Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 1, 2015

February 3, 2014

Capitol Complex Crawling With Critters

First there was Capitol Hill Fox. Then a snowy owl swooped into town.

Now, Capitol possum has come out to play.

Capitol Complex Crawling With Critters

(Courtesy Kevin Barta)

A Twitter spy snapped a pic over the weekend of the white-faced marsupial strolling around the unseasonably warm grounds.

No word on whether the possum and fox may be in league together. But HOH can’t help but wonder what would happen if the two did decide to engage in an all-out turf war.

We already know how CHF treats unsuspecting squirrels.

But, as we’ve gleaned from YouTube, possums do not automatically back down — be their assailants covered in slobber or hot pink vestiments:

Here’s hoping all our feral friends can reach a power-sharing agreement sans unnecessary bloodshed.

Funny Ladies Get Serious About Women’s Rights

Her irreverent “State of the Uterus” address may be in the rearview, but satirist Lizz Winstead is already looking forward to stirring the electoral pot this fall. And she’s got a posse of high profile pals coming along for the ride.

The co-creator of the “Daily Show” most recently yukked it up by having a felt replica of the female reproductive system give conservative lawmakers a thorough tongue lashing for attempting to impose their religious views on women. Her twist on the president’s annual State of the Union speech was the opening salvo in a battle that’s meant to rage on through the upcoming midterm elections.

Having laid the initial groundwork for the “V to Shining V” campaign, Winstead said she intends to turn the Lady Parts Justice portal into an interactive map of places where women’s rights are being threatened by spotlighting eyebrow-raising rulemaking happening in statehouses across the country. Full story

Richard Simmons Will Not Run for Waxman Seat

Not that he was on anyone’s radar in the first place, but fitness guru (and Roll Call favorite) Richard Simmons will not run for Rep. Henry A. Waxman’s west Los Angeles-based House seat.

Responding to a query tweet from this reporter, Simmons wrote back, “I think not lol.”

 

Simmons’ fitness studio, Slimmons, is based in Beverly Hills. Simmons is somewhat active in politics. In the past he has testified on Capitol Hill on childhood obesity and he was a source of hope for discouraged members and staffers during October’s shutdown.

Our loss.

February 2, 2014

Obama’s Olympic Effort | Capitol Quip

 Obamas Olympic Effort | Capitol Quip

What happens when you decide to go it alone, without Congress? President Barack Obama will soon find out, but there’s no reason not to make a few predictions with 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

The Tide Has Turned | Capitol Quip

The Tide Has Turned | 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

January 31, 2014

Veggie Caucus Ready to Rock Meat-Free Week

During most of the year, members of the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association must scrounge around for the few, non-animal-born scraps dining purveyors such as Capitol Hill contractor Restaurant Associates sparingly — and sometimes, begrudgingly — dish out to diet-conscious staffers.

Not this week.

D.C.’s fourth annual Meat-Free promotion is taking place from Feb. 3 through Feb. 10. The District-wide celebration of “green” living features daily eating, drinking and networking events for those who adhere to a plant-based lifestyle.

The festivities include: Full story

Angus King Dashes Hopes to QB for Dan Snyder

Angus King Dashes Hopes to QB for Dan Snyder

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Angus King is no Robert Griffin III, and he concedes that backing an effort to strip the NFL of its tax-exempt status will not help that.

“I’ve always wanted to be the quarterback of the Redskins, and this may be the end of that,” King said. “So, there’s high stakes for me.”

King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with the Democrats, has signed on to a bill introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would remove the tax status enjoyed by some professional sports organizations, including the NFL and the PGA.

Full story

Chabot, Holtz Huddle at GOP Retreat

Leave it to Speaker John A. Boehner to bring fellow Ohio Republican Steve Chabot face to face with his past.

Boehner tapped College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz to motivate House Republicans during the group’s retreat in Cambridge, Md. — a pep talk which included a throwback pic of a mutton-chopped Chabot being courted by the then-third-year coach to play ball at the College of William & Mary.

Chabot, Holtz Huddle at GOP Retreat

(Courtesy Team Chabot)

Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Jan. 27

After a week off, Congressional Hits and Misses returns with Burger King, Lady Gaga and baseball’s newest historian, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

January 30, 2014

Jim Webb’s Moment in the Letterman Spotlight

Our #WGDB blog pulled a Throwback Thursday by taking a look at ex-Sen. Jim Webb’s 2007 response to George W. Bush’s State of the Union.

HOH had no desire to be left out of the equation, so we dug up the Virginia Democrat’s 2008 appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Our favorite part? It has to be about his Marine buddy from Vietnam who became his 2006 campaign driver and adviser, a guy who lost most of his arm in combat and had a tattoo inked that said “cut on dotted line.” Oh, and he drank at lunch. Priceless. More senators like this please!

By Jason Dick Posted at 5:54 p.m.
media, Sens, TV Land

January 29, 2014

Five SOTU Captions to Choose From | Capitol Quip

Five SOTU Captions to Choose From | Capitol Quip

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.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Remember when he used to just walk on water?!?!?
  • We, men of Congress speak unto thee: A primary challenge awaits any who walk this parted, middle path.
  • This will never come out of the carpet.
  • And they say WE’RE dividing the country!
  • The middle is a lonely road.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Feb. 2 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 Jason Dick Posted at 6:19 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Washington, Colorado Delegations Go Big on Super Bowl Bet

House lawmakers with ties to the championship-seeking teams — the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks — scheduled to duke it out for world dominance Sunday during Super Bowl XLVIII, have raised the stakes by wagering some curious comestibles.

Along with all the obligatory sweets and regional produce, several pols have put genuinely adventurous dining experiences on the table.

Should the Broncos falter, Rep. Cory Gardner, D-Colo., is prepared to treat his counterparts from the Evergreen State to a hearty helping of Rocky Mountain oysters.

Deep-fried bull testicles are the “surprise” specialty locals love to foist upon unsuspecting visitors.

(Ballsy move, sir.)

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., appears determined to light a fire in the competition’s belly, offering up a sample of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey (a decade-old distillery dedicated to producing small batch spirits) along with “tamales” of unspecified origin.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., would be willing to part with boxes of select Celestial Seasonings Tea.

Mind you, a sore loser might be tempted to slip the victors a box of senna-laced “LaxaTea”… Full story

Republicans Flock to Duck Dynasty Star

While Democrats were busy staking out POTUS-accessible aisle seats hours ahead of Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, Republican lawmakers had plenty of time to mix and mingle with those on hand for the political spectacle.

Who did GOP solons overwhelmingly seek out and exuberantly squeal about meeting all over social media?

“Duck Dynasty” scion Willie Robertson, ‘natch.

 

 

The reality TV personality attended the annual address as a guest of Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., the freshman lawmaker Robertson helped get elected to Congress last fall.

But McAllister was far from the only pol that piled into photographs with the star-spangled-bandana wearing, untucked-shirt-sporting outdoorsman. Full story

Ed Perlmutter’s Cap Captivates | Madisonville

Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter used the House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday to draw attention to his Denver Broncos cap.

He left the hearing room and ostentatiously walked back in. The cap was unmissable, not just because it was bright orange but also because it swallowed up Perlmutter’s head.

He took the cap off, made sure to lay it visibly on his desk, then put it back on. Perlmutter doesn’t overwhelm with his physical presence, but he seemed to be managing an extra inch or two of height to make sure all the cameras would notice.  When his five minutes of question time arrived, Perlmutter slid into the conveniently vacated ranking member’s chair, orange cap donned. Then it was doffed and perched over the front of his desk.

If Peyton Manning can move the ball half as far as Perlmutter moved that Broncos cap, Denver will do well in this weekend’s Super Bowl.  Full story

‘Hi, My Name Is ___!’ — Hard to Forget Freshman Names

On Capitol Hill, name recognition is the ultimate cachet.

Just ask the anonymous members who diligently toil away only to be written off by reporters as “backbenchers,” members of the “rank and file” or the quietly maneuvering “Obscure Caucus.”

That’s likely never been a problem for the handful of standout lawmakers who joined the ranks of the Fortney “Pete” Starks and Arlen Specters of the world by adding their distinctive monikers to the congressional rolls last year.

Not that sporting a unique forename guarantees every visitor will absolutely nail it when they come a-calling.

It’s a Family Affair

Rep. Markwayne Mullin is accustomed to sticking out in a crowd. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Oklahoma Republican said his name pays tribute to two dear family members — a duo who has, over time, repaid the favor in kind.

“My father was the youngest boy of eight children and he had two brothers who did not have any sons. And since I was the youngest of seven in my family, I was named after both of them: Mark and Wayne,” Mullin said of the compound ID.

The honorary mashup earned him some extra attention every year.

“In my large family, Christmas was the occasion we gave most of our gifts. I grew up on a working farm, so birthdays were just another work day,” he said. “But my uncles … would always make me feel special and give me gifts on my birthday.”

Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., said his name isn’t rooted in history so much as planted in his parents’ hearts. According to his staff, the McAllisters initially anticipated having a girl, so they settled on the name “Vanessa” for their little one. Once they learned a man-child was on its way, they clipped Vanessa down to Vance.

According to Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, his name is quite common — at least across the pond. Full story

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