by Cornell University.

Together with his “able assistant” Adam, he encourages people to “go get yourself some tar sands. Invite your neighbors over” and conduct your own experiments to see how difficult it is to clean up a potential tar sand spill.


Coincidentally, I’m not actually a journalist. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night …

Bon Voyage, Frank!

New Jersey Democrat Frank R. Lautenberg died this morning, officially closing the book on the oldest member of the Senate.


(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rather than dwell on his passing, we choose to remember all he contributed to our humble gossip section, including the time his devoted staff all sported the same ‘do in solidarity, his unwavering stance in the Boss vs. Bon Jovi debate and the magical day a Jonas Brother popped by to talk shop.

Godspeed, Sen. Lautenberg!

June 2, 2013

The GOP Unity Ticket? | Capitol Quip


Illustrator R.J. Matson’s latest cartoon needs a caption.

While you were at the beach last week, the tea party’s favorite lawmaker, Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, decided not to run for re-election. Funny thing though, her announcement kind of coincided with former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole’s, R-Kan., decision to criticize the direction Bachmann and other conservative purists have taken the party. There should be a lot of good fodder there, so have at it!

Leave us your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists Wednesday, and then everyone can vote for the winner until Thursday afternoon. The winner gets a signed print from Matson.

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