Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 2, 2015

June 29, 2014

Thad Cochran Riding High | Capitol Quip

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Sen. Thad Cochran overcame the odds to win a GOP primary runoff in Mississippi against tea-party-aligned Chris McDaniel last week, dashing hopes that insurgents could knock off the establishment appropriator and proud procurer of pork for his state. That brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

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

Let The Good Times Roll With Ted Nugent | Capitol Quip

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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

Roll Call Engagements: Assad Akhter, Saira Hussain

And they said it couldn't be done--Assad Akhter proposes to Saira Hussain at the Jefferson while longtime Capitol Hill photographer David Sims get the shot | Photo courtesy David Sims

Akhter proposes to Hussain at the Jefferson Memorial. (Courtesy David Sims)

Assad Akhter planned his proposal before he ever even met the girl of his dreams. He just never thought he’d be able to pull it off.

He knew from the moment he interned in Washington as a college student that “one day I would propose at the Jefferson Memorial.” Soon after coming to work on the Hill as a staff assistant for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Akhter met David Sims, a photographer he decided would be the one to capture the moment. Sims at the time worked for then-Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y.

Akhter bided his time until he met the right woman, who turned out to be  Saira Hussain, assistant vice president and counsel at BNP Paribas in New York City. The two had met at a legal event Hussain helped organize in Manhattan. Akhter found an excuse to introduce himself after meandering around in “semi-awkward conversation” at the back of the room.

“She had actually seen me speak at a networking event in the city a year earlier, thinking this would have left her impressed, I asked her what she thought of my performance. … Her response was polite but made clear that she was not exactly blown away by what she had heard,” he said.

Akhter persisted, and the two began dating. Soon after, his plan for the proposal started to take hold.

Akhter, now deputy chief of staff to Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey, needed to get his girlfriend to the memorial.

“I knew she would be less than pleased if I had this moment immortalized while she wore the usual outfit of most memorial visitors: t-shirt and jeans. So I devised a plan whereby I told her that a very good friend of mine was having his wedding in DC and that I was in the wedding party and they were actually taking the pre-wedding photographs at the Jefferson Memorial, thus ensuring an excuse for needing to be there and dressed formally,” Akhter told Heard on the Hill.

It worked. On April 12, while the two were on their supposed stroll for fictional wedding photos, he got down on one knee and proposed.

Sims snapped these pictures, and Hussain said yes. A wedding is planned for this year.

 

Akhter, deputy chief of staff to Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., is engaged to Saira Hussain, Asst. VP and Counsel at BNP Paribus

Akhter and Hussain. (Courtesy David Sims)

Photo courtesy David Sims

(Courtesy David Sims)

 

Want to tell us about an engagement or wedding? Fill out our easy form.

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 7 a.m.
Weddings

June 27, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of June 23 (Video)

While members counted votes and confused reporters in their final week before the July Fourth recess, John A. Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell sang to overcome the odds.

Stealing Hearts While Stealing Second Base

What better way to spend your last day of school than running around a Major League Baseball stadium?

Matijs Lobato was able to spend his first night of summer vacation on the field at Nationals Park during the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on Wednesday. He participated in a between-innings race to steal second base.

The 8-year-old boy also finished up his last day of second grade at Forestville Elementary School in Great Falls, Va., before taking to the field in front of scores of fans. Full story

Harry Reid Would Rather Watch Tennis Than the NFL

Reid, pictured here with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, says he prefers baseball to the NFL. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reid, pictured here with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, says he prefers baseball to the NFL. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Maybe Dan Synder isn’t worried about Harry Reid because professional football is not the Nevada Democrat’s favorite sport.

In fact, Reid says he would rather watch tennis than the NFL.

Reid has been among the most vocal in calling for the Washington Redskins to change the name of the franchise, saying that he would not attend another game until the team changes its name.

Full story

HOH Condolences for Fellow Gossip Columnist Diana McLellan, AKA ‘The Ear’

 

(Jason DIck/CQ Roll Call)

(Jason DIck/CQ Roll Call)

HOH was saddened to learn of the death of a fellow traveller, Diana McLellan, aka “The Ear.”

McLellan worked at the Washington Star, Washington Post and the Washington Times before hanging up the gossip gig. According to the Washington Post’s Adam Bernstein, her column “became a puckish, first-read chronicle of social news and intrigue in the 1970s and ’80s.”

Reading over my own copy of “Ear on Washington,” a collection from her Post columns published in 1982, McLellan’s prose still rings pretty fresh:

“You must not imagine that Washington manners are like manners anywhere else in the world.

“In other capitals, you can content yourself upon meeting your sparkling new circle of friends with a simple, ‘How do you do?’ Then you’re on your own. You must gauge your new acquaintance via a series of elaborate computations: humor, accent, clothing, grammar, jewelry, fingernails, shoes, haircut, tie pattern, sock length, allusions, wallet and interests will combine to give you a general picture: would you like to know this person better?

“In Washington, it’s much easier. The salutation is not ‘How do you do?’ It is ‘What do you do?’

“Foreigners are embarrassed by this. They make up funny answers: ‘I am an anchovy curler at the British Embassy’ ‘I am the Vice-President’s taster.’ ‘I stick the little worm in bottles of Mexican booze.’

“Washington is not amused. It cares deeply what you do. That is how it knows whether or not it wants to know you better.”

She’ll be missed.

June 26, 2014

Queen Silvia of Sweden, EDM DJ Tiësto Here to Protect the Kids

The queen of Sweden is in town advocating global child protection initiatives as part of her World Child Foundation, and was the headliner at a Thursday lunch at the Swedish Embassy just hours before another of her initiatives kicked off a music festival featuring electronic dance figure Tiësto.

“It is something we owe each other as human beings,” Queen Silvia said of protecting kids, in front of a crowd of stakeholders at the House of Sweden in Georgetown.

Advocates for child protection in both the private and public sector, including Carolyn Miles, president of Save the Children, as well as Susan Bissell, chief of UNICEF’s Child Protection Unit, attended the lunch.

WCF has raised over $80 million for more than 600 projects that protect and aid children experiencing abuse and exploitation, according to the organization. “Regardless of our individual roles, focus areas or expertise, we are all working toward the common objective of protecting the most vulnerable among us — the children,” Swedish Ambassador  Björn Lyrvall said.

Full story

Utah Cherry Cobbler Wins Roll Call Taste of America for Second Time

One cobbler to rule them all. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One cobbler to rule them all. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Utah’s cherry cobbler beat out seven other regional comfort foods in the final round of Roll Call’s Taste of America, becoming the only previous champion to regain the title.

Utah’s fruit-and-starch concoction, which won in 2012, beat out Oregon’s blackberry pie, Iowa bacon, Illinois deep dish pizza, Maine’s lobster roll, Maryland crab cakes, Kentucky fried chicken and North Carolina barbecue.

Team Utah stormed the Taste of America beach. And ruled. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Team Utah stormed the Taste of America beach. And ruled. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Previous winners include West Virginia pepperoni rolls in 2013, Utah cherry cobbler in 2012 and Northern Mariana Islands apigigi, from 2011.

Maine seemed to have the inside track and was early favorite, but sugar won out over protein for culinary dominance in America. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, reacted with disappointment, yet class.

“My sincere congratulations to Utah on cherry cobbler’s culinary victory in the Taste of America Competition.  For the sake of a united country, I will not demand a recount, though I couldn’t be prouder of the Maine lobster roll’s performance in this contest. In tribute, I’ll be enjoying one as soon as I get back home,” she said in a statement.

Democrats Dominate Congressional Baseball Game Once Again (Video)

Democrats' coach Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., holds up the trophy as the rain begins to fall after his team won the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Stadium in Washington on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mike Doyle holds up the trophy as the rain begins to fall after his team won the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For the sixth straight year, Democrats proudly hoisted the coveted Roll Call trophy at Nationals Park — before running for cover from the rain.

But the ensuing thunderstorm did not dampen the Democrats’ spirits after beating their Republican colleagues in the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game by a final score of 15-6. The game’s most valuable players were Reps. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., and Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

“That’s pretty special,” Manager Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania said about the Democrats’ sixth straight victory. “It feels good and it’s one of those streaks you don’t want to end but you know it will someday. So we’re trying to enjoy it while it’s happening.”

Full story

Democrats Win Sixth Straight Congressional Baseball Game (Video)

The congressional Democrats’ baseball team secured a sixth straight victory on Wednesday night at Nationals Park, winning the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game by a score of 15-6 and securing a second straight coveted Roll Call trophy.

At a members’ reception after the game, Rep. Raul Ruiz of California secured the MVP honor for the victorious Democrats and Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas won the GOP’s MVP.

Ruiz posted impressive offensive numbers — hitting two doubles in the Democrats’ eight-run fifth inning — and showing impressive defensive skills at second base. Brady, a previous MVP during a more successful baseball era for the Republicans, showed off his offensive skills at the plate, securing two hits off of Democratic ace Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana.

 

June 25, 2014

Vote for Your Favorite Happy Republican Marriage Quip | Capitol Quip

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The 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, June 26.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Business in the front, (Tea) Party in the back.
  • Hey!!! Who stole my steering wheel?
  • Just because they are along for the ride doesn’t mean I have to get in bed with them.
  • Another shotgun wedding on Capitol Hill.
  • Ok, ok, I’ll blast some Ted Nugent tunes!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on June 29 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 3:58 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Democratic Shortstop Injured on Game Day

Huffman, on the Disabled List. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Huffman, on the disabled list. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., who was slated to play shortstop for the Democrats in tonight’s 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, will have to watch from the sidelines this year.

Huffman injured his shoulder during the team’s  practice Wednesday morning. This would have been the second game for Huffman, who was elected to the House in 2012. And although he is disappointed he won’t be playing this year, he is confident his Democratic teammates will prevail.

“The good news is we have great depth on this team and we’re not going miss a beat,” Huffman told Roll Call in a phone interview. “I’m going to enjoy being a lightly medicated spectator and cheering for my team. And I’m confident that we’re going to be very strong” Full story

Congressmen Cover Prince, Battle Over ‘Purple Rain,’ ‘Raspberry Beret’

Two congressmen took to Twitter to show off their musical chops, commemorating “Purple Rain,” Prince’s top-charting, critically acclaimed sixth album that turned 30 years old on Wednesday.

First up was Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. Also from Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, Ellison posted a 6-second Vine of himself from his office performing “Purple Rain,” acoustic guitar and all. Ellison tweeted his disbelief in the album’s age and added the hashtag, “#Purplerain.”

In response to Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., tweeted his Prince performance for “Raspberry Beret,” Prince’s first single off his 1985 album “Around The World in a Day.” Also with acoustic guitar, Crowley crooned the verse: “She wore a raspberry beret/The kind you find in a secondhand store.”

How do their covers stack up to Prince’s original versions? Which congressman’s take on Prince is the best? Will any other members of Congress step up to the plate to show off their favorite Prince song? Let us know in the comments section.

 

John Lewis Wows ‘Em on Broadway

 

Courtesy the Office of Rep. Steve Israel

Lewis, center, entranced the cast of “All the Way” with his tales of the civil rights movement after a performance of the play. (Courtesy the Office of Rep. Steve Israel)

 

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., dazzled the cast of the Broadway play “All The Way”  this past Sunday, according to New York Congressman/Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman/novelist Steve Israel.

“All The Way” is a play about President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s muscling through Civil Rights legislation amid the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

It’s a subject that Lewis knows well. At the time, Lewis was one of the founding activists of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Full story

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