Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 26, 2015

August 11, 2014

‘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.

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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

Press secretaries Tiffany McGuffee and Jordan Haverly were married on August 2, 2014 at the Capitol Hill Club (Photo courtesy Bamber Photography).

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

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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.


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)

Melanie Zanona/CQ Roll Call

(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.”

Melanie Zanona/CQ Roll Call

(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.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(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

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

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.

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.

August 5, 2014

Tea Party Rhetoric Strikes Some as Muy Shady

No one is surprised the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund is holding Sen. Lamar Alexander’s feet to the fire on the raging border security battle. But the group’s use of foreign punctuation has left some in Washington wondering ¿que paso?



In the email attack, the group repeatedly frames the Tennessee Republican’s name in inverted exclamation points — punctuation typically associated with the Spanish language.

Some fellow hacks considered this rhetorical jab to be nothing short of racist. Tea party leaders attempted to brush aside any such aspersions.

“It’s a play on Alexander’s use of campaign signs with exclamation marks,” the group told HOH via email. “The Spanish exclamation mark signifies Sen. Alexander’s vote for amnesty and support for an open-borders or no-borders immigration policy.” Full story

August 4, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of July 28 (Video)

As cell phones, rhetorical questions and Chinese drywall graced the House and Senate floor, some members prepped for “summer vacation,” while others just could not wait to get to Waffle House.

Exit Interview: Doug Heye

Keeping the party on message is what GOP communications guru Doug Heye has always been paid to do. Thinking things through and behaving graciously are the highly prized extras colleagues say he brought to the negotiating table.

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Heye slips while pushing a car after a winter storm hit D.C. in 2010. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A seasoned political operative who helped the Republican National Committee get the word out before rising through the ranks to become deputy chief of staff for communications to ex-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Heye is saying goodbye to Congress (for now) while he goes in search of new adventures.

“I hear the Yankees need a new shortstop next season,” he floated in his farewell email to the Capitol Hill community.

He leaves Congress with few regrets. “I never learned how to get to the Dunkin’ Donuts in the Library of Congress — that’s probably a good thing,” he quipped.

Heye even managed to sound wistful about burning the midnight oil.

“On some summer nights, the military bands will play on the east front of the Capitol. Opening up the window to listen while working late is nice,” he said. Full story

Bill Maher Flip a District: Coffman Rounds Out Final Four

Coffman is in a Tossup race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Coffman is in a Tossup race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Bill Maher Flip a District effort is going after Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, rounding out the final four Republicans the comedian wants to give the boot from Congress.

What’s interesting about the Coffman selection is he is the only lawmaker on Maher’s list actually representing a competitive seat.

Coffman’s race in the 6th District is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. The three others — Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, John Kline of Minnesota and Blake Farenthold of Texas — are in contests rated Safe Republican.

Maher said on the Aug. 1 summer finale of his HBO show “Real Time” that Coffman earned the final slot.

“That’s right, Mike is a deep-red conservative trying to keep pace with a district that’s turning purple and smokin’ green,” Maher said, grinning. “He once said that [President Barack] Obama is just not an American. Wow, you’d have to be high to re-elect a guy like that.”

That’s a reference to a May 12, 2012, fundraiser, during which Coffman reportedly said he isn’t sure about Obama’s citizenship. The Denver Post reported the quote as, “I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.”

Full story

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