Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

June 22, 2014

Bart Stupak Scraps His Way to Congressional Baseball Hall Of Fame (Video)

Bart Stupak Scraps His Way to Congressional Baseball Hall Of Fame (Video)

Stupak plays first base as the Democrats practice at Brentwood Park in 2010. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Some ballplayers rack up win after win from the pitcher’s mound. Others bash hit after hit. Managers capture the coveted Roll Call trophy and put it on display in their offices. Any of these career paths can lead to recognition and honors.

But what about the low-key player who, over the course of 14 years, out-pitches his more celebrated teammates, wins an MVP award for his defensive prowess, changes the way pitchers are handled — and is the only player to ever strike out a Hall of Famer? One man has accomplished all of the above, and for that we have selected former Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., as the 2014 inductee into the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame.

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June 21, 2014

Joseph Crowley Savors Diamond Memories From Congressional Baseball Games

Joseph Crowley Savors Diamond Memories From Congressional Baseball Games

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle — or “Coach Doyle,” as he’s deferentially called by colleagues — doesn’t want to see anybody get hurt at the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

That’s a good thing for a team of amateur athletes with an average age far past that of a professional ballplayer in his prime, and perhaps especially good for Rep. Joseph Crowley.

“I’ve been hurt twice in the last three seasons,” the New York Democrat readily admitted. “I’ve been hurt at the game. Typically, it’s pulling a muscle.

“We’re so psyched,” Crowley explained. “The adrenaline’s pumping. You’re running from votes, you’re changing in the car, you’re running into the stadium. There’s no time to warm up, the game starts. You’re just, like, pumping. All those people there!”

He paused and smiled. “It’s a really, really cool thing.”

Crowley, the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus when he’s not manning first base, played in his first Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game in 1999, as a freshman lawmaker. He’s seen a lot and has a humble idea of his place in the scheme of things. “The second year, I remember I was out in the outfield, and I didn’t have my cleats that morning, and I was shagging a fly ball,” he recalled. “The field was so wet and dewy, I just lost my feet completely. Bang! Right smack on my back. And I got up and I said, ‘Why am I doing this? I don’t know why I’m doing this.’”

Crowley uses the word “hate” for anyone who’s a standout player, and “jealous” for anyone who competes to play first base. The latter point has been the source of a rivalry between him and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.

But despite his somewhat imposing stature and gruff baritone, Crowley is quick with a laugh and his eyes twinkle when he’s talking trash — a sign he takes it all in stride.

Some of Crowley’s favorite memories? “I enjoyed watching the Weiner years,” said Crowley of former Rep. Anthony Weiner, a fellow New York Democrat and Mets fan.

Crowley’s nicknamed the Democrats’ star pitcher, Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana, “Franchise” and calls freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy of Florida, “Franchise 2.” Murphy, Crowley said, is “like a gazelle” on the field.

He says his favorite moment inside the diamond was in 2012, the same day the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act.

“Folks made signs out in the field,” Crowley said. “‘Supreme Court 1, Republicans Nothing.’ Something like that.”

Was there ever a low-point in his congressional baseball career?

“Yeah,” Crowley said, trying to deadpan but ultimately bursting out laughing. “The day Steve Largent struck me out my only time at bat. I said, ‘I’m never gonna be here again!’ ”

The Oklahoma Republican who’s in two halls of fame — pro football’s and the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game’s — made him look silly. “I was there at the plate, and he threw a ball, and I fouled it off. And he threw another ball, and it was a ball. And he threw another ball, it was a strike, and I knew it was coming, and all I could do was look at it. And I watched it. It was a beautiful pitch, it was a curveball over the plate, and I remember thinking: ‘That guy is such a great athlete. I hate him.’

“But that was 15, 16 years ago,” Crowley shrugged. “Every year is a new beginning. I’m hoping to hit it out soon.”

Get your tickets to the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

 

Related:

Republican and Democratic team rosters for the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game

Congressional Baseball Game Helps D.C. Adults Get Second Chance at Washington Literacy Center

 

 

June 20, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of June 16 (Video)

As summer approaches, members turned to flavored e-cigarettes, arithmetic and CIA analysts on acid to make it through the heat of the week.

Senate Panel Goes Back to (Dr.) Oz | Madisonville

Senate Panel Goes Back to (Dr.) Oz | MadisonvilleSen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., brought a bit of glamour to the Senate to get to the bottom of why Americans want to lose weight without really trying. Dr. Mehmet Oz, the star of “The Dr. Oz Show,” came to explain why he speaks so kindly about products that McCaskill said combine promises of weight loss and a “lack of serious effort.”

You could tell Oz was a star because his entourage included somebody to knot his tie. Bright studio lights were stationed in the corners for the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance hearing Tuesday. Other witnesses knotted their own ties and mostly faded into the wings.

McCaskill gave Oz a tongue-lashing, telling him to stop talking about the benefits of green coffee bean extract, garcinia cambogia and raspberry ketone — “The number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat!” — on his show. “Why don’t you tell people to take a walk instead of a pill?” McCaskill asked. She was on such a roll that you expected her to accuse Oz of being the inspiration for the 64-oz. soda. Full story

Eric Cantor’s Next Move: Dancing With the Stars?

Eric Cantor’s Next Move: Dancing With the Stars?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After his shocking primary loss, outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s days are numbered on Capitol Hill. So will the Virginia Republican’s next move be to the dance floor?

It will if Sara Benincasa has her way. Benincasa, a California-based writer and comedian, recently started a Change.org petition asking ABC to offer Cantor a spot on their competition series “Dancing with the Stars.”

“If Tom DeLay can do it, Eric Cantor can freaking rock this show,” Benincasa wrote on the petition. “He is a dreamboat and even if you don’t like his politics, you need to admit that the man’s got swag. Plus, he’s got some time on his hands, and this is a way better use of time than becoming some lobbyist. He can do that AFTER he wins Dancing With The Stars. “

The petition has more than 80 signatures so far, but Benincasa says Cantor should be getting more support. “I think Eric Cantor deserves better than 83 people,” Benincasa said in a phone interview.

Benincasa is editor-in-chief of the site “Happy Nice Time People,” a political humor website. She said she started the petition because she is “really interested in anything that could get a politician involved with entertainment,” adding that Cantor would also be nice to watch on TV.

“Even though I don’t agree with his politics, I agree with his face,” Benincasa said. She added that he could also use dance as a way to express himself once he leaves Congress.

“I feel like Eric Cantor has demonstrated a lot of passion in his life,” she said. “And I feel like the only way for that passion to find a voice now is through the magic of dance.”

So if Cantor decides to become one of the dancing stars, he can at least call another former House majority leader for cha-cha tips.

 

Congressional Baseball Game Helps D.C. Adults Get Second Chance at Washington Literacy Center

Congressional Baseball Game Helps D.C. Adults Get Second Chance at Washington Literacy Center

Students Denise Herbert, Donna Snowden and Luke Adams get warmed up before a reading class as instructor Martha Tansey looks on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Latisha Powell pointed to a paper pinned to the bulletin board on the bright blue wall and said, “When I came here, I couldn’t write that essay.”

Powell, 46, was once one of the thousands of adults in the District who do not have basic reading skills.

But after several months at the Washington Literacy Center, Powell was able to write that essay, about mothers, which began: “Don’t be ashamed.”

Shaking off the shame that comes with being functionally illiterate is a common experience for the 100 adults the WLC serves each year. Most of them do not have a high school diploma, but have completed 10 to 12 years of education.

Donna Snowden, 50, said she used to be embarrassed that she could not read, but she no longer felt alone after she came to the WLC. “I said, ‘Whoa, all of them can’t read either?’ I’m not ashamed no more. That’s what helped me back.”

That sense of camaraderie flows through the classrooms at the WLC, located in the Thurgood Marshall Center just off U Street in Northwest D.C.

The WLC was able to relocate to the center two years ago with help from funds raised by the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. Last year, the funds helped the WLC purchase the Wilson Reading System, a teaching technique that breaks down words.

According to WLC Executive Director Terry Algire, the Wilson system has been extremely successful. “The Wilson Reading System works,” Algire said.

She said the combination of small class sizes, professional instructors, eight hours of instruction per week and a successful reading system has helped make the WLC an effective program.

Algire is looking to expand the WLC and incorporate math tutoring as well.

“While we’re moving students, transitioning students into GED programs, job training programs and employment, what we’re hearing back is, ‘Their reading is really good, now can you help with the math?’ ” Algire said. “So what we’re going to do is find a math program that’s similar in technique to the way Wilson is taught.”

This year’s 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game donation will be used to research potential math programs and expand pilot projects where the WLC sends instructors to other adult education programs in an effort to reach more adults.

Algire said an estimated 64,000 to 90,000 adults in D.C. lack basic reading skills, which means just filling out a job application is an arduous task. She also said these adults face an unfair characterization.

“A lot of times, there’s a stereotype that adults don’t care,” said Algire, who added that the adults who drop out of high school are not apathetic. Instead, they are frustrated by learning differences that do not coincide with standard teaching techniques.

For students like Powell, the WLC is a place to learn what she was not able to learn in school. “I love it here,” she said.

Get your tickets to the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

 

Related:

Joseph Crowley Savors Diamond Memories From Congressional Baseball Games

Republican and Democratic rosters for the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game

The Updated Staffer Guide to the Congressional Baseball Game

Bart Stupak Scraps His Way to Congressional Baseball Hall Of Fame

Love Sparked From Beehive State: Clay White, Tanya Robertson Engaged

Love Sparked From Beehive State: Clay White, Tanya Robertson Engaged

White proposes to Robertson on speaker’s balcony. (Courtesy Allison Barker)

It didn’t take long for Clay White to decide that Tanya Robertson was the girl for him.

It was “love at first sight.” Robertson was interning for Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. She walked into the office of another Utah Republican, Rep. Chris Stewart and caught White’s eye. White, a legislative correspondent for Stewart, knew he had to take immediate action.

Under the guise of “work,” he made multiple visits to the Chaffetz office before he mustered up the courage to ask Robertson on a date. They dated long distance when Robertson returned to school in Utah. Upon graduation, she became Chaffetz’s scheduler.

Full story

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 12:38 p.m.
Weddings

June 19, 2014

DWS Sustains Hamstring Injury at Congressional Women’s Softball Game

DWS Sustains Hamstring Injury at Congressional Womens Softball Game

Wasserman Schultz celebrates the win. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Good thing the next Congressional Women’s Softball Game is a year away.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., tore her hamstring Wednesday night as she was rounding the bases during the annual charity softball game and will be sidelined for “at least a couple of weeks” as she undergoes physical therapy for the injury, her office said Thursday afternoon.

Despite Wasserman Schultz’s injury early on in the game, the female members of Congress went on to defeat the female reporters in a triumphant 10-5 win — taking back the coveted trophy after a two-year slump.

Full story

Vote for Your Favorite GOP Primaries Quip | Capitol Quip

Vote for Your Favorite GOP Primaries Quip | Capitol QuipThe 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.

Here are this week’s finalists!

  • Campaigns of mice and men, sometimes go astray.
  • All I did was ask if he wanted to join us for a tea party.
  • He’s afraid what Cantor’s got is contagious.
  • You’d think Brat was the wurst.
  • What a Brat.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on June 22 and in the following 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 Rebecca Gale Posted at 12:52 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Members Beat Babes in Congressional Women’s Softball Game (Video)

Members Beat Babes in Congressional Womens Softball Game (Video)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., kisses their trophy as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and teammates look on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After a tough loss last year, the women of Congress reclaimed the pink trophy Wednesday in the 6th Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game, beating the female journalist team, the Bad News Babes, 10-5.

The lawmakers and journalists faced off on a muggy evening at the Watkins Recreation Center to compete in the annual game, which benefits the Young Survival Coalition, a breast cancer charity.

Scores of Hill staffers, journalists and members of Congress came out to cheer for their favorite players, with many holding signs and donning campaign T-shirts to show their support. But the politics of the moment still managed to make an appearance on the field. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., stopped by the emcees’ tent with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., joking that she couldn’t vote for him in Thursday’s election for House majority leader.

Full story

June 18, 2014

Watch Out, King Crab; There’s a King Lobster in Town

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, sported some Maine pride Wednesday, tweeting a picture of himself with a group of students donning lobster hats.

Was this photo op a show of support for Maine’s lobster roll as it vies for the top spot in the Taste of America competition?

Not exactly.

 

King posed with a group of students who qualified for the the National History Day contest at the University of Maryland at College Park next week.  According to a King spokesperson, the students in the photo are from Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland, Maine, and are some of the 59 students from Maine who will participate in the national contest.

The National History Day competition includes students from across the country who  advanced through local and state contests for the top history projects that address this year’s theme of “Rights and Responsibilities in History.”

So although King did not don his own lobster hat, perhaps he should keep it on hand in case Maine’s signature dish becomes the next Taste of America champion at next week’s 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

Hirono Shepherds Taste of Hawaii to the Hill

Of all the “firsts” Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, has accomplished since succeeding retired solon Daniel Akaka, we’re most excited about the inaugural “Taste of Hawaii” event she’s cooked up for late July.

Hirono Shepherds Taste of Hawaii to the Hill

(Courtesy Mazie K. Hirono)

Why it’s taken this long for our friends from the South Pacific to have the culinary stage all to themselves remains somewhat of a mystery.

“No one had ever asked before,” Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, said of the missed opportunity no one had apparently given much thought to before.

Until Hirono came to town. Full story

Bustos Returns Fire as Taste of America Trash Talk Continues

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., has issued a call for bipartisanship in the Taste of America competition, even as she took a subtle dig at the portion size of a fellow Midwesterner’s dish of choice.

After Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, called out Bustos in a recent press release touting Iowa bacon, Bustos responded with a tweet that still managed to slip in a knock at bacon by adding the hashtag, “#itsatoppingnotameal.”

 

Braley issued a colorful statement on Monday about the competition, saying, “Look, I like a good casserole as much as the next guy, and I have a great working relationship with my friend Cheri Bustos from Illinois — but a contest between deep dish pizza and Bacon is no contest at all — bacon wins running away.”

Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 12:35 p.m.
FightingWords, Food

Gabby Giffords Throwing the First Pitch at Congressional Women’s Softball Game

Gabby Giffords Throwing the First Pitch at Congressional Womens Softball Game

Giffords, seen here in 2013, visits Washington infrequently. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game Wednesday night.

Giffords left Congress in 2011, after she was shot during a gun rampage at an event in her district.

Her appearances in Washington are infrequent, and always spark emotion from lawmakers in both parties. She is close with the co-captains of the members’ team, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and she once played on the bipartisan team.

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Meet the Women Who Could Change the Softball Game

Meet the Women Who Could Change the Softball Game

2013 warmups with Donna Edwards, left, and Kirsten Gillibrand. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s that time of year again.

Trash talk is escalating, just as several dozen women are wrapping up early morning practices. Fangirls are making necessary arrangements.

It is all because the Congressional Women’s Softball Game is Wednesday night.

The annual event pits female members of Congress against the women of the Washington press corps, and it benefits the Young Survival Coalition, a breast cancer charity that aids women under 40 who are fighting breast cancer.

We hear, courtesy of two different press spying accounts, that members are looking strong at the plate during practice. 

“The members looked ready to go,” Bad News Babe/CNN political writer Leigh Ann Caldwell said of a recent reconnaissance mission of Team Congress’ practice. “Their batting was fierce, and their pitching was the strongest I’ve seen it.”

“It’s a good thing the press team has improved as well, or I would be scared,” Caldwell added. “We are going to have to play at our highest level this year to ensure we continue our winning streak.”

Get your tickets here(And don’t forget to fill out your Fantasy Softball brackets!)

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