Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

July 20, 2013

Bracing For John Lewis’ Big Day at Comic-Con

Bracing For John Lewis’ Big Day at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

SAN DIEGO — The stage is literally set for Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights leader cum comic book co-author, to step into an entirely different universe today as he strides into Comic-Con International to promote “March.”

Lewis, a featured guest at this year’s show, will share the origin story of his superhero treatment at the first politician-led panel at 10 a.m.

Project collaborators Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, a Lewis aide and award-winning artist, respectively, have been warming up the crowd here at the entertainmentopia for days, sharing their insights into the landmark book and all that went into it with fellow comics gurus and the general public.

Bracing For John Lewis’ Big Day at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Top Shelf Comix has primed the pump by offering potential readers a trio of purchasing options: a traditional soft-cover version of the book ($15), a handsome hardcover, complete with glowing endorsement from former President Bill Clinton — “I’m so pleased he is sharing his memories of the Civil Rights Movement with America’s young leaders,” 42 stated — on the book jacket ($25) and a limited edition (only 500 printed) version designed to look like the hand-me-down textbooks of Lewis’ youth and bearing the signatures of all three contributors on a faux library card tucked inside ($40).

Meanwhile, Lewis is expected to add his John Hancock to many more. The Georgia Democrat is tentatively scheduled to camp out at the Top Shelf Comix booth (#1721) to chat with fans and sign copies of the book for four hours on Saturday (three shifts) and another four-and-a-half hours on Sunday (ditto).

“March” goes on sale nationwide August 13.

July 19, 2013

Making a Statement at Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Sure, there are lots of people traipsing around in mind-blowing costumes (or nearly nude, in some cases). But some folks travel to Comic-Con with a very specific mission in mind.

Making a Statement at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

This DIY activist clearly wants the media-industrial complex to quit effing around with the programming he most enjoys.

Is he bummed that “Battlestar Galactica” ran its course on SyFy?

Incensed that the criminally short-lived “Life on Mars” was not renewed by BBC America?

Beside himself that NBC’s “Heroes” became totally unwatchable after the first season?

We wanted to discern the cause of his consternation. But by the time we turned to give chase, the anonymous rabble-rouser — like a TV pilot without a seasoned show-runner — was gone.


Comic-Con: First Amendment Central

SAN DIEGO — We hate to break it to everyone that camps out on the front steps of the Capitol to get their First Amendment on, but Comic-Con appears to be much more fertile ground for advocating religious freedom.

Comic Con: First Amendment Central

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

You’ve got the good.

Comic Con: First Amendment Central

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The presumably bad.

Comic Con: First Amendment Central

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

And the heretical all hanging within 100 feet of one another…

Mission accomplished, Founding Fathers!

Disco Boba Fett, Rewriting the Rules at Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Internet, meet Disco Fett:

Disco Boba Fett, Rewriting the Rules at Comic Con

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Disco Fett, the world.

(Ladies, you’re welcome.)



Fictional Franchise: Golden Girls Edition

In HOH’s latest edition of Fictional Franchise — fictional characters and the real people who represent them in Congress — we take on “The Golden Girls.”

Because Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia share a house, they are all represented by Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida’s 27th District. But we felt it was our obligation to the public record to dig deeper and examine their roots as well.

As for the series, the rules go like this: We decide where a fictional character lives and then look up who represents them in the House. (Learn more here.)

See you in St. Olaf … Full story

Washington’s New Funny Man

If only Jeff Davis had been there during Linda McMahon’s failed senatorial campaigns in 2010 and 2012.

Davis, the founder of the political joke-writing organization Capital Humor, has written comedy for more than 10 years and began writing political jokes last year. Davis, who also writes comedy for comedians and entertainment companies, said he has written jokes for World Wrestling Entertainment commentators consistently over the past six months in addition to writing for politicians in Washington.

Full story

Fear the Voters of Illinois, Suzan DelBene. Fear Them!

The National Republican Congressional Committee sure knows how to strike fear into the hearts of House Democrats.

In a blast email sent out on Thursday after the House voted to delay the new health care law’s individual mandate, the NRCC let Democrats, such as Rep. Suzan DelBene, who voted against the legislation know they would be facing the voters’ wrath.

“Inexplicably, Suzan DelBene voted to delay the mandate for employers, but not for middle-class families. She should be ashamed of herself. In 2014, Illinois voters will know that Suzan DelBene would rather help big business than help them,” the missive with NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek’s name on top bellowed.

Only problem? DelBene represents Washington state’s 1st District.

We’re sure she’s very concerned about how voters in Illinois feel, too, though.

‘March’ Fans’ Other Comic-Con Plans

A good number of the Comic-Con faithful have signed on to be there Saturday morning (10-11 a.m.) when Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., takes center stage to discuss, “March,” the graphic novel about his convention-shattering contributions to the civil rights movement.

HOH will be on hand to document the momentous occasion. At press time, around 140-plus others appeared game to hear history come to life as well.

All of which got us thinking: what type of person, other than a political gossip columnist (natch), is interested in a comic book about a congressman’s formative years?

Full story

July 18, 2013

Rahm Emanuel, Blurring the Lines

Now in its fifth straight week atop the Billboard Hot 100, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is the summer’s hottest song. And Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel digs it.

The former White House chief of staff was spotted July 11 strutting his stuff to Thicke’s live performance of the sultry ditty at the 33rd Annual Taste of Chicago.

Full story

Rat Becomes Newest Housemate for Durbin, Schumer

A pesky rat has infiltrated the group house inhabited by Senate Democratic leaders Charles E. Schumer of New York and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, and owned by Rep. George Miller of California, CQ Roll Call has learned.

A source close to the situation said multiple traps have been set up throughout the Capitol Hill “Animal House” to catch the rodent. Schumer was overheard on his cellphone in the Capitol discussing exterminators. The rat situation has been ongoing for days, our source tells us.

“Durbin and I are united in our hopes that it’s dead, but if it’s not, I hope it’s upstairs and he hopes it’s downstairs,” Schumer said in a statement.

No one would confirm whether the frat-like lifestyle of the prominent Democrats led to the rat’s break-in, but a 2011 NBC special “Inside Congress” filmed the lawmakers in their home and featured Miller chiding Schumer to “close up the cereal before you leave.”

Modest suggestion from your friends at CQ Roll Call, senators, check under the gross couch!

Rat Becomes Newest Housemate for Durbin, Schumer



Not So Much Fun in the Sun: No Labels on a Sweltering Day

No Labels? No extra shirt? Probably a problem. Sorry, Congress.

On Thursday, the nonpartisan group No Labels — dubbed on its own website as “a movement of Democrats, Republicans and everyone in between dedicated to promoting a new politics of problem solving” — held a rally in Senate Park to demonstrate how awesome being bipartisan can be. One by one, dozens of lawmakers, sweating through shirts in the blistering sun, declared themselves problem solvers. Problem solvers for the children. Problem solvers for America. Problem solvers for photo opportunities.

Here’s the thing, children, America and photographers: People who think it’s a good idea to hold a giant news conference in 93-degree heat with 65 percent humidity to bask in the love of their own ambition to solve problems call into question their ability to solve problems, or at least plan an event. Full story

Comic-Con: A Politics-Free Zone, Until Now

Up until the moment that Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., steps onto the floor of the sprawling San Diego Convention Center, the 43-year-old party that is Comic-Con International will have remained an apolitical haven.

Lewis will break that seal on Saturday morning when he joins the sci-fi free-for-all to promote “March,” the new graphic novel documenting his exploits during the civil rights era.

Comic-Con aides were hard-pressed to come up with the name of a single sitting lawmaker to ever visit the entertainment smorgasbord.

Full story

July 17, 2013

The Fiercely Opinionated Byron Thomas


The Fiercely Opinionated Byron Thomas


Newly minted congressional intern Byron Thomas skyrocketed from no name to HOH Hall of Fame Wednesday, after his email plea seeking fellow patriots to say the “Pledge of Allegiance” with each morning went viral.

“We have American flags in front of every room, but I’ve never seen anyone take the time to proudly say the Pledge of Allegiance. Are we that busy that we can’t take a minute to show some pride and respect for our country?” the aide to Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., chided staff on an internal message board.

It’s likely this whole pledge-shirking business has been gnawing away at him since at least late April. Full story

Playing With Nukes | Capitol Quip

Playing With Nukes | 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. EDT Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Self-immolation is NOT what I had in mind!
  • I suppose you’ll blame this on climate change, too
  • This is a test. This is only a test. Nothing will actually change.
  • Well, I guess we both stood our ground.
  • We’re going to need a wider aisle.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog July 21 and in the next day’s 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 5:46 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Patrick Leahy Praises John Lewis’ New Project

Senate Judiciary chairman and avid graphic novel fan Patrick J. Leahy (yup, that’s really him in all those “Batman” flicks) took some time out from mulling the fate of the Voting Rights Act on Wednesday to show newly minted comic book “hero” Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a little love.

Patrick Leahy Praises John Lewis’ New Project


“Thank you for the book that you signed to me in March. It will be seen by all five of my grandchildren,” Leahy assured Lewis, the civil rights leader who’s headed to Comic-Con this weekend to unveil “March,” the comic-book-style treatment of his life story.

Patrick Leahy Praises John Lewis’ New Project

Lewis greets Sen. Mazie K. Hirono as she arrives with Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner for a hearing on “From Selma to Shelby County: Working Together to Restore the Protections of the Voting Rights Act.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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