Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

July 22, 2014

Congressional Baseball Game Box Score Tells a Tale

Congressional Baseball Game Box Score Tells a Tale

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hot off the presses comes the box score for the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, which tells a tale of offensive firepower and creative defensive statistics, combined with an attendance of 8,503 at Nationals Park.

For those who attended the June 25 game to watch the Democrats’ 15-6 victory over the Republicans before the game was called due to rain in the seventh inning, the standout statistic might be that the Democrats’ runs came off of 11 hits, while the Republicans only managed those six runs off of nine hits.

Pitching was a key differential for the two squads. Democratic ace Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana pitched six frames, while four Republicans combined for six-and-one-third innings: Reps. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, John Shimkus of Illinois, and Patrick Meehan and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania.

Richmond walked only 3 batters, while the GOP walked 12 batters. That, combined with two errors from the GOP team, allowed a tough Democratic squad to capitalize and put the game out of reach.

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Richard Nixon: Cookbook Connoisseur, Fan of Sophie Leavitt’s ‘Penny Pincher’s Cook Book’

While the Washington Post is poised to revel in the 40th anniversary of its administration-toppling Watergate investigation, we here at HOH would prefer to reflect on the positive things President Richard Milhous Nixon brought to the table.

An appreciation of cheap eats, for one.

These days, no one thinks twice about having the White House weigh in on what’s on their plate because first lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to keep nutrition and healthful dining in the public consciousness. One could argue that Nixon helped plant the seed for sustaining a public discourse on maximizing hard earned food dollars by standing firmly behind author Sophie Leavitt’s “Penny Pincher’s Cook Book.”

Richard Nixon: Cookbook Connoisseur, Fan of Sophie Leavitts Penny Pinchers Cook Book

(CQ Roll Call)

The 1971 book — which this reporter just happened to stumble upon while poking around one of those “take a book, leave a book” bins in Old Town Alexandria — encourages would-be cooks not only to adopt frugality, but to embrace it as a source of inspiration. Full story

July 21, 2014

Chubbies’ Gadsden Flag Shorts Bare All for Freedom

Chubbies Gadsden Flag Shorts Bare All for Freedom

(Screenshot)

Just when you thought it was safe to wear shorts again, Chubbies — the uber-shortmaker of the fashion world — brings to you its Gadsden flag edition, a model of leg-baring boldness with its coiled snake and thigh-high “Don’t Tread on Me” motto.

“Don’t even think about treading on me. Ever,” the cheeky short-seller states in its description for prospective bro-tastic buyers, before adding, “If you do, these shorts will come at you like a coiled pit viper that just found out he can’t text his girlfriend because he lacks opposable thumbs.”

Within days, possibly hours, the “Sold Out” sign went up, undoubtedly as tea-party fashionistas got word and the weekend approached. CQ Roll Caller Scott Campbell, upon finding out of HOH’s interest in the libertine fashion statement, wanted to know, “Is HOH going to swagger-jack me?”

He was kidding, we think, because he went on to detail his long-time pining for the yellow item. “I’ve been wanting to buy those shorts for a long time. They’ve been sold out,” he said, noting, ” They’re comfortable shorts.”

Lucky for the Chubbies set, more are on the way, according to the company. “We’re working like crazy to make more of these bad boys. Find out when they’re back in-stock by signing up below,” the website states, inviting you to join its freedom-loving email list.

Take Five: Rep. Cheri Bustos

Take Five: Rep. Cheri Bustos

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.

This week, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., speaks about her career as a journalist at the Quad-City Times and growing up in the Land of Lincoln among politicians right at her kitchen table. A lightly edited transcript follows.

Q: You earned a master’s degree in journalism and worked as an investigative reporter in Illinois. What was it like?

A: I believe that every day, you could walk into the newsroom and you were in the position to make a difference. I’m a pretty competitive person. My goal every day was to make sure I was making a difference in the community but also to have the above-the-fold, banner story as many days as I possibly could.

Q: You grew up around politics. Your dad was a chief of staff to Sens. Paul Simon and Alan Dixon. What lessons did you pick up from being around politics at such an early age?

A: Sitting around our kitchen table from a very early age on, we talked politics and we talked policy. Never once can I ever remember my dad saying, “Go away, this is an adult conversation.” I could sit around and listen to these guys as long as I wanted to listen to them.

Q: You recently spent Mother’s Day in Afghanistan. What was your biggest takeaway from it?

The most moving part of it was to sit down with our American troops on Mother’s Day when they were away from their children. … If there’s something that has meant a lot to me during my short time here in Washington, it is getting to know a lot of veterans and those who serve to a level that I have a deeper understanding of the sacrifices they’ve given for the country and what their families have given.

Q: You were MVP of the 2013 Congressional Softball Game. How do you keep in shape?

A: I get up at 4:30 a.m. pretty much every morning during the week. I work out for an hour and a half. I do weights and I ride the bike, I run or I play tennis. It’s my release.

Q: You’re finishing your first term in Congress. What advice could you give to incoming freshmen?

A: Have great people around you because this is very much a team effort. If there’s any success that I’ve had, it is a direct reflection of the people I work with. We have a very smart team and an extremely hardworking team, both here in Washington and back in Illinois. We all understand why we’re here.

By Cady Zuvich Posted at 4:06 p.m.
TakeFive

July 20, 2014

Distractions Abound for Capitol Quip

Distractions Abound for Capitol Quip

Sometimes you have to take your medicine and go before Congress, like General Motors this past week. Until, of course, other events interfere and blow things a little off course. Which 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.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Sign of the Times For Capitol Quip

Sign of the Times For 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.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7 p.m.
Capitol Quip

July 18, 2014

FLOTUS Tweaks Congress Over School Lunch at Kids’ State Dinner

First Lady Michelle Obama’s battle for school lunch reform continued to heat up Friday as she urged a room full of kids and parents to become advocates for healthy lunch programs, despite “grownups’ ” attempts to block reform.

“And while the vast majority of the schools are doing just fine with these new standards, those few complaining voices happen to be the loudest voices and they’re getting the most attention right now,” the first lady said at the third annual Kids’ State Dinner, slamming Congress for “undoing some of the progress” made.

With 54 kid representatives from each state and territory attending the dinner after submitting winning recipes, Obama took the opportunity to center her remarks on school lunch, suggesting the voices of parents and children are necessary in the fight for healthy, nutritious lunches. A panel of judges — which included White House chef Sam Kass — picked the tastiest and healthiest recipes among the 1,500 submissions. Full story

Rep. Ruiz Assists Passenger During Flight Home

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., was called into action while flying home Thursday when a young woman a few rows in front of him began having a seizure.

A Ruiz spokesperson confirmed Friday that the former emergency room doctor did assist the woman on his flight. Ruiz checked to make sure her condition was not serious enough to warrant an emergency landing.

According to the Daily Caller, the woman Ruiz helped, Lisa De Pasquale, is a columnist for the conservative Breitbart News and Townhall websites. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee saw fit to send out an In Case You Missed It email with Betsy Rothstein’s DC story.

De Pasquale told HOH that she was “very grateful that Congressman Ruiz was there!” In an email, the scribe related that “I didn’t let on to how scared I was that I didn’t remember anything that happened before, during and immediately after the seizure. He sat and talked to me for the remainder of the flight. We talked about religion and books, and nothing about politics. It was great!”

This was not the first time Ruiz lent a hand during an in-flight medical emergency.

In October, Ruiz was headed to Texas when a passenger collapsed during the flight. Ruiz helped stabilize the passenger and, in that case, the passenger’s condition caused the plane to land in Raleigh, N.C.

Thursday’s incident occurred during the California Democrat’s typical flight home, which stops in Phoenix. Ruiz’s fellow House member, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was on the flight and witnessed Ruiz assisting the passenger.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Rep. Sinema’s party.

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of July 14 (Video)

As members discuss bathroom breaks, candy and The People’s Court, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., refuses to yield the Senate floor.

Mock Candidate Aims to Muck Up Kentucky Senate Race (Video)

Kentucky voters needn’t worry about hunting for Gil Fulbright’s name (at least that’s what it is this week) in voting booths come November. But they should get used to seeing his shit-eating grin over the next few months.

Mock Candidate Aims to Muck Up Kentucky Senate Race (Video)

(Screenshot)

Running the totally fake pol Fulbright (or Phillip MaMouf-Wifarts) is the latest stunt by anti-corruption advocates Represent.Us, the provocateurs behind last summer’s “stripping senator” show and the least appetizing power lunch in recorded history.

The advocacy group has, so far, raked in $30,000-plus to help crowbar Fulbright into the high-stakes standoff between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Full story

Grassley’s Sky Diving Advice

Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa has some advice for anyone pondering following the lead of former President George H.W. Bush and jumping out of an airplane.

The Republican senator is known for having one of the most fascinating Twitter feeds in Congress, whether he posts about his complaints of a lack of historical programming on the History Channel or hitting a deer while traveling in Iowa. Grassley even highlighted his use of Twitter in a 2010 campaign ad:

‘Al The Pal’ Could Get Air Force Facility Named After Him

Al The Pal Could Get Air Force Facility Named After Him

“Durbin the Pal” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Alan J. Dixon, the Illinois Democrat who died earlier this month, might have an Air Force facility at Scott AFB, a site near “Al the Pal’s” home of Belleville, Ill.

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois’ senior senator and chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, made sure the appropriations bill funding the Pentagon contained language providing the designation. Dixon, the chairman of the 1995 Base Closure and Realignment Commission, made transparency in the military’s decision-making process on the fate of its facilities one of his causes in his Senate career.

“His work to make sure Scott Air Force Base was given a critical mission in our nation’s defense has resulted in Scott becoming one of our nation’s premier Air Force assets,” Durbin said in a statement.

Pet Project Morphs Into Solon-Shaming ‘PolitiCat’

An anonymous online scold has begun a virtual game of cat and mouse with elected officials, awarding leaders willing to reach across party lines for the greater good with quirky honors while ripping those who just plain cross lines a new one.

Although a relative newcomer to the social mediasphere, “PolitiCat,” the nom de plume of the political science grad hoping to groom fellow would-be pundits, has set its sights on getting pols and voters to more carefully consider their actions.

“I aim to break into the consciousness of the general public, particularly younger people with regard to voter responsibility. I want to highlight the behavior of lawmakers and public figures, especially to ‘catch them being good’ vis a vis advancing bipartisanship,” PC asserted via email.

That outreach has, so far, not always resonated with intended allies (a la the Wichita, Kan., radio host who just didn’t “get” one muddled missive).

 

 

We, too, were a bit stumped by what seemed to be a nonsensical exchange with Rep. Patrick Murphy — until PC explained the open letter was actually a response to an earlier fundraising pitch from the Florida Democrat. Full story

July 17, 2014

Joe Manchin’s Penchant for Power Lunching

Joe Manchin’s Penchant for Power Lunching

What’s for lunch? Bipartisanship! (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If it’s hump day, budding coalition builder Sen. Joe Manchin III is probably breaking bread with members of his slowly widening circle of fellow comity seekers.

Aides to the West Virginia Democrat confirmed the self-styled troubleshooter has taken to gathering together colleagues for friendly visits, as often as the hectic congressional schedule permits.

“He likes to have bipartisan lunches,” Team Manchin told HOH, stressing that the semi-regular get-togethers — which appear to flow from a fairly fluid guest list — lean more toward informal discussions than issue-specific strategy sessions. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:23 p.m.
Freshman, HillSide, Sens

July 16, 2014

Courtney Stodden’s PETA Push Gets Tongues Wagging

Love her or despise her, Capitol Hill denizens were utterly captivated by having a nearly naked Courtney Stodden preach the virtues of a vegetarian lifestyle to them while shoving fake wieners in everyone’s mouths.

Courtney Stodden’s PETA Push Gets Tongues Wagging

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The platinum-tressed teen blew into town to draw eyeballs to the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals’ curbside veggie dog giveaway. The staff luncheon/exercise in political theater is meant to serve as a counterpunch to the meat lobby’s annual hot dog blowout.

According to PETA spokeswoman Moira Colley, the group rallied supporters to the cause by distributing around 600 not dogs — “They’re all soy protein and spices,” one cheerful volunteer said of the meatless analogues — to famished passersby. Full story

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