- Supreme Court Blocks Extension of Ohio Early Voting
- No Ruling on Kansas Democrats Picking Candidate
- Intruder Made It Deeper Into White House
- Senate Race in Kansas is a Toss Up
- Dead Heat for Massachusetts Governor
October 16, 2013
Of course the mainstream media fumed about the sickly babies denied medical care by the defunded National Institutes of Health, the single moms forcefully weaned off assistance by suddenly shuttered Women, Infants and Children program offices, and visiting combat veterans unable to pay their respects at national monuments deemed off-limits during the protracted government shutdown.
But is it possible us political hacks miss the forest for the trees?
Business watchdog Jillian Eugenios sure as heck didn’t.
The multitalented newshound — she’s currently juggling a web producing gig at the “TODAY” show, freelance writing and graduate studies at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism — decided to take a step back from the budget fight fray and think about who, other than those already swept up in the headline wars, might be taking it on the chin in the ideological squabble.
All the talk about national parks, naturally, planted a seed in her mind.
“I feel like a lot of attention was given to the tourists not being able to have the vacation they imagined, which is fair,” she said of the outcry the administrative hiatus evoked from the leisurely minded. “But I thought, what about the people who rely on those same tourist destinations as their livelihood?”
“The line separating the Democrats and the Republican establishment is fading — it might have disappeared today. This is about Washington insiders versus the rest of America now.”
— incensed about the looming budget deal, FreedomWorks stokes the tea party faithful by redrawing the battle lines
While many of his former colleagues were burning the midnight oil all week in hopes of saving the world economy from completing an anticipated death spiral, former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., has been living large in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Granted, he’s not been preoccupied with all the royal engagements he once claimed crowded his schedule — when he wasn’t tending to his floofy wittle friends, of course — but the Massachusetts Republican appears to be keeping busy during what seems to be a whirlwind tour of Japan.
According to his Twitter feed, the Japanese government specifically requested Brown make the globe-spanning trek so that he could huddle with “business, political, education and industry leaders.”
Brown has, at least so far, made the most of the experience, spending his time:
Beautiful day in Tokyo. Hit the gym, did a run while doing a recon of the area. At the Tokyo Skytree, then to a Sumo wrestling match.
Richard Simmons has a dream: to team up with first lady Michelle Obama and lead exercises on the White House lawn. But for now, that dream remains unrequited.
Simmons said in a pair of interviews with CQ Roll Call that the White House has rejected his overtures to help with the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” childhood anti-obesity initiative.
“I’ve tried to reach my hand out to President Obama and the first lady,” he said. “They have rejected me.”
“I was with childhood obesity long before any of them,” he added.
A number of emissaries, including House and Senate members, offered to connect Simmons with the White House, he said, with no success.
“I guess they think I’m too silly or they think I’m not their kind of person,” he said.
At the same time, he acknowledged that the presidency is a “hard job.” He offered specific praise for the president’s “absolutely amazing” efforts to turn around the economy. He is likewise impressed with the first lady’s White House garden.
“It’s just amazing,” he said. “Look at how many children the first lady has touched with the garden.”
As for his dream, he envisions an event on the White House lawn with an orchestra.
“The White House lawn only fits so many and when you think of the millions and millions who are overweight, it just takes takes your breath away,” he said. He went on to suggest that the event could be taped and posted on YouTube.
“So then everyone can do the exercises,” he said.
For now, Simmons continues his crusade against obesity with his workout studio, videos and motivational television appearances.
“You know, everyone can’t like you. I found that out in my life,” he said. “Everybody can’t like you or appreciate you. So you really have to focus on the ones who do.”
“We all feel hurt when we get rejected,” he added.
October 15, 2013
Fiscal ruin is imminent. Confidence in Congress is nearly nonexistent. And end game strategies are crashing and burning faster than anyone can Twitter-hate on them.
And our poor colleagues are desperately attempting to make sense of it all. (Granted, some more cavalierly than others.)
“It looks like a giant frown,” Mark Wellman, chief of staff to Rep. Steve Chabot, said of the gaping crack stretched across the front of a 65-gallon aquarium that inexplicably burst Monday, showering the Ohio Republican’s personal office in constantly aerated freshwater and shell-shocked sea life.
Chabot spokesman Adam Scheidler told HOH the pet-astrophe occurred around 2 p.m. Monday.
“They heard a big ‘whoosh’ and rushed in here to see what had happened,” Scheidler said of the two congressional aides who happened to be in the office when the tank glass suddenly fractured and gave way. Staff rushed to save as many of the floppy, gasping fishies as they could by dumping them into water-filled trash bins, but Scheidler calculates that 10 to 12 of the more than three dozen occupants of the original tank did not survive the transition to the new aquarium.
Per Scheidler, Chabot purchased that first tank for himself around last Christmas, getting his new hobby going with about a dozen tiny tenants. Full story
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is on crutches.
The Empire State’s junior senator caused a small frenzy on Monday when several reporters spied her coming out of votes in injured form.
Gillibrand emerges from Senate votes on crutches. Tells press scrum, “it’s a real hell of a story, but I’m not going to tell it to you.”
— Jessica Taylor (@JessicaTaylor) October 14, 2013
Such an awesome statement from Gillibrand was catnip to HOH and just about everyone else:
YOLO RT @ElaheIzadi: Gillibrand walks by on crutches, tells reporters it’s one hell of a story but she’s not going to tell us about it.”
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) October 14, 2013
Alas, her spokeswoman’s account is far less mysterious and exciting. Full story
Tortilla Coast is having some fun with its newfound national notoriety.
The Capitol Hill restaurant became the talk of the town overnight with Roll Call’s exclusive report that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and 15 to 20 House Republicans were spotted meeting in the Mexican restaurant’s basement Monday night.
By 6 a.m., Tortilla Coast was the topic of conversation at the “Morning Joe” roundtable and various monikers emerged on Twitter for the meeting (#TortillaCoastRebellion, The Tequila Rebellion and #TortillaCoastCaucus).
Here is the official T-Coast take on the madness:
I guess our secret lower level dining area is not so secret anymore
— Tortilla Coast (@tortillacoast) October 15, 2013
Democrat, Republican or other We’re open for lunch, dinner, happy hour and meetings (secret or otherwise).
— Tortilla Coast (@tortillacoast) October 15, 2013
“My political goals are not about me, not about publicity, but about serving the hard-working people of Virginia who deserve a representative who actually represents them, their values, their concerns and their needs,” reality TV personality Tareq Salahi assured voters in a campaign blast urging them to write him in — the “not so bad after all” alternative — for the upcoming governor’s race in Virginia.
Failing that, the infamous White House party crasher appears inclined to run for Congress next fall.
As Senate leaders race to hammer out a last-minute game plan on the budget ahead of Thursday’s debt limit deadline, all eyes are turning back to Speaker John A. Boehner.
And two weeks of trial and error have left CNN anchor Chris Cuomo wondering whether the Ohio Republican will be able to handle the legislative Hail Mary.
“Hopefully, you can get the work done, because as we know, it all comes down to WWBD. What will Boehner do when he gets this deal?” Cuomo warned gang of 12 members Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., on Tuesday during a discussion of the tenuous Senate deal. “If he can’t sell it to his caucus, it’s not going anywhere.”
The bipartisan duo expressed optimism that the developing package, which would theoretically reopen the government and the extend government borrowing authority ASAP while kicking the broader spending fight down the road a few months, is on the right track. But neither seemed pleased about all the roadblocks lawmakers have had to try to overcome every step of the way.
“It’s an embarrassment to me that we have spent all this time on a rabbit trail, leading us to where we are,” Corker said of the perilous journey. And it’s far from over. “There’s a lot of work that’s going to be done over the next two or three days. I don’t think it’s time to spike the football in the end zone yet,” he warned.
According to Heitkamp, the most important thing is that cooler heads have seemingly prevailed.
“Not to criticize anyone, but the adults have taken over,” she asserted.
October 13, 2013
Imagine, the government shutdown began over a fight against the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Republicans in both the House and Senate started out the fight in an effort to defund the law … which brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.
Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section of our Heard on the Hill blog. 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.
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.
October 12, 2013
Former Marine Ian Grinnals drove six hours from Syracuse, N.Y., to pick up trash on the National Mall as part of the “Fix Up DC” National Day of Service event on Saturday morning.
Approximately 700 attendees showed up at 10 a.m. on the West Lawn of the Capitol to clean up what 12 days of furloughed park rangers and maintenance officials have not been able to maintain.
The spontaneous community service event was organized on Thursday by FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots and Glenn Beck in an effort to enable citizens “to make a difference and do what government is not doing,” explained Deneen Borelli, FreedomWorks outreach director and Fox News contributor.
Leading officials in the tea party movement addressed volunteers, including television and radio host Beck and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
“We came up with this idea when we saw the man from South Carolina come out and mow the lawn. We thought all of us could do the same thing,” said Ellen Wheeler, director of messaging for FreedomWorks. “Congress may try to shutdown the government but they can’t shutdown the people.”
Individuals and families raked and bagged leaves near the outer paths of the National Mall grounds between 3rd and 7th streets NW.
Amanda O’Donovan of Eldersburg, Va., made the hour trip with her husband and children to rake leaves in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool. “It’s a good cause for the family and community to come together and take care of the problem.”
The majority of volunteers walked westward with the Lincoln and World War II Memorials as the final destinations.
Co-Founder of Tea Party Patriots Jenny Beth Martin said the event’s purpose was “to show America that while the government shutdown is happening we are still doing what we can to take care of the Mall.”
Martin and Diana Banister, vice president and partner of Shirley and Banister Public Affairs, walked separately from the crowds and arrived at the World War II Memorials with bags nearly full.
Beck, who unofficially led the way down the Mall, arrived at the World War II Memorial shortly after noon and greeted dozens of veterans despite the signs of closure surrounding the oval-shaped space.
Grinnals, who served two tours in the Middle East between 2004 and 2008, had personal reasons for making the road trip down to Washington.
“I want to make sure these memorials stay clean for future veterans, especially veterans on these honor flights that are coming here usually on their last leg. They should have a place to come and be remembered,” added Grinnals, a member of the Sons of Sam motorcycle club, which supports men and women of the armed forces.
October 11, 2013
What in the world has happened to Rep. Steve Stockman?
The Texas Republican and HOH favorite has delighted previously, whether it’s because he brought rock star/gun activist/hunter/crazy man Ted Nugent to the 2013 State of the Union; equating support for the Affordable Care Act to infanticide or schmoozing with the Missouri State Fair’s Obama Rodeo Clown, Stockman’s shoot-from-the-hip antics have always produced pretty good copy.
Until Oct. 8.
The previous day, Stockman announced he would be letting the world know whom he was inviting to be his guest for the 2014 State of the Union. Imaginations went into overdrive. How could he top Nugent? Who else in the conservative show biz pantheon could match the Motor City Madman?
The answer: He didn’t even try, opting for a dull political statement by inviting Chad Henderson, whom the administration touted as an Obamacare enrollee when the health insurance exchanges opened but hadn’t actually signed up. “He pushed ObamaCare on other people but refused to buy it himself because he would pay more,” Stockman said in a release. “I hope Chad will join me at the State of the Union Address so Obama can point to someone who personifies his policies,” he continued.
We expected more. Rep. Stockman, please don’t start giving stock talking points.
Believe it or not, some people do not like everything published in this space.
Crazy talk, we know.
Still, the blessing and the curse of a gossip column is that, if you are doing the job correctly, each time you publish, somebody, somewhere is sweating bullets hoping that whatever’s about to be printed does not happen to expose their deepest, darkest secrets. Or that lame food bet they made, anyway.
Granted, we occasionally miss the mark.
And as we recently learned from one incensed reader — whose antagonistic rant inspired us to share the dregs of our mailbag with the world — we’re nowhere near as clever as we’d like to believe:
Subject: Mr. Rojas
Message: Dining Editor? Tax Reporter? How about Left-Wing provocateur? This gentleman runs a pointless, mirthless, space consuming article that’s not even close to being funny, and you folks gave him the valuable platform to do it.
Pathetic and stupid.