Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 1, 2014

August 12, 2014

Roll Caller Throws #IceBucketChallenge to Wasserman Schultz

The friendly #IceBucketChallenge that’s got everyone on social media dousing themselves with cold water just got real: Roll Call Editor-in-Chief Christina Bellantoni has officially thrown down.

Our fearless leader self-soaked across the pond after being called out by pal, Dan Lavoie.

 

 

Bellantoni has now passed the baton to fellow newshounds Julie Mason, host of the P.O.T.U.S. Press Pool on SiriusXM radio and CNN correspondent Erin McPike.

The Bad News Babes vet also made sure to draw Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. — co-captain of the opposing squad in the annual congressional women’s softball game — into the mix.

“I have to keep our rivalry alive,” Bellantoni quipped.

Congresswoman, the clock is now ticking.

 

Related stories:

Politicians Increasingly Game for Ice Bucket Challenge (Video) 

Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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Politicians Increasingly Game for Ice Bucket Challenge (Video)

An infectious fundraising pitch has helped throw cold water on the notion that politicians today just don’t care about anything.

The social media-dominating “Ice Bucket Challenge,” a call to arms originally issued by Beverly, Massachusetts native and baseball star Pete Frates, has struck a chord with supporters ranging from sports team mascots to American political royalty.

Fans of Frates, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — the nerve-wracking malady better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — in spring 2012, have fallen in line behind an awareness raising effort that includes: 1) recording a video wherein ice cold water is dumped on one’s head, 2) contributing $100 to further ALS research (instead of taking the ice bath) and 3) nominating friends/family/acquaintances to do the same within 24 hours.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., appears to have been one of the earliest adopters of the shocking exercise (he got doused on June 30).

Full story

August 11, 2014

Hackers Jack GPO With Swedish Beats

Is it wrong that we kinda dug the risqué enhancement rogue computer programmers unleashed on the Federal Depository Library Program homepage late last week?

A tipster noticed a disturbance in the Government Printing Office-run force, a rump-shaking hiccup online watchdogs attributed to presumably Polish pranksters operating under the guise of “SoWa BeZ OkA.”

Another cyber-sleuth spotted a similar incursion — same digitized kitty, same Swedish pop soundtrack — executed against the Finnish government.

GPO spokesman Gary Somerset confirmed the FDLP site had been compromised, but assured HOH federal authorities were on it. Full story

‘Drunk History’ Extols Daniel Inouye’s War Record

He may be gone, but the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, is not forgotten. Not even by the routinely punchy raconteurs who spin their webs on Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.”

The alcohol-fueled civics lessons captured by the show, which has already been renewed for a third season, typically feature tipsy storytellers recounting the exploits of prominent socio-political figures.

For Tuesday’s episode — airing at 10 p.m. — “Drunk History” turns its non-bloodshot eye on the Aloha State.

The saga of Inouye’s nearly life-threatening charge into enemy fire during World War II is sandwiched between segments chronicling British Captain James Cook’s “discovery” of the Hawaiian Islands and the tale of surfing legend Eddie Aikau.

“My favorite part of the story … is that he is the inspiration for [President Barack] Obama,” show co-creator Jeremy Konner said of Inouye’s legacy.

Per Konner, actor Steven Yeun, who after four seasons on “The Walking Dead” must be used to squaring off against bitey antagonists, had to wrestle with an entirely different kind of predator by stepping into the Inouye role.

“She said she’s never seen more rattlesnakes on a set,” Konner said of the professional snake wrangler’s assessment of their mountain side-shoot. (Guess it wasn’t filmed in Hawaii, which does not have rattlesnakes.)

Luckily, Yeun took it all in stride.

‘Drunk History’ Extols Daniel Inouye’s War Record

(Courtesy Drunk History/Comedy Central)

“Turns out, he’s a super funny dude,” Konner said.

No word on what other pols might pop up in future episodes. But Konner strongly suggested we stay tuned.

“I promise you there will be a president involved,” he said. “And there will be stories that invoke D.C. and the government.”

‘To Be Takei’ Documentary Descends on Silver Spring

Whether gracing the silver screen (Mr. Sulu, you have the conn) or cracking wise from behind a touchscreen (Oh Myyy, that’s quite the universe of Facebook fans you’ve assembled), entertainer and political activist George Takei currently strives to live his life out loud.

But that wasn’t always the case.

‘To Be Takei’ Documentary Descends on Silver Spring

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The human rights champion would like to set the record straight about everything he’s experienced to date in the revealing documentary, “To Be Takei.”

Director Jennifer Kroot has been chronicling Takei’s incredible journey — a career trajectory that encompasses his breakthrough role as Hikaru Sulu on the original “Star Trek” as well as wildly successful forays into publishing, satellite radio (serving as guest announcer of the “Howard Stern Show”), social media and musical theater — for the past few years. The finished product, which will be released nationwide on Aug. 22, breezes into town next month for two special screenings (at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 4) at the AFI Silver Theatre (8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.). Full story

Tiffany McGuffee, Jordan Haverly Tie the Knot

Tiffany McGuffee, Jordan Haverly Tie the Knot

McGuffee and Haverly got married on Aug. 2. (Courtesy Bamber Photography)

Two Republican press secretaries have tied the knot: Tiffany McGuffee and Jordan Haverly were married on Aug. 2 at the Capitol Hill Club. Rev. Julian Bermudez officiated.

Haverly, 27, is the press secretary for Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois. McGuffee, 26, is the communications director for Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee, who attended the festivities.

Guests enjoyed cocktails and music by guitarist Rich Barry in the Eisenhower Room at the Capitol Hill Club, followed by dinner and dancing in the presidential dining room. The wedding cake had a “Kate Spade-inspired look,” and sat atop rose-gold sparkly table linens to match the bride’s rose-gold Kate Spade pumps.

Full story

August 8, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Mitch McConnell (Video)

With the August recess underway, Heard on the Hill is looking back at the best Hits and Misses moments you may have missed — or just need to watch again. This week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell focuses on nodding, smiling and clearing his throat.

David Waddell Logs Next Step in Trek to Washington

It’s been far too long since we’ve had a Gene Roddenberry acolyte railing against societal injustices on the House floor.

But that could all change this fall— assuming North Carolinians are willing to stun political prognosticators and transport long shot candidate David Waddell to Capitol Hill come November.

Waddell made national headlines earlier this year after jumping ship from the Indian Trail town council using Klingon.

Per the Charlotte Observer, the starry-eyed pol has since secured enough signatures to guarantee his spot as a write-in candidate in the upcoming midterm elections.

Our politics team has tagged incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan as one of the 10 most vulnerable senators in the current cycle, but it sounds like Waddell is well aware he’s light years away from a lock.

“I’m not going to tell you I’m starting to pack [for Washington],” Waddell told the Observer. “It’s a mission to get a message out.”

#flashbackfriday: Even Nixon Was Young Once

#flashbackfriday: Even Nixon Was Young Once

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the 40th anniversary of President Richard M. Nixon’s Aug. 9 resignation nears, the image of the 37th president is often one of a haggard, jowly chief executive, hanging by his fingernails as the world caves in on him. So it’s worth noting, as this photograph of the 1953 inaugural program shows, that Nixon, being sworn in as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice president, didn’t always look tired.

Related:

Rhetoric Overload, Four Decades After Nixon

#tbt: Richard Nixon Smiles! With Roll Call’s Mort Kondracke

Roll Call After Dark Book of the Week: ‘Watergate’ by Thomas Mallon

MTV Gives Props to Interior Department’s Instagram (Video)

MTV Gives Props to Interior Departments Instagram (Video)

(Melanie Zanona/CQ Roll Call)

MTV admirably took a break from showcasing teen moms and teen wolves to advertise the Instagram account belonging to the U.S. Interior Department. The only problem? The department was completely in the dark about the commercial, until HOH tipped them off.

“You saw our Instagram on a commercial? We are not running TV ads anywhere in the US to our knowledge. Do you have more info?” the Interior Department tweeted.

The brief commercial — which flashes serene nature shots plucked from Interior’s Instagram account while featuring a soothing, female voice — appears to have been created by MTV, since it ends with the station’s logo in the corner.

“Did you know the US Interior Department has an Instagram account?” the commercial begins. It continues: “So pretty, oh yea, right there, beautiful. Thanks America.”

MTV Gives Props to Interior Departments Instagram (Video)

(Melanie Zanona/CQ Roll Call)

MTV did not return a request for comment on when or why it started airing the commercial and whether there are more advertisements of this nature. (Could a riveting C-SPAN Instagram commercial be next?)

For their part, the Interior Department said it does not plan to make MTV stop the unauthorized use of their Instagram pictures. Although it is unclear how MTV would even benefit from the rather strange commercial, at least the advertisement may have garnered a few more followers for the department’s budding Instagram account.

“We have seen an uptick in followers over the last couple of weeks. In fact, we just passed 304,000 this morning,” said Tim Fullerton, the Interior Department’s digital strategy director. “But we attribute that more to the stunning summer photos we’ve been posting from America’s public lands than anything else.”

August 7, 2014

Cava Co-Founder Campaigns for School Meals Aid

Dimitri Moshovitis, co-founder and executive chef of the burgeoning Cava empire, has taken World Food Program USA’s school meals mission to heart — and he’d love to have other local toques lend a hand.

Cava Co Founder Campaigns for School Meals Aid

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“When I heard about this I was like, ‘Why doesn’t everybody do this?’” Moshovitis said following a cooking demonstration where he taught WFP USA board chairman Hunter Biden and his daughters, Maisy and Finnegan, how to whip up grilled chickpea burgers.

Per Biden, son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the group empowers struggling nations by combating hunger and promoting education.

“It’s truly transforming entire societies,” Biden said of WFP USA’s focus on food security. Full story

Overheard: Ed Perlmutter Lathers a Snowboard

“We aren’t afraid to try new things, and that has given us great traction.”

— Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., at a recent visit to Oz Snowboards in Wheat Ridge, Colo., where “the congressman lathered a board in Oz’s environmentally friendly tree-sap resin and an epoxy, layered it with carbon fiber and affixed the custom top sheet,” according to the Denver Post. Perlmutter was visiting as part of Tuesday’s Startup Day Across America.

#tbt: Richard Nixon Smiles! With Roll Call’s Mort Kondracke

#tbt: Richard Nixon Smiles! With Roll Calls Mort Kondracke

Nixon, left, with Kondracke. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Richard Nixon had a life after leaving the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974, and part of it can be glimpsed in this undated-but-most-definitely-post-1970s pic from the Roll Call archives with our own Morton M. Kondracke, former executive editor and current contributing editor. Not to look too much into it, but Nixon looks relaxed, smiling even.

By Jason Dick Posted at 11:05 a.m.
#tbt

Max Baucus Embraces 44’s Burger Diplomacy

Former solon turned Ambassador to China Max Baucus appears to have adopted a page from the administration’s guest dining manual, whisking a Democratic operative visiting the Far East directly to a Western-style kitchen.

Upon his arrival overseas, Obama 2012 campaign manager and former Baucus aide Jim Messina found himself at a good old burger joint — blue frog bar & grill — launched by native Montanan Bob Boyce.

 

 

Boyce, founder and CEO of the blue horizon hospitality group, launched the original blue frog in 2002 and has replicated the casual dining concept more than a half-dozen times during the past decade.

Per a 2012 article chronicling “The Great Burgers in Shanghai,” one of blue frog’s claims to fame is the towering Montana burger.

Full story

August 6, 2014

Overheard: Jared Polis Steps In It Back Home

“I stepped into a void and tried to move the issue forward. Next time we do this, it’ll be a people-powered initiative.”

— Rep. Jared Polis after facing an angry group of constituents in Boulder, Colo. The constituents were furious he cut a deal to hold off on anti-fracking ballot initiatives he had helped bankroll and which had more than 200,000 signatures to put on the November ballot, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

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