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

October 8, 2013

Bunny Man Puts the Fun in Fundraising

Tourists who wander along the closed-off stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue opposite the White House should, in theory, be used to seeing some pretty off-the-wall stuff.

Bunny Man Puts the Fun in Fundraising

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Tuesday proved no exception.

“Look! It’s a BUNNY!” shrieked an out-of-town teen (the matching, dayglo t-shirts are a dead giveaway) — who will most likely return home with an Instagram feed chock full of pics of locked gates, barricaded monuments and traffic barrels festooned with yellow tape — upon spotting the sign-wielding character parading around outside POTUS’ pad.

The costumed crusader told HOH he was making the rounds to raise awareness about Purge Day, a fledgling movement that challenges everyone to unburden themselves of all negative thoughts once annually (next official observance: Aug., 20, 2014). Full story

Overheard: ‘Talk to Jay’

“I’m just going through my list, guys. Talk to Jay.”

President Barack Obama, referring any reporter complaints about who was being called on at Tuesday’s White House news briefing to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:16 p.m.

Welcome to the Party, Superdupercommittee!

Supercommittes need not apply. This is a job for the superdupercommittee.

This year’s intractable debt and shutdown fight requires a faster, stronger, newer supercommittee, according to House Republican leaders. Supercommittee simply won’t do. It needs a new name.

This isn’t just the opinion of HOH. Indeed, as soon as the news broke Tuesday that the House GOP would call for a bipartisan, bicameral committee to iron out differences, what was previously a joke around town — “Why don’t they create a supercommittee? Ha!” — became a legislative proposal. Full story

Louie Gohmert Fans Love Playing Fantasy Politics

According to President Barack Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner, there have been no winners in the government shutdown that has paralyzed Capitol Hill and turned the District into a ghost town.

Guess they haven’t been keeping up with the growing number of Facebook fan pages where armchair campaign managers plot alternative power grabs by their dream candidate: Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas.

Louie Gohmert Fans Love Playing Fantasy Politics


The Truth Dispatch publisher Trey Mays launched his “Gohmert for Speaker” platform on Oct. 3 and has been bowled over by the positive response so far.

“I’m kind of amazed that I’ve been able to get this many likes. I’ve never created a group or page that got this much,” Mays told HOH. Mays also said he’s only really been reposting content shared on Gohmert’s official page, plus some color commentary about the burgeoning flock he’s gathered. “I’m pleased with it.”

Mays said he’s emailed Team Gohmert about drafting a new “Contract With America”-style manifesto to realign the country with conservative values. So far he’s heard nothing but crickets.

“I haven’t been contacted by anyone yet. And I guess I don’t really care if I am or not,” Mays said of the radio silence. “But it would be cool.” Full story

NRSC in the Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

Sure, its featured content will likely still make a blue stater see red.

But the National Republican Senatorial Committee has adopted a hot pink color scheme for the remainder of the month to honor the life-affirming work of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Along with a prominent “Donate” button at the top of the home page, the site is firmly in the pink. Even links to outside websites, archived material and tweets are outlined in the breast cancer awareness hue.

“This was a very simple effort to call attention to the fight against breast cancer and pay tribute to survivors across the country,” NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring told HOH of the show of solidarity. One thing that doesn’t appear to change, though, is the NRSC determination to paint the Senate electoral landscape red.

We haven’t heard much from Team Komen since it waved the white flag after getting caught in the crossfire of the 2012 election. Perhaps they’ve decided to steer clear of political controversy for a while.

October 7, 2013

Miley Cyrus Twerks GOP on SNL

Fresh off her headline-grabbing turn at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus set her sights on ripping the government shutdown a new one this weekend on “Saturday Night Live.”

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, took a metaphorical beating in the parody vid, prancing around in Cyrus’ signature skimpy gear and acting just as crazy, if not crazier, than the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus does in what passes for her real life. Full story

Steve Stockman Plans Ahead for 2014 State of the Union

Let it not be said that Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, isn’t thinking about the future.

In the midst of a government shutdown and a looming default on the debt limit, Stockman released this statement Monday: “Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX 36) will announce Tuesday his invited guest to January’s State of the Union Address. Stockman’s guest to the 2013 address was musician and gun activist Ted Nugent.”

We eagerly await the announcement, although it will be hard to top Uncle Ted.

Steve Stockman Plans Ahead for 2014 State of the Union

Nugent, right, was Stockman’s guest at the State of the Union this year. How do you top that? Find out Tuesday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pedicabber Shuttling Food Around During Shutdown

Self-propelled tour guide James Willett has apparently had a tough time shepherding potential fares into his pedicab during the ongoing government shutdown.

Thankfully, folks still gotta eat.

Pedicabber Shuttling Food Around During Shutdown

(Courtesy Carmine’s)

According to a Carmine’s spokeswoman, the self-employed tourist wrangler has seen his business “catastrophically depleted” because of all the administration-mandated closures around town — particularly the suddenly inhospitable National Mall and historic monuments.

“He basically has to warn everybody, ‘I can go ahead and ride you by, but you can’t stop,’” the Carmine’s rep said of Willett’s politically inspired predicament.

When Jeff Bank heard about Willett’s dilemma last week on 94.7 Fresh FM (Willett’s mom was sharing his tale of woe with morning drive personality Tommy McFly), the Carmine’s CEO hired him on the spot, offering Willett the opportunity to pad his income by peddling around mountainous pasta dishes to carb-loving customers.

Willett jumped at the opportunity, tacking up the following thank you message on the rear of his ride for all to see: “Thanks Carmine’s for hiring me!! No longer a victim of the FURLOUGH ripple effect!!!!”

Somebody, Somewhere, Do Something

Fans of conspiracy theories about the puppet masters have apparently had enough, and they want everyone from the Masons to Google and the Knights Templar to fix the hurtling mess that we’ve come to call the U.S. government.  Full story

While Uncle Sam Turns His Back, Howard Stern Provides

Any cash-strapped feds had all the belt-tightening they can handle? Broadcasting magnate Howard Stern just might have a solution for you.

While Uncle Sam Turns His Back, Howard Stern Provides


The satellite radio kingpin Monday announced that he’s growing his game show catalog — who can forget the hours of good, clean family fun provided by “Dial-a-Date,” “Hollyweird Squares” or the multiple installments of “It’s Just Wrong” — by launching the hottest nude mother-daughter contest.

“I got a feeling that a lot of federal workers who are not getting paid might enter that contest,” Stern told his SiriusXM audience after trying to guesstimate who, in their right minds, would actually vie for the $5,000 prize.

The contest opened Monday and entries will be accepted till noon on Oct. 31; the actual drama will unfold inside Studio 69 on Jan. 14, 2014. Peep all the rules here.

Healthcare Firm Aims to Control Potential Shutdown Baby Boom

It’s not exactly a free lunch. But NV Healthcare LLC wants to help furloughed federal workers satisfy another craving.

The New York-based company has wrapped its head around the lingering shutdown and come up with a stopgap solution: free contraception for the duration of the government standoff. Take that, non-functioning Obamacare sign-up portals!

Full story

Hill Vets Aim to Scare Up Some Fun

The last time they co-hosted a Camp Freddy rager here in D.C., campaign operatives John Murray and Doug Davenport drew an enthusiastic crowd that partied hard, rocked out and kicked in $70,000 for the military-rehab-minded folks at Rivers of Recovery.

Hill Vets Aim to Scare Up Some Fun

The folks behind Warehouse Productions, Bruce Gates, with eyepatch, and Joyce Gates, left, are helping produce this year’s event. (Courtesy Mike Kandel)

The duo are now hoping to sell out the 9:30 Club (815 V St. NW) by dangling the free-form super group and a timely excuse for cosplay in front of those who wouldn’t dream of missing the “2nd Annual Bipartisan All Hallows Eve Costume Party.”

The show is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26. General admission tickets start at $50 — or you can spring for a VIP sponsorship package, which includes access to an open bar, semi-private breathing room on the cordoned off second floor and a meet-and-greet with the featured performers — with all proceeds flowing through to the Boulder Crest Retreat. Full story

Conservative Meme Tries to Play Both Sides

Railing against the do-nothing government you helped grind to a halt is nothing new here in Washington.

Now we have memes that help commemorate the hypocrisy.

Conservative Meme Tries to Play Both Sides


This non sequitur jab (attributed to a right-leaning website) at 44 is rhetorical junk, since money was never really the issue in either case: both battles are about political will.

The former was stymied by lack of agreement on military action, while the latter is the unforeseen — and now deeply lamented — consequence of the scorched earth policy both parties have adopted regarding anything to the do with the polarizing Affordable Care Act.

But that didn’t stop pols, such as Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., from trying to score points with it over the weekend.

“No, Mr. Cassidy, it’s not a good point. It’s not even remotely the same thing and goes to show either how much he doesn’t know or how much he just wants to push hate during a shutdown,” an HOH tipster vented via email. Full story

October 6, 2013

Give Me Your Tired of Shutdown, Your Poor | Capitol Quip

Give Me Your Tired of Shutdown, Your Poor | Capitol Quip

The first week of the government shutdown produced its share of rancor, which seemed to give way to a sense of fatalism as people questioned whether this is really the best the country can expect from its elected officials. 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.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

The Filibuster, in Tune With the Times | Capitol Quip

The Filibuster, in Tune With the Times | 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.

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