Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 29, 2015

January 31, 2013

Capitol Quip: What’s Hillary Thinking?

You’ve got until 5 p.m. EDT to vote here for your preferred caption among the five finalists.

The winner will be announced Monday.

By Jason Dick Posted at 12:51 p.m.
Capitol Quip

January 30, 2013

Wizards, Rename Thyselves!

Two sports events have prompted HOH to launch a public service campaign: convincing Washington’s NBA franchise to ditch its woeful Wizards nickname.

First came the buzz about the Washington Nationals adding another racing president, William H. Taft, to the baseball club’s fourth-inning theatrics. HOH then absorbed the news that the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets were changing their name to the more geographic-appropriate Pelicans, the Louisiana state bird.
Full story

Tim Ryan to Congress: Slow Down

Rep. Tim Ryan wants fellow lawmakers and congressional staff to stop and think about what they’re doing — even if only for a little while.

The Ohio Democrat, who says life on Capitol Hill has steadily devolved into a toxic mix of “more anxiety, more meetings, more fiscal cliff,” is hoping to speed the healing process by hosting weekly mindful meditation sessions on campus.
Full story

Quigley: Time to Make the Doughnuts

“I’m not easily impressed with politicians,” Norm Dinkel, owner of Chicago’s Dinkel’s Bakery, told HOH. But as for Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., who spent a day making doughnuts and decorating cakes for Dinkel, well, “He is a very nice man.”

“It was just a nice experience” to have Quigley work at the shop, the gruff baker said.

As part of his constituent outreach, Quigley goes into the district and works odd jobs for those businesses willing to put up with a congressman. This week, Dinkel’s Bakery, established in 1922 and run by Norm for 50 years, got the full Quigley service.
Full story

The Grijalva/Pastor Mock Turtleneck Mystery

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva was sitting comfortably in first class, heading to Arizona via Dallas/Fort Worth, when HOH spotted him.

He’s racked up enough frequent flier miles with American Airlines going back and forth from Washington, D.C., to his district that he’s made “platinum status” and is entitled to a free upgrade, space permitting.
Full story

Tom Coburn and His Giant Charts


Sen. Tom Coburn came to the Senate floor Wednesday to address a problem that he says is too big to be addressed within the confines of the Senate’s chart regulations.

The Oklahoma Republican brought a series of bright yellow charts to the floor with a series of tables outlining duplication and redundancy in federal government programs, based on reports from the Government Accountability Office.

“I ask permission for these oversized charts because the detail behind them cannot be seen unless you have it on a chart this size,” Coburn said. He later argued that “it’s absolutely asinine what we’re doing” in terms of wasting money.

Full story

Capitol Quip: Vote for Your Winner

CQ Roll Call continues its new weekly cartoon caption contest with a second round this week. CQ Roll Call editors have culled this week’s entries to move to the next stage: five finalists our readers will be able to vote for during the next day.

So, 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 a winner. 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:

• “You mothers wear combat boots”

• “Full Metal Jackass”

• “I’m ready for that 3:00 AM phone call …”

• “Amateurs …”

• “2016….2016……please let it be 2016!”

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog Monday and in the Monday 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.

Ashley Judd and Dario Franchitti to Divorce

Actress, activist and potential Senate candidate Ashley Judd announced Tuesday that she and race-car driver husband Dario Franchitti will divorce. The two tweeted “family forever” to each other after the news of their split broke.

Judd is mulling a bid against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

When we spoke to Judd during the Emily’s List inauguration brunch, she told us just how difficult and serious the process of deciding to run for public office can be.

“When people are considering running, they hedge,” she said. “I get that now.”

Not even her family knows what she will do, but she did tell us how supportive her mother, country singer Naomi Judd, is.

“My husband said … well, I’ll let him speak for himself,” she said. Full story

Stars Walk Red Carpet at D.C. Premiere of ‘House of Cards’

Netflix’s new political drama “House of Cards” is set to premiere later this week, and the stars of the series were on hand at the Newseum on Tuesday night to premiere the show’s first episode.

The series stars Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, a House majority whip who embarks on a plot to bring down the president of the United States after he is passed over for the secretary of State role he covets.

And while many political dramas take liberties with how Washington actually works, Spacey told reporters gathered on the red carpet that he spent time with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., before the show’s filming to get a feel for the challenges and duties a whip possesses.

“[McCarthy] was generous with his time,” Spacey said, adding that he also tagged along with Hoyer, who was equally giving. “He told me what it’s like to corral 218 individuals.”

In addition to Spacey’s homework,  the show’s creator, Beau Willimon – who also wrote the screenplay of the political thriller movie “Ides of March” based on his own play, “Farragut North” – has worked on a number of political campaigns, including the campaign of Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential run.

The stars of the show – including Kate Mara (“American Horror Story”) and Constance Zimmer (“Entourage”) – said Willimon’s wealth of knowledge for how Washington works was essential to their understanding of their characters’ roles.

All 13 episodes of the first season of the show will be posted at once on Netflix on Friday.

January 29, 2013

Reid Dings Daily Caller When Asked About Menendez Prostitution Accusations

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., took shots at the conservative news site The Daily Caller on Tuesday, characterizing reports that Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., solicited prostitutes as unreliable.

Reid said you have to “consider the source” of the allegations, referring to The Daily Caller.

The Daily Caller has reported that Menendez frequented prostitutes while in the Dominican Republic on several occasions between 2009 and 2012.

“I always consider the source,” Reid said. “All anyone here has to look at is the source where this comes from. It’s a source that has brought up a lot of non-issues.”

Reid said that reports on Menendez’s sexual activities were “typical” of The Daily Caller. Menendez and his office have said the reports are false.

Menendez is set to take over the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from outgoing Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who is leaving the Senate to become secretary of State.

Ravens Fans Not Satisfied With Pelosi’s Super Bowl Stance

Attention, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: Folks in the old country aren’t terribly satisfied that you are “a Baltimore sports fan as my second team.”

The California Democrat, who was born and raised in Baltimore but has lived in and represented San Francisco for decades, has tried to stay above the fray in the friendly skirmishes that abound in Congress over who will be victorious in Sunday’s Super Bowl, which pits the Baltimore Ravens against the San Francisco 49ers.

California and Maryland senators have bet each other adult beverages, local eats, and a can of hairspray, over the outcome of the big game. But when Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland broached the subject of a friendly wager with Pelosi, she demurred. “I am rooting for the 49ers, I am not rooting against Baltimore,” she told curious Capitol Hill reporters last week.

But that, as well as her statement at the same news conference that Baltimore is her “second team” isn’t cutting it with the Baltimore football blog russellstreetreport, which is taking the former Nancy D’Alesandro to task for forsaking “her roots.”

In a post titled, “Nancy Pelosi forgets her roots, cheers for 49ers,” russellstreetreport blogger Wola Odeniran writes: “I don’t care who you are, if you root for the opponent under these circumstances, you better keep it quiet.”

Harsh words for the woman whose father and brother both served as mayor of Baltimore and whose political legacy lives on there.

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:04 p.m.

January 28, 2013

Capitol Quip: Your Punchline Goes Here

CQ Roll Call editorial cartoonist R.J. Matson has submitted another Capitol Quip image for your consideration this week. Submit your entry in the comments below. Editors will pick five finalists to go before readers for another vote.

Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for our first Capitol Quip contest. The winning entry, as voted by readers of the Heard on the Hill blog, is “Here’s our number. So call us, maybe …”. The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing.

Hillary’s State-ly Farewell Dinner: Pick the Seating Chart!

Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is being feted at a private dinner hosted by U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday night.

Invited guests include President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar de la Renta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell, Secretary-of-State-in-waiting Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Treasury Secretary-designee and outgoing White House Chief of Staff Jacob L. Lew, U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice, her nemesis Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, incoming White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, acting CIA Director Michael J. Morell, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and former Secretary of State George P. Shultz.

Though this guest list is incomplete, we figure we have enough information to make a great seating chart. How about seating McCain and Rice next to each other? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

‘Gang of Two’ Tackles The Varsity

Having dedicated Monday morning to instructing University of Georgia students about the importance of leadership and public service, Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., did the next best thing anyone can do while visiting Athens: grab lunch at The Varsity.

The chainlet of historic drive-ins has fed visitors a steady diet of marvelously sloppy chili dogs, custom burgers, sugary beverages (sweet tea, frothy shakes and Coca-Cola products, natch) and mouthwatering desserts for eight decades (and counting).

Though planted in Chambliss’ political backyard, congressional aides said Warner, who lived in Atlanta — home of The Varsity’s largest location — before his life in public office, suggested the fast-food pit stop.

“My boss says he ordered two chili dogs, onion rings, fried peach pie and a Varsity orange. He didn’t say whether or not it was served with a defibrillator,” a Warner aide quipped.

A Chambliss aide said the Georgia senator opted for a slaw dog, a chili dog, onion rings and chocolate milk this time around but typically favors a “through the garden” burger (meat with lettuce, tomato and mayo).

By Warren Rojas Posted at 8:29 p.m.

The Joker’s Political Humor Abides

What do you get when you cross some vaguely political content with a few bawdy pics and a bunch of corny, crowdsourced groaners?

Those on Capitol Hill who probably just replied, “My roommate’s tumblr,” get half-credit. But we were actually talking about the long-standing Georgia rag currently known as The Joker.

The “magazine” has undergone various iterations in its lifetime, beginning — as best we can tell from the fuzzy pics in the online archive — as a pennysaver/Grit-style publication called the Savannah Joker. The periodical appears to be the irreverent brainchild (The Jester is a family-friendly sibling) of Mark De Vivo, owner of DeVivo Marketing, and was, at one point, the self-proclaimed “Worst Magazine in the USA.” Team DeVivo eventually thought better of that, adopting the current “America’s Politically Incorrect Humor Magazine” position between issues 48 and 49.

The 16-page production (#203) we procured from the Sunshine Travel Plaza in Woodbine, Ga., hits all the cultural high points: swimsuit-clad woman on the cover, randy jokes and anecdotes cribbed from a subscriber-fed “Joke Blog” (a joke about mother-in-laws titled “Mixed Emotions” submitted on Jan. 18 is featured on page 10 of the issue), all fleshed out by a “news of the weird”-style roundup of UPI stories (an undated account of an overflowing urinal in the men’s room of the House daily press gallery made the cut).

The commentary — we use the term loosely, as there appears to be no original reporting whatsoever in this purely aggregated pub — ranges from a “Who’s on First”-like exchange about the ridiculousness of how the unemployment rate is calculated to a parable featuring a weary traveler, an IRS genie, a poorly worded wish and a transformation into a feminine hygiene product (the moral: “If the U.S. government offers to help you, there’s going to be a string attached.”).

Back issues appear to have been even more politically motivated. Or so we assume given splashy covers announcing “Win a Date with Newt!” (#38) and “Clinton Comes Clean” (#52). We’re genuinely sorry we missed those.

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