Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 27, 2015

September 15, 2014

Rock On, Rockland

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine – It may be a small town, but Rockland’s got a lot going for it.

The Maine Lobster Festival drives droves of shellfish lovers to the shores of the Penobscot Bay each August, the plastic bib-draped masses assembling to honor (and devour) the region’s claim to fame.

Bumping into newsmakers is evidently not uncommon. One New Yorker, who relocated to the area with his wife after their youngest flew the coop, said he catches sight of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. from time to time in neighboring St. George.

“He’s totally normal up here. Doesn’t like anyone to call him judge,” the Empire State expat said of his dealings with the summering Supreme Courter.

Natives, it would seem, have very specific tastes when it comes to conducting their day-to-day affairs.

Core concerns include keeping:

Activities al fresco (topless freecycling, anyone?)

 

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Full story

September 14, 2014

Congress, Bringing Up the Rear on ISIS | Capitol Quip

Congress, Bringing Up the Rear on ISIS | Capitol Quip

Congress seems to be unified that President Barack Obama needs to do something about the situation in Iraq and Syria. What that is, is a little less clear — given the muddled message from members. This 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 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Eric Cantor, at a Loss | Capitol Quip

Eric Cantor, at a Loss | 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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Mark Sanford Surprised Maria Belen Chapur With Facebook Post; She Blames Politics For Breakup

Mark Sanford Surprised Maria Belen Chapur With Facebook Post; She Blames Politics For Breakup

Chapur and Sanford in happier times. (Courtesy CNN)

Mark Sanford asked fiancee Maria Belen Chapur to wait two more years for a wedding. She said no — and Sanford then surprised her by writing that epic, now infamous Facebook post announcing the breakup and blaming the split on an ugly custody battle with his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford.

Chapur told The New York Times in an interview from Paris — where she had just spent a week with Sanford — that the South Carolina Republican wanted her to wait two more years for a wedding, an offer she rejected.

“I’ve already been five years waiting and two years since the engagement,” she said, when asking why she wrote to Sanford and rejected his offer of waiting two more years as a girlfriend before matrimony.

She told the paper she thinks the request by Sanford to wait two more years had more to do with his political ambitions than with his custody dispute, though in two years the custody dispute would be moot.

“I think that I was not useful to him anymore — he made the engagement thing four months before the elections,” Chapur told the Times. “So this is not about his son, this is about his career and his ambitions,” she said, even as she called Sanford “the love of my life.”

Full story

By Steven T. Dennis Posted at 10:12 a.m.
Uncategorized

September 12, 2014

Bill Maher Names Flip a District Pick

Bill Maher Names Flip a District Pick

Kline is the target of Bill Maher’s Flip a District effort. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 3:44 p.m. | From now until Election Day, comedian Bill Maher has made it his mission to ensure Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., does not come back to Congress.

On Friday evening, Maher announced Kline as the target of his Flip a District campaign after the six-term Republican garnered the most votes from viewers during a live taping of his HBO program, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C.

“I know what you’re thinking: You never heard of John Kline,”  said Maher, who added Kline is “one of those silent threats you never see coming … He’s not funny. He’s just wrong about everything.” Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 10:46 p.m.
FightingWords, Reps

The Mark Sanford Breakup Mixtape

Nobody likes a breakup. So when the Roll Call newsroom caught wind of South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford’s 2,346-word Facebook post announcing his breakup with fiancée Maria Belén Chapur as the result of an ongoing custody battle with his ex-wife, we wanted to help.

Here’s a Spotify playlist that Rep. Sanford can drown his sorrows with while he eats his Ben and Jerry’s.

 

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Mark Sanford Calls Off Engagement in Epic Facebook Post

Mark Sanford Calls Off Engagement in Epic Facebook Post

Sanford broke the news on Facebook. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In an epic Facebook post, Rep. Mark Sanford announced he is calling off his engagement with Maria Belén Chapur because of the stress of an ongoing custody dispute with his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford.

The South Carolina Republican famously left the state as governor for a secret tryst with Chapur while claiming he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. When he was caught, the incident interrupted an ascendant political career and ended his marriage before he made a comeback.

In the 2,346-word Facebook post, Sanford details the stress of his ongoing custody disputes with his ex-wife, including a new suit seeking to limit his access to one of his sons — something Sanford said he already doesn’t have because she has full custody and has been limiting his access already.

“I cannot do this anymore,” he says at one point. Here’s a key passage:

“In their summons I am ‘restrained’ from the following:

“Consuming or being under the influence of illegal drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol in the presence, or while responsible for, the care of the minor child.” This really is crazy. Why would one throw out the need for restraint if it were not a problem – or if one did not want to raise the specter of a problem? On this one all I can ask is that you talk to anyone who has seen or known me over my entire 54 years in the Low Country. I have never taken any illegal drug in my life. I did not drink in high school or college and though I do drink now, my consumption is so limited that my friends give me a hard time about it. I will have but one beer or two when out at a social occasion.

“Restrained from entering or attempting to enter the property of Plaintiff.” We have already been through this with the Super bowl and my taking our youngest son Blake home from a Super bowl party two years ago when his mom was out of town. I made the wrong call (though I thought the right call as a dad to be with him and not to just drop him off) and have never set foot on her property since then. I don’t know why this is being brought back up again.

“Exposing the minor child overnight to a member of the opposite sex not related by blood who could be reasonably construed as a paramour.” Though Jenny herself has certainly not lived up to this clause it is clearly aimed at me given near everyone knows about Belen and in that regard it seems designed to create intrigue where none exists. The younger boys have never spent a night housed under the same roof with Belen and with the exception of one night and a major conversation that lasted well into that night, the same holds true for the older boys. I was primarily motivated to do so by a love for the boys and wanting to go to great lengths to never again put them in an uncomfortable spot. I was also motivated by fear because there was very frequently a consequence in not being allowed to see the boys if I did something my former wife disliked.

No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter, and for this reason Belen and I have decided to call off the engagement. Maybe there will be another chapter when waters calm with Jenny, but at this point the environment is not conducive to building anything given no one would want to be caught in the middle of what’s now happening. Belen is a remarkably wonderful woman who I have always loved and I will be forever grateful for not only the many years we have known and loved each other, but the last six very tough ones wherein she has encouraged me and silently borne its tribulations with her ever warm and kind spirit.”

If the Palmetto State bachelor needs help completing the catharsis, maybe this Spotify playlist compiled by the Roll Call newsroom will help.

Related Stories:

Sanford Steps Out With Fiancee at CNN Party

Fantastic Sanford-Appalachian Trail Gala Timing

Mark Sanford, Baby He Was Born to Run

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of September 8 (Video)

After a five-week recess, members returned to discuss the “crisis with ISIS” and Dick Cheney while reminding C-SPAN viewers to “tweet, tweet, tweet.”

 

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Designer Flips Gillibrand Gaffe Into Local Fundraiser

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has provided some cover for colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who offended local residents by demeaning a suburban enclave that wasn’t quite to her liking, via a custom made T-shirt.

Designer Flips Gillibrand Gaffe Into Local Fundraiser

(Courtesy Mark Warner)

Gillibrand got called on the carpet after ARLnow.com founder Scott Brodbeck uncovered the less-than-flattering description she provided of Arlington, Va., in her new book, “Off The Sidelines.”

Warner wrapped his head around the conundrum and came up with a unique solution: novelty wear. He presented Gillibrand with the specially-ordered shirt and made light of the turf war on Twitter.

Whether the community at large is ready to forgive Gillibrand remains to be seen.

But T-shirt creator CustomInk is betting there’s enough civic pride floating around at the moment to turn this negative into a net positive.

The designer has launched a fundraising campaign putting copycat T-shirts up for grabs at $20 a pop. The goal is to raise approximately $1,000 (organizers are requesting an initial run of at least 50 orders), with the collected funds flowing through to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Full story

David McKinley Rolls Out Megabus Town Hall

Showing up for votes Monday is no big deal for Rep. David B. McKinley.

David McKinley Rolls Out Megabus Town Hall

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The West Virginia Republican had already planned on riding into town with a dozen or so local college students his office recruited to accompany him on his inaugural Megabus town hall.

For those who don’t know, McKinley is an ardent supporter of the discount carrier.

On this latest trip, which will depart Morgantown, W.Va. at 8 a.m., McKinley plans to chew the fat with a handful of preselected  travel companions plucked from the campuses of West Virginia University and Fairmont State University. “It’s going to be a pretty free-ranging discussion,” a McKinley aide told HOH about the roughly four-hour conversation that’s expected to unfold.

Per the aide, anything and everything is on the table, including jobs, health care or the swirling Syria/ISIS crisis.

Can’t find your bus pass?

Tweet a question (or 20) to #megabusMcKinleyTH once things get underway.

As McKinley is fond of pointing out, the bus is Wi-Fi enabled. So he won’t be able to say he was unreachable while on his way to work.

Related Story:

David McKinley Right at Home on Megabus

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Menendez Unexpectedly Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to Akaka

Menendez Unexpectedly Sings Happy Birthday to Akaka

Akaka, seen her getting a kiss from Rep. Loretta Sanchez, is feeling the love. The former senator celebrated his 90th birthday on Thursday. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Daniel K. Akaka got an unexpected birthday song on Thursday.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., had been trying to reach the Hawaii Democrat to wish him a happy 90th birthday. When Akaka returned the call, he was riding the Dirksen subway toward the Capitol along with New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.

Full story

September 11, 2014

Overheard: Martin Dempsey’s Eventful Week

Overheard: Martin Dempseys Eventful Week

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Every day is eventful. … Today Iraq, tomorrow Ebola.”

— Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin E. Dempsey, crossing the Senate basement on Thursday

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Jeff Flake, Martin Heinrich Spearhead New Reality Show

While the rest of us spent the August recess basking in the unseasonably cool temperatures that made summer in D.C. somewhat livable, Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., sneaked away to an uninhabited island in the South Pacific to find some common ground for a TV special dubbed, “Rival Survival.”

Jeff Flake, Martin Heinrich Spearhead New Reality Show

(Courtesy Discovery Communications)

The one-hour episode, which chronicles the political odd couple’s attempts to keep each other alive during a one-week stint on Eru, one of the unforgiving rocks that make up the Marshall Islands, is scheduled to air Oct. 29 at 10 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.

According to a Discovery Channel aide, the pols actually pitched the show to the cable network, citing a desire to prove that people in Washington can work together — particularly when push comes to shove.

“Both of us know just how frustrated people are with Washington right now. We can both attest that no one is more frustrated than those of us trying to get things done in this environment. We recognize how difficult it can be to cut through the partisanship,” the duo relayed in a joint statement. “So we decided to do something completely out of the ordinary and frankly a little extreme to show the world and our colleagues that even if you have serious differences, if you want to survive you have to work together. ” Full story

Republicans Bid Farewell to Bachmann … for Now

Republicans Bid Farewell to Bachmann ... for Now

Bachmann leaves Congress at the end of the year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Guess what, Nancy Pelosi? I’m not going anywhere,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., told the more than 100 people gathered at her private farewell event Wednesday evening.

Where exactly she is going is still a mystery. But Bachmann will be leaving the House at the end of the 113th Congress, having announced her retirement in May 2013. But on Wednesday night, a sense that the Minnesota Republican would not fade from public life permeated the tributes and discussions among the guests packed into the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill’s Eisenhower Room.

“It was wall to wall people,” one attendee told CQ Roll Call, who also said the guests enjoyed mini crab cakes and other finger foods and some drinks from the bar. The attendee spoke on the condition of anonymity because the event was closed to the press. Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 12:15 p.m.
Parties, Reps

Just Try to Ignore Dan Kildee’s Piercing Gaze

If Congress ever gets around to handing out superlatives, HOH stands ready to nominate Rep. Dan Kildee for Stare Down Champ.

Just Try to Ignore Dan Kildee’s Piercing Gaze

(Screenshot)

The rather mesmerizing shot the Michigan Democrat shared of himself via Instagram would almost lead us to believe he’s come under the tutelage of universally acclaimed Broadway star, “The Amazing Alexander.”

 

 

Or perhaps he’s borrowed a page from the most persuasive of pets, the indomitable Hypnotoad.

 

 

Either way, we can’t take our eyes off you, congressman.

 

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