Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 22, 2014

July 11, 2014

Congress-edits Is Just the Latest to Keep Tabs on Pols’ Cyber Stumbles

Another day, another resource to expose the often clueless political operatives who foolishly tool around the Internet believing their subversive activities — be they illicit, shady or just plain dumb — will never come back to bite them in the arse.

It’s getting so that overzealous Hill staffers and campaign spin doctors can’t rewrite history without someone calling them out for flooding the online ether with lies, damned lies and, well, you know the rest.

Senate hopeful Mike McFadden, the Republican pick to challenge Minnesota Democrat Al Franken this fall, received a crash course in transparency after aides got caught tinkering with unflattering responses to a divisive TV spot. Full story

Sherrod Brown Touts LeBron’s Reunion with Cavs as Slam-Dunk — OVERHEARD

“Welcome home LeBron … We look forward to your contributions and leadership, on the court and off. And celebrating a championship wouldn’t hurt.”  — Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, celebrates LeBron James’ re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of July 7 (Video)

As members discuss Jesus and car brakes, Rep. Mike Simpson says members need to know when to “shut up.”

July 10, 2014

Getting to the Meat of the Matter in Texas

Getting to the Meat of the Matter in Texas

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

From the looks of things on social media, folks in the Lone Star State can’t quite figure out exactly what they should be stuffing their faces with.

Corpus Christi, Texas country station K-99 kicked off the caloric controversy earlier this week by endorsing a short, but still oddly redundant, rewriting of the food pyramid.

The extra beefy prescription seemed to be one only Dr. Atkins could love. Not to mention that the proposed categories somehow managed to be both over-broad and bizarrely exclusionary. Full story

July 9, 2014

Vote for Your Favorite Obama-Boehner World Cup Caption | Capitol Quip

Vote for Your Favorite Obama Boehner World Cup Caption | 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 on Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Sue me? I have Tim Howard as my defense attorney!
  • Congressman, you’re no Tim Howard.
  • Where were you when Brazil needed you?
  • No wonder we’ve been playing for 90 minutes without a single goal.
  • My Executive Order already counts this as a goal anyway.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on July 13 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 5:23 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Disgraced ‘Duke’ Cunningham Now a Free Man

Disgraced Duke Cunningham Now a Free Man

Cunningham, left, is now a free man. (CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

After eight years in prison and one year of post-prison monitoring, former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif., is now a free man.

According to local reports, a federal judge recently granted the disgraced congressman an early release from the monitoring, which was supposed to last for an additional two years. Cunningham resigned from office in 2005 and was sent to prison after pleading guilty to bribery, fraud and tax evasion.

The Vietnam veteran and former Navy pilot told U-T San Diego that he regretted how his conviction affected his family and friends.

“I would tell my constituents and my friends that I’m sorry for the actions I took,” Cunningham said. “There is not a day goes by that I don’t ask myself, how the hell did I do what I did? You get caught up in something.”

The 72-year-old former congressman reportedly lives in a scenic gated community in Arkansas.

Earl Blumenauer Takes the High Road in Response to Courtland Milloy Bike Column

Earl Blumenauer Takes the High Road in Response to Courtland Milloy Bike Column

Blumenauer in his Longworth office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

If you are a cyclist or a reader of the Washington Post Metro section, you might have read Post columnist Courtland Milloy’s latest, wherein he accuses those who ride bikes of being bullies and terrorists and implies that motorists would be justified in running cyclists down in the road.

“On Wednesday, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s Bike Ambassadors will ride to the NoMa Summer Screen viewing of ‘The Muppets’ ‘to hand out surprise goodies to people who biked.’ There’ll be kids and bikes and Muppets, as if Kermit is supposed to make us forget about the biker terrorists out to rule the road,” Milloy writes.

Sigh. WABA and others have responded with point-by-point rebuttals of Milloy’s nonsense and HOH’s first inclination was to answer with what we do best, which is pithiness and scorn. But firstly, we wanted to give Congress’ pre-eminent cyclist, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., a chance to respond. The man from Portland chose to, ahem, take the high road.

“Mr. Milloy should get out more. I’m happy to take him on a bike ride.”

Classy.

Another Bite of the Cleveland Apple

Carving up the Cleveland hospitality scene in anticipation of the 2016 GOP nominating convention has turned into quite the task. So much so, in fact, that we’re back with a second round of dining/drinking/carousing picks for those destined to head due west ahead of the next presidential election cycle.

During our initial foray into can’t miss eateries, Cleveland Magazine managing editor Kim Schneider shared insights into coveted seats, suburban retreats and dedicated suds slingers.

But man cannot live on steak and beer alone. (Can we?) Full story

Politics & Prose Gives Amazon the Business

The District’s highest profile independent bookstore is getting political once more, weighing in on the ongoing tug-of-war between online retailer Amazon and authors with some cheeky in-store signage.

“Hachette Titles: Usually ships in  … Oh, wait, just pick it up right now!” Team P&P touts in front of a display featuring the latest imprint to tangle with the one-click-and-a-drone-will-deliver-it-right-to-your-doorstep giant for control of the e-publishing revenue stream.

A secondary placard posted within the landing spot (5015 Connecticut Ave. NW) for rising/sitting/retired politicos with great stories to tell paraphrases from the commentary that prolific author and voracious reader James Patterson posted on his personal website earlier this spring about the troubling literary row. Full story

July 8, 2014

Chowing Down, Cleveland-Style

Now that the Republican National Committee has elected to give Cleveland a star turn come 2016, it’s time for political operatives (and reporters) to begin debating the only thing that really matters during nominating conventions: Where we all gonna eat?

Granted, some would-be pundits and cash-strapped hacks may wind up wandering no further than whatever media-sponsored hangout keeps the complimentary drinks flowing that summer.

But we here at HOH are all about exploring C-Town to the fullest. Full story

Jared Polis and Dan Maffei Welcome New Daughters

Jared Polis and Dan Maffei Welcome New Daughters

(Courtesy of Rep. Maffei)

 

For Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., the past Fourth of July weekend was remembered for more than fireworks and American flags. The dads each celebrated births of their daughters, skipping out on typical Independence Day festivities.

Rep. Maffei and wife Abby Davidson Maffei on July 4 announced the birth of Maya Elizabeth Maffei. Born July 3 at 6:23 a.m., Maya’s birthday is just one day before her father’s, with Rep. Maffei turning 46 this past Independence Day. Abby Davidson Maffei works for humanitarian organization CARE.

In a statement, Rep. Maffei and his wife announced that Maya — the couple’s first child — weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and was 20 inches long.

“Maya is the biggest little birthday present I could have ever dreamed of, and we are so delighted to welcome her into the world,” Rep. Maffei said in a statement.

Also during this past weekend, Jared Polis and his partner — writer Marlo Reis — welcomed daughter Cora Barucha into the world on July 4, posting to Facebook a picture of Cora donning a quilted American flag sweater. Cora weighed 9 pounds and

Jared Polis and Dan Maffei Welcome New Daughters

(Courtesy of office of Rep. Polis)

was 21 inches long.

Polis’ office confirmed Cora’s birth and Polis’ sister, Jordanna Schutz, explained the origins of Cora’s middle name on Facebook.

This is the couple’s second child. In 2011, Polis became the first openly gay parent in Congress after the birth of son Caspian Julius. As with that news, Polis has decided to keep the details of this birth tightly held.

Schutz said her great-great aunt, Kasha Barucha, fled to the United States from Russia in order to protect her family during the 1905 Russian revolution.

“Barucha means blessing,” Schutz posted to Facebook. “It is a good day to celebrate two blessings: my new niece, and the promise of ‘Inalienable Rights’ to ‘Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Boozy Treats, Sweaty Pits Await Rooftop Deck Caucus

On Thursday, Holland & Knight will once again play host to the “Rooftop Deck Caucus,” the informal nickname for the throng of fun-seeking congressional staffers who flood the lobbying firm’s sun-splashed offices each summer.

Boozy Treats, Sweaty Pits Await Rooftop Deck Caucus

(Courtesy Holland & Knight)

Public policy head Rich Gold — “and DJ,” he added — told HOH the come-as-you-are gathering (800 17th St. NW) began as an in-house shindig, but noted that it has since evolved into a widely attended opportunity to blow off some steam.

“It’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek event, to say the least,” he suggested. “It also tends to get hot and sweaty, given Washington in July.”

Skyrocketing temperatures or not, Gold said he’s noticed some crossover between the more member-friendly reception his group puts on in the Cannon Caucus Room and the open-air soiree — overlooking the White House, no less — happening this week.

“It has started to get out,” he said, estimating that around a dozen intrepid lawmakers have begun routinely mixing with the 300-odd partygoers that congregate on the roof each year.

Those willing to brave the humidity for this year’s 8th annual outing, which is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., are set to be rewarded with spirited “cocktail ice creams” and “adult” sno-cones, Baja-style fish tacos, mini crab cakes, the musical stylings of the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffett and “maybe even a photo booth.”

“Come party till you pass out. Something Washington doesn’t do nearly enough of,” Gold counseled.

July 7, 2014

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

According to CQ Roll Call alumnus and current Washington Examiner senior correspondent David M. Drucker, Sen. John McCain has over the past few years evolved into the “conscience of the Senate.”

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(Warren Rojas/ CQ Roll Call)

We’re in absolutely no position (sold our soul years ago) to argue whether the Arizona Republican is the moral center Capitol Hill needs or even deserves right now. But spotting the oft-recycled title did spark an interest in trying out other potential modern day superlatives.

Say hello to The FILL IN THE BLANK of the Senate:

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Keenly Tuned Id?

 

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Dynamic ego?

 

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Burgeoning superego?

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Simmering rage?

 

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Unflinching optimist?

 

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Awe-inspiring stick-to-itiveness?

 

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

Fleshing Out the Disposition of the Senate

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Palpable sense of relief?

Did we miss anyone?

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:59 p.m.
Freshman, media, Sens

Stan Lee and John Lewis: The Drawing of the Two

Some lawmakers enjoy being able to drop out of sight during recess. Others, such as critically acclaimed graphic novelist/Rep. John Lewis, find it much harder to disentangle from the swirling celebrity life.

Case in point: fans of the Georgia Democrat simply could not resist prodding him together with comics legend Stan Lee — you know, the guy who created all those spandex-clad superheroes that lord over movie screens every summer and has done cameos in many of the Marvel flicks — during a chance meeting in Las Vegas.

Stan Lee and John Lewis: The Drawing of the Two

(Courtesy Andrew Aydin)

“It was totally by accident, but as soon as they were near each other, people started pushing them together. I grabbed my phone as quick as I could and snapped the picture,” Andrew Aydin, congressional aide and co-author of “March,” the illustrated tale of Lewis’ Civil Rights Era activism, told HOH.

Per Aydin, it was the first time they had crossed paths with the nonagenarian wellspring from which the likes of Spiderman, the Hulk and the X-Men had flowed since officially joining the comic writing verse last summer.

“Neither of us had ever met him before,” Aydin said of the serendipitous encounter. A lifelong reader (“I gushed like a fanboy,” he admitted), Aydin was thrilled to hear Lee chatting with his boss about “March” and just generally soaked in the absolutely magical moment. Full story

Tim Krepp Embraces His Eyebrows in Bid for Congress

 

Tim Krepp Embraces His Eyebrows in Bid for Congress

Krepp is not shying away from his eyebrow powers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Tim Krepp, an independent hoping to challenge Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., is embracing his facial hair — the type above his eyes.

Tim Krepp Embraces His Eyebrows in Bid for Congress

Pate and son Jonah collect signatures for Krepp’s candidacy, with eyebrow-centric campaign wardrobe. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

At Eastern Market over the weekend, Krepp supporters gathering signatures for the Hill East denizen/veteran tour guide sported T-shirts emblazoned with “Tim Krepp Congress 2014.” A dialogue balloon above “Tim” features one of Krepp’s defining features, his caterpillar-like eyebrows. Another dialogue balloon under “2014″ states, “Seriously? Seriously!”

“We’ll see how far wit can take us,” signature-gatherer Brian Pate said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Pate’s name.

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