Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

June 14, 2013

The Baby-Faced Assassin | Overheard

“Raul Ruiz: The baby-faced assassin!”

– Unidentified staffer at Thursday’s 52nd Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, enthusiastically assessing the freshman California Democrat.


The Baby Faced Assassin | Overheard

(Courtesy Rep. Raul Ruiz’s Facebook Page)

June 13, 2013

Richmond Dominates Again for Democrats

House Democrats may not be able to reclaim the majority for another decade because of redistricting, but for as long as Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, D-La., is an elected official, they’re certain to reign supreme on the baseball diamond.

Richmond Dominates Again for Democrats

Richmond slides headfirst into third for a triple during the 52nd Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Richmond, donning an old-school Brooklyn Dodgers No. 42 jersey in honor of the late Jackie Robinson, dominated the game, pitching 7 shutout innings, notching 4 hits and driving in 2 runs, to lead the Democrats to the most lopsided win in 52 years of CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball, 22-0. The Louisiana Democrat told teammates and reporters he was sick before the game. Yet he recorded a Michael-Jordan-in-Game-Five-Of-The-1997-NBA-Finals-like performance, making everyone else on the field look like the out-of-shape congressional amateurs that they are.

“If it was high school or college, I wouldn’t dare try to get away with it,” Richmond told Roll Call before the game at Nationals Park.

Richmond said there was a lot of pressure being the best athlete on the field, but he was sure to point out fellow Democrats who also know how to play ball. In particular, he said, freshman Patrick Murphy of Florida, a former varsity high school baseball captain, was a “true story.” “He can play and he can hit,” Richmond said.

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., no relation, overhearing a claim of Patrick as “the better Murphy” outside the dugout pregame, bristled at such a designation.

“He hasn’t even played a game, how can you say he’s the better Murphy yet?” the Democrats’ catcher quipped. While the senator might not be the better player, he impressed this reporter by passing my baseball trivia test, knowing that former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona was Jordan’s manager at Double-A Birmingham (See? And you thought I wouldn’t tie all my obscure sports references together?).

With their victory Thursday night, Democrats took their fifth straight win from Republicans, a small solace for being the House minority for three years and counting. The previously most lopsided win was a 17-1 GOP drubbing of the Democrats in 1999.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, dressed in a casual light-pink dress shirt, tried to rally his troops in the dugout before first pitch. True to form, the speaker’s effort was valiant but ultimately futile.

“Keep your eye on the ball. When it comes to you in the field, just keep your eye on it,” Boehner said, his voice raised. “Let’s go out there and kick their ass!”

Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif., the only female player, was a fan favorite, getting to first base twice and taking second base on an error in the 5th inning after notching a single.

Roll Call’s most quotable player award, however, goes to Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y. Crowley, dressed head-to-toe in Mets gear, warmed up before the game on the third-base line with Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who once mulled challenging the New Yorker for his leadership post.

Crowley said he’s “still a Mets fan” despite the recent demotion of family friend Mike Baxter to Triple-A Las Vegas. Roll Call asked if he would play better than the last congressman to wear a full Mets uniform in the game, current New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, Crowley brought the quintessential Empire State lawmaker sass.

“I don’t know that I’m going to play better than him, but I’m definitely going to use the Internet better than him,” Crowley said.

When pressed on whether there was a “Sports Illustrated”-like Congressional Baseball Game cover jinx, given that this year’s program featured defeated Republican Rep. Robert Dold of Illinois in a Cubs jersey, Crowley had an answer for that, too.

“They had a hard time finding a decent picture of a Republican with a smile on his face, so that’s all they could come up with. it was a rough night for them,” Crowley said.

If only he knew there would be even fewer smiles this year, and more Republican staffers hitting the exits early.

But as the image of a smiling defeated congressman in a Cubs jersey reminds everyone, there’s always next year.

By Meredith Shiner Posted at 10:13 p.m.

Most Valuable Member of Congress?

Turn out the lights, the ballgame’s over, at least for the 52nd Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

One last item of business, though? Who is your choice for Most Valuable Player?

Leave your vote in the comments section below.

By Jason Dick Posted at 10:04 p.m.

Mary Landrieu’s Kid Arrested on DWI Charges

Frank “Connor” Snellings, the 21-year-old son of Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., was arrested Thursday morning on charges of driving while intoxicated, hit-and-run driving and driving the wrong way on a one-way street in the French Quarter, as well as possession of an alcoholic beverage in the car and not maintaining proper control of the car, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

According to the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, the car Snellings was driving hit a pedestrian, who was not seriously injured. Snellings and a passenger were not hurt.

“We love our son wholeheartedly, but we are extremely disappointed by his irresponsible actions last night,” Landrieu told the Times-Picayune. “These actions have serious consequences both at home and in our legal system.”

Landrieu asked people “to respect his privacy as we work through this challenging time for our family.”

Baez Tuned In to Tim Kaine

During her show Wednesday night at Wolf Trap, folk singer Joan Baez purportedly took the time to pay musical tribute to a local boy who works right here on the Hill: freshman Sen. Tim Kaine.

“Hey @JoanBaez — thanks for dedicating “Deportee” to me last night at Wolf Trap!” Kaine gloated on Twitter.

Staff told HOH the Virginia Democrat did not attend the actual concert and does not know Baez personally but that he had heard from friends who were at the show that he’d been name-checked.

Full story

Cheesemonger Serves Up FDA Protest

A Food and Drug Administration plan to curb domestic consumption of Mimolette, a French cheese that’s brought to market with the help of some microscopic, rind-chomping mites, has prompted one local businesswoman to give away the soon-to-be-contraband in protest.

According to Cheesetique Founder Jill Erber, the government crackdown was set in motion this past March, when the FDA put the brakes on further shipments of the bowling-ball-shaped fromage, trapping tons of the stuff at the port in New Jersey.

The biggest concern: that the aforementioned parasites, which Erber said remain relegated to the rough brown exterior of the cheese, might cause an unspecified allergic reaction among consumers.

“You would have to take an uncleaned wheel and rub it all over your face to get any significant exposure,” Erber argued, noting that, “Mimolette is not the only cheese in the world that has microscopic mites.”

Full story

Steve King’s Immigration SOS

Forget securing the U.S. border.

Steve King’s Immigration SOS

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Steve King is desperate to know how Senate lawmakers plan to keep the unwanted elements outside the Capitol.

The Iowa Republican sounded a distress call Thursday after several members of United We Dream, a pro-immigration overhaul outfit, showed up unannounced at his little slice of heaven in the Rayburn House Office Building.

“20 brazen self professed illegal aliens have just invaded my DC office,” King raged on social media.

Full story

Game On! Congressional Baseball Game Still on Track

Game On! Congressional Baseball Game Still on Track

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The shot callers behind the 52nd Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game have taken the weather warnings under consideration, but feel confident members of Congress can handle some precipitation and potentially blustery conditions.

That means the pregame Taste of America reception is still on, and the opening pitch will sail toward home plate at 7:05 p.m.

Snag your tix here.

See you at the ballpark.


By Warren Rojas Posted at 11:54 a.m.

June 12, 2013

We’re Listening! | Capitol Quip

Were Listening! | 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 9 a.m. EDT Friday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • The administration did promise to listen to the people …
  • No more dome tours then?
  • Richard Nixon, eat your heart out.
  • I still can’t get a signal for ESPN.
  • Who says government doesn’t listen to what its citizens have to say?

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog June 17 and in that 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 6:57 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Angry Staffer Stressed About Becoming Homeless Is Now Jobless

Domestic squabbling spilled into the halls of Congress this week, after one House staffer, perturbed at his roommate, attempted to draw co-workers into the fray by airing their dirty laundry in a nasty email.

The caustic communication hit Capitol Hill inboxes around 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday; that’s when legislative assistant Oscar Urteaga loosed his screed against new-media aide Jeff Leieritz.

An HOH tipster forwarded the expletive-filled rant, which purportedly stunned Small Business Committee aides before trickling out to less-than-amused K Street contacts.

And it’s that overreach that appears to have earned Urteaga his walking papers.

“Our office has always upheld the highest of standards for personal decorum and professionalism. Introducing personal problems into the realm of one’s professional duties is inexcusable and will not be tolerated,” Urteaga’s supervisor explained after terminating the loose cannon.

As is often the case between feuding bros, the source of the intrahousehold friction appears to be a woman: a newly minted fiancee, to be exact.

Full story

Weather to Play or Not, That Is the Question | Congressional Baseball Game

If you’ve heard any weather predictions for the Washington area lately, we could get anything from light rain to a derecho or tornado or frogs falling from the sky in the next day or two.

With the 52nd Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game and Taste of America reception slated for Thursday evening, the organizers of the game and the Washington Nationals are slated to make an announcement at 11 a.m. Thursday as to whether the game will be played or rescheduled.

“We can assure you that our preference is to play the game as scheduled tomorrow evening weather permitting,” the organizers said in a statement to ticket holders and media.

If the game is called on the account of weather, the Taste of America party and the announcement of the TOA winner will be postponed as well.

Here’s crossing our fingers.

OMG: Mikulski Responds to Tweets at Cybersecurity Hearing

In the Twitter age, apparently lawmakers don’t even need to wrap up their hearings before responding to news reports they don’t like, as BuzzFeed reporter Rosie Gray discovered Wednesday.

Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., spent much of a hearing Wednesday trying to steer the proceeding back to its original intended purpose — evaluating the U.S. cybersecurity budget — rather than what it was turning into, a grilling of Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the National Security Agency director and head of U.S. Cyber Command, about  government surveillance programs. Several times, she reminded panelists that the Intelligence Committee has a Thursday briefing planned to discuss surveillance.

More than an hour and a half into the hearing, though, Mikulski interrupted the proceeding for a different purpose: answering a tweet from Gray saying she was “interfering” with an interesting line of questioning. Full story

Weekend Work? Don’t Make Me Laugh | Overheard

“Usually we say that we’re going to do it on Friday and usually that threat seems to get it wrapped up on Thursday night. I have never missed a recess around here nor a weekend.”

— Senate Armed Services ranking member John McCain, regarding the defense authorization bill his panel is considering.

The Amazing World of Congress

Looks like Michigan Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga made some new friends while strolling around the National Cable & Telecommunications Association trade show:

The Amazing World of Congress

(Courtesy Bill Huizenga)

With five young ‘uns at home, we have no doubt he’s more familiar with oddball ‘toons than grown-up shows.

‘Senator’ Strips for Cash in Campaign Video (Updated)

Updated 3:45 p.m. | An effort to pass a campaign finance overhaul bill gets racy in its most recent move to get money out of politics.

In a YouTube video published this morning, the Represent.Us campaign to “end corruption” and “get America back” portrays a fictional senator stripping down to his Old Glory underpants and allowing a pack of lobbyists to jam dollar bills just about everywhere, right up to where the sun don’t shine.

That’s a flag we don’t need waved. As our pals at sister blog Political MoneyLine wrote, “Members of Congress will not like it. Most viewers will not like it. But that may be the point they are trying to make about soliciting campaign funds.”

Randy Hackett, the ad man behind the video, produced it pro bono, Represent.Us Director Josh Silver said. “He cares so much about the issue.”

For his part, Hackett said he wanted to make sure the video would get people’s attention.

“Did it turn you on?” he asked HOH. “It’s not supposed to,” he added — but only after we conceded that yes, it did, just a little. “It’s supposed to repulse people,” he said.

Peak Kwinarian, the actor who plays the salacious senator in the video, said he was taken aback by the pseudo-patriotic drawers the creators asked him to wear for his role.

“When I originally saw them, I did have a moment there,” he said. “[But] it’s not the actual flag. … I wasn’t desecrating the flag.”

Kwinarian said this was his first foray into exotic dancing, though he said he did once wear high heels and play a woman in a musical called “Zombies From the Beyond.”

“It was a campy piece,” he clarified.

The video is only the most recent move in the campaign to get a draft of legislation known as the American Anti-Corruption Act a vote in Congress. Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter drafted the act. Its website says the measure would transform how elections are financed, how lobbyists influence politics and how political money is disclosed.

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