Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 23, 2014

February 12, 2013

Refusing to Make a Mark

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faced a question before the formal start of his Tuesday stake-out with reporters about a matter on the minds of many of his fellow Kentuckians.

A reporter asked McConnell for his thoughts on Maker’s Mark reducing the proof of its standard bourbon. McConnell offered a laugh but declined to answer, instead noting, “we’re having a tasting tonight” for the State of the Union, which he called “the longest day — every year.”

Maker’s Mark is diluting the alcohol content of its bourbon to meet increased demand.
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Microbrewer Scores Seat at Big Show

Determined to score a front row seat to history? Slipping the commander in chief a few cold ones probably wouldn’t hurt.

New Glarus Brewing Co. co-founder Deb Carey, who has been in and out of the White House for repeated small business roundtables, will be watching President Barack Obama deliver his latest State of the Union address alongside first lady Michelle Obama.

According to her local paper, the Wisconsin microbrewer got rather chummy with our elected leaders last fall, swapping suds with the first boozer — she delivered two wine bottle-sized of Serendipity, her apple-, cherry-, cranberry-fueled sour ale. POTUS, meanwhile, gifted her three 12-ounce bottles of highly coveted White House Honey Ale. And she garnered a peck on the cheek from Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The Brewers Association would like to believe Carey’s presence in FLOTUS’ box is a good sign the recently reintroduced Small BREW Act might finally slide through the 113th Congress.

Can’t a guy just enjoy having his drinking buddies around?

Is It My Turn To Be President Yet?

Is It My Turn To Be President Yet?

(Courtesy Marco Rubio)

Another candid shot (thanks press office!) of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., biding his time until he gets to officially lay into President Barack Obama Tuesday night.

I Once Caught a Fish This Big…

I Once Caught a Fish This Big...

(Courtesy Marco Rubio)

The press shop for Sen. Marco Rubio wants people to see the Florida Republican rehearsing the official rebuttal of President Barack Obama’s forthcoming State of the Union address.

Menendez Daughter Had Advice for the Scandalized

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has his hands full these days, with a burgeoning scandal surrounding his friend and political donor, Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, as well as scrutiny of the senator’s own travel and leisure activities in the Dominican Republic.

But maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t be in this mess if he had paused to read a blog post his daughter Alicia published on the Daily Grito in June 2011.

The post, uncovered by the blog Life on the Hill News, is an open letter to a generic embattled politician brought down by scandal.

“So you’ve found yourself embroiled in a scandal, huh?” Alicia Menendez wrote. “In a perfect world we’d rewind to before this ever happened, when you were just some up and comer who was running for city council or state assembly,” she continued. “I’d tell you to make a list of your real, true friends. No big donors. No one who trades your name like a baseball card. No one who is more invested in you, the mighty and powerful than in the real you. My instinct is to tell you that that person is someone from your childhood, someone who knew you when you were still wearing bad suits and actually eating the chicken dinners they serve at political functions.”

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How to Survive the SOTU: The Ultimate Guide

With President Barack Obama set to take over the public airwaves in just a few short hours, now might be a good time to figure out how best to entertain yourself tonight. We’ve pulled together options for five major constituencies:

SOTU for the Cynics

How to Survive the SOTU: The Ultimate Guide


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February 11, 2013

Take Five

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for Take Five, when HOH has a chance to get to know a member of Congress by asking five fun questions relatively unrelated to their legislative work. This week, freshman Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., tells us what she’s reading, what she’s missing and where she’d go if she could escape Congress for an impromptu vacation.
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Nugent to Attend SOTU

Nugent to Attend SOTU

(Randy Snyder/Getty Images)

Don’t be surprised if, while addressing both chambers, the joint chiefs of staff and the Supreme Court justices, President Barack Obama suddenly finds himself felled by cat scratch fever.

Nestled in the crowd at the invitation of Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, will be none other than rocker and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent.

The Nuge, the mind behind the 1970s rock anthem “Cat Scratch Fever” and a resident of Texas, has also allowed Stockman to act as his temporary press agent, and the congressman instructed the press to contact his office if anyone’s interested in talking to the Motor City Madman before or after the address.

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Eat Your Heart Out, SOTU

Rumor has it not everyone in D.C. will be locked within the House chamber or glued to C-SPAN for President Barack Obama’s latest State of the Union address Tuesday night.

While this town does get its jollies from political pageantry, the rest of the free world will (rightfully) be engaging in the pre-Lenten bacchanal known as Mardi Gras.

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 7:09 p.m.

Political Junkie Rolls Dice on Gaming Venture

Political junkie John Hogan wants to help you wear your (bleeding) heart — as well as your pedigree, tax bracket and personal values — on your sleeve with his prospective pastime, “The United States of Entitlement”:

The engineer-turned-gaming entrepreneur is seeking backers on Kickstarter for his potentially divisive diversion, promising those who contribute the opportunity to royally stir things up.

“Be the first kid on your block to throw a killer party for your conservative and liberal friends that will get some real meaningful interesting discussion going,” he says in his video intro.

The game — think “Life” but on econ-fueled steroids — propels players from birth to death (marriage, anyway).

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February 10, 2013

Capitol Quip: We Have a Winner!

Capitol Quip: We Have a Winner!

Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for last week’s Capitol Quip contest. The winning entry, as voted by readers of the Heard on the Hill blog, is “I’m a borderline Democrat.” The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from editorial cartoonist R.J. Matson.


Capitol Quip: Write in Cupid’s Valentine Message

Capitol Quip: Write in Cupids Valentine Message

CQ Roll Call editorial cartoonist R.J. Matson has submitted another Capitol Quip image for your consideration this week. Submit your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday to go before readers for another vote. We’ll let you know the five finalists Wednesday afternoon, and readers will have until 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday to vote for their favorite.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:30 p.m.
Capitol Quip

February 8, 2013

Drop the Bow and Arrow, Cupid!

Leave it to the Senate sergeant-at-arms to add to the pressure all you coupled-up staff members on Capitol Hill are feeling to please your significant others on Valentine’s Day.

In an email sent Feb. 7 to administrative staff on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, the sergeant-at-arms took the time to remind staffers the rules of receiving flowers and gifts on Capitol Hill.

If you’re looking to send a box of long-stem roses to your sweetie on the Hill, the sergeant reminds you that packages sent through FedEx, UPS and DHL get holed up in an off-site mail and package testing facility for about 72 hours before being delivered to the Capitol.
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‘Trying’ Succeeds in Depicting D.C.

This isn’t the book Rebecca Gale thought she was going to write.

“Trying,” the CQ Roll Call staffer’s first published novel, is tagged as “some kind of love story.” A love story is where Gale might have started, but it’s also a technical and paranormal thriller.

So it’s not just a love story. Nor is it pure science-fiction, although there are sci-fi elements. In general, it is more fantastic-realism and slightly reminiscent of Aimee Bender’s work.

This genre creates a world recognizable to the modern reader, except for one or two aspects that change the rules. In Bender’s work, one character can taste the emotion in every bite of food, while another watches as her boyfriend evolves backward, from man to amoeba.
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Whitehouse Preps for Book Party

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s new book, “On Virtues,” couldn’t be more timely given the recent scandals involving some of his colleagues and a certain Florida eye doctor. The tome — a compilation of inspiring quotes that the title suggests will help you “live a full, honorable and truly American life” — will be feted Monday night at the home of Clinton-land political guru Mandy Grunwald. HOH will be on hand to report on the guest list.

People we’re hoping will show up include the former president himself, Bill Clinton, who authored a rave review on the back cover of the Rhode Island Democrat’s book, as well as Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., and John McCain, R-Ariz., who also penned laudatory blurbs.

Thinking of picking up a copy?

Consider: Clinton calls it a “life handbook … [that] couldn’t have come at a better time for our country,” while McCain writes that the book will inspire people to “live satisfying, honorable and genuinely patriotic lives. … I highly recommend it.”

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