Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 30, 2014

September 25, 2014

David Catania Strings Up Muriel Bowser With Puppet Power (Video)

Updated: 1:16 EDT

It’s not easy being green … and a political machine.

No, Kermit the Frog has not become a modern-day Boss Tweed. But a new political ad makes a nod to the Muppets by featuring plenty of puppets and a narrator that is a bright green and yellow puppet contraption dubbed “your political machine.” For good measure, the ad-makers throw in an homage to Alfred Hitchock Presents by making the background music Charles Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette.”

The campaign for David Catania, independent candidate for D.C. mayor and a D.C. Council member, released the ad Wednesday. The minute-long ad has more than 7,000 YouTube hits and takes plenty of swings at Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser, also a member of the council. The machine’s green and yellow colors just happen to mirror Bowser’s campaign colors, and, for that matter, the colors of her predecessor on the council, ex-Mayor Adrian Fenty.

“Why do you support Muriel Bowser?” the political machine asks puppets on the streets of D.C., to which one responded, “Muriel isn’t afraid to speak out, even when she doesn’t quite understand the issue, like neighborhood schools.”

“Don’t be a puppet,” the ad concludes. “Vote Independent November 4th.”

Ben Young of the Catania campaign said the puppet ad was pitched by their digital consultants. Young did not know the exact cost of the ad but he said the ad will not be airing on T.V. He said that the pupeteer’s creations were very intentional, down to making the “political machine” resemble a reel tape recorder, which Young said, “like our political machine is no longer relevant or useful.”

Bowser Communications Director Joaquin McPeek responded to the ad in an email to CQ Roll Call, writing, “The only thing more comical than his puppets is his internal polling.”

 

 

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By Bridget Bowman Posted at 10:28 a.m.
DC, FightingWords

Bombarding Darrell Issa

The Internet: Where making light of deadly airstrikes …

… is all in a day’s work.

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September 24, 2014

Vote for Your Favorite Congress Headed to Hustings Capitol Quip!

Vote for Your Favorite Congress Headed to Hustings Capitol Quip!

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 5 p.m. ET Thursday. Full story

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 3:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

September 23, 2014

George Takei Votes for More Gay Babies

In a new public service announcement for Our Time, entertainer/gay rights activist George Takei urges all Americans to stand and up and be counted on Election Day.

He also prods heterosexuals to make more whoopee.

“I’m talking to straight young couples because you are going to be producing the gay babies of tomorrow,” Takei counsels.

The multitalented celeb has become a force to be reckoned with in recent years. He’s the subject of a deeply personal documentary. He’s published books, brought joy to millions on satellite radio, developed a signature fragrance and even fielded offers to practice the art of diplomacy.

Takei’s made his presence known here in Washington as well, weighing in on legislative pals old and new.

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Rock the Vote — Where ‘Kimye’ and Politics Collide

Keeping up with the latest Kardashian gossip and knowing the difference between the names on your ballot aren’t mutually exclusive.

At least not for Ashley Spillane, the president of Rock the Vote, a national nonprofit that has organized get-out-the-vote efforts for more than two decades, including a national voter registration day on Tuesday.

“I think the importance is that there are millions and millions of Americans paying attention to what the Kardashians are doing and it’s actually truly OK to be interested in popular culture and politics at the same time,” Spillane said. “Everyone cares about issues.” Full story

September 22, 2014

GOP Mixes, (Briefly) Mingles With Log Cabin Republicans

Not even the lure of spending some quality time with a Cheney could compel congressional Republicans to hang around the Log Cabin Republican’s Spirit of Lincoln dinner in D.C. for longer than it takes to watch an episode of “Modern Family.”

Mind you, the Cheney in question was Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and gay marriage advocate who famously fought with her sister Liz during the latter’s short-lived bid to wrest Wyoming’s Senate seat away from Michael B. Enzi.

 

GOP Mixes, (Briefly) Mingles With Log Cabin Republicans

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Still, it did appear that more Republican lawmakers made an effort to make nice this year than did in 2013.

Full story

Artists Aim to Halt Political Pigeonholing

Democrats vs. Republicans. Red vs. Blue. Us vs. Them.

It seems that everywhere one looks these days, bright lines are being thrown up to swiftly categorize and completely compartmentalize those who would dare disagree with any closely-held world view.

Well, Enigma of New York has had enough of it.

 

Artists Aim to Halt Political Pigeonholing

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The art collective has launched a new campaign, chronicled under the #wethepurple umbrella on social media, designed to get the general public to quit feeding into political polarization.

The opening gambit in the group’s bid to eradicate ideological grandstanding was to amend 100-odd stop signs in Washington, D.C., and New York City to read “Stop Fighting, Congress. #Wethepurple.” According to an EoN member, the stick-on addendums were put in place late Sept. 7. The plan was to get District residents’ attention just as Congress returned to work on Sept. 8. Full story

Congress Headed for the Hustings | Capitol Quip

Congress Headed for the Hustings | Capitol Quip

On track to be the least productive Congress in modern times, members made short work of their September legislative agenda and headed back to the hustings in full campaign mode. That brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip captioning contest.

Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and everyone can vote for the winner through Thursday.

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

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By Jason Dick Posted at 12:59 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Flying Solo on Capitol Quip

Flying Solo on Capitol Quip

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. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

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September 19, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of September 15 (Video)

With Congress set to leave for seven weeks, members spent their final work week forgetting names, talking baseball and discussing the bad food at their uncle’s house.

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Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michele Bachmann wants Sen. Al Franken to make a campaign contribution — to defeat Al Franken.

The retiring Minnesota Republican congresswoman’s campaign fundraising pitch for her home state’s GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden reached the personal residence of Franken in Minneapolis, according to a copy of the mailer obtained by HOH.

Full story

Embracing Politics and Art Is a Milstein Tradition

D.C. denizen Connie Milstein has invested a great deal of time and effort into turning her Georgetown home into a beauty to behold and a wonder to explore.

Embracing Politics and Art Is a Milstein Tradition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The philanthropist and political booster, who played host to Sen. Kirsten Gillbrand, D-N.Y., Monday evening, has an eye for detail that is apparent throughout her carefully appointed domicile.

One gets the feeling that every single element spread throughout has been given incredible consideration, from the mythological beings that silently keep watch over the premises,

Embracing Politics and Art Is a Milstein Tradition
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

To the sassy seat cushions that encourage self-medication. (“Keep calm and have a cocktail” sounds like sage advice to us.) Full story

September 18, 2014

Rank and File Blast Opposing Leaders for Dropping the Legislative Ball

Having effectively set the country on cruise control until just beyond Election Day, House and Senate leaders did their damnedest Thursday to look really, really busy without actually doing anything that could get them into political trouble.

Foot soldiers from both sides of the aisle, undoubtedly tired of the inactivity that’s plagued Congress in recent years, used social media to fire back at partisan big-wigs for making the whole legislative body look bad.

 

 

 

Full story

Elizabeth Roskam Paints Capitol for Ukrainian Leader

Elizabeth Roskam Paints Capitol for Ukrainian Leader

(Courtesy Peter Roskam)

Artist Elizabeth Roskam, the wife of Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, on Thursday delivered a one-of-a-kind portrait of the U.S. Capitol to visiting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

A Roskam aide told HOH that sending Poroshenko home with the brightly colored rendering of the Capitol dome — a painting she dubbed, “Bright Horizon” — meant the world to Elizabeth, a proud descendent of Eastern European immigrants.

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:21 p.m.
Artsy, DC, HillSide, Reps, VIPs

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of ‘Slam the Solons’

As if engineering new ways to kinda-sorta green light foreign wars without getting booted out of office in a few weeks weren’t stressful enough, elected officials must once again — thanks to wildly inappropriate behavior by marquee athletes — contend with age-old accusations about everything that’s wrong with Capitol Hill.

The rapid succession of domestic scandals that have upended the careers of professional running backs Ray Rice (aggravated assault) of the Baltimore Ravens, and Adrian Peterson (indicted for child abuse) of the Minnesota Vikings appears to have stirred up anti-congressional sentiments, leading to the reappearance of a meme designed to highlight pols’ absolutely worst qualities.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(Screenshot)

 

Per the urban myth slayers at Snopes, the original laundry list of political loserdom was most likely distilled from a five-part series called “Congress: America’s Criminal Class” which Capital Hill Blue unveiled in 1999.  Six years later, the muckraking website revisited the myriad personal and professional shortcomings documented in the original expose and found a governing body still rife with human imperfection.

Team Snopes had a lot of issues with the original barrage, citing content ranging from distressingly vague (“the original publisher has steadfastly declined to provide any documentation for these claims”) to borderline absurd (“they would have no way of knowing how many members of Congress had been stopped for traffic violations without being cited”).

None of that, however, Team Snopes suggests, has halted armchair critics from subbing in the target du jour (British Parliament, the NFL, etc.) to get their preferred point across.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Making up horror stories about Congress seems like such an incredible waste of time.

Their real-life misdeeds are so much more engrossing:

The war at home

  • Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.: Love’s labor’s lost.
  • Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.: Perfect strangers
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.: Do as I say, not as I do.

Sexcapades

  • Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.: Your cheating heart
  • Ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill.: Does not compute.
  • Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.: Danger is his middle name.

Self-destructive tendencies

  • Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.: Give me somethin’ to break.
  • Ex-Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.: You holding?
  • Ex-Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.: Shopaholic

Questionable judgment

  • Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas: Rules are for suckers.
  • Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.: What, me worry?
  • Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont.: Don’t quote me on that.

Meanwhile, at least one incensed lawmaker is refusing to let the badly bruised NFL off the hook.

 

 

Guess that means the ball’s in your court, Web trolls.

Related:

Female Senators Write Letter to Goodell, Want NFL to Adopt ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policy

Blumenthal Floats Changes to NFL Antitrust Exemption (Video)

Critics of Washington Team Name Target NFL Nonprofit Status (Video)

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