Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 18, 2014

February 11, 2013

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).

Full story

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.
Full story

‘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.
Full story

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.”

Courtney, Kushner Spar Over ‘Lincoln’

Democratic Rep. Joe Courtney thanked  Tony Kushner for acknowledging the factual inaccuracy about the lawmaker’s home state of Connecticut in his “Lincoln” screenplay, even though the playwright and screenwriter blasted the congressman’s approach to the issue.

“I am pleased that Mr. Kushner conceded that his ‘Lincoln’ screenplay got it wrong on the Connecticut delegation’s votes for the 13th Amendment,” Courtney said in a statement. “My effort from the beginning has been to set the record straight on this vote, so people do not leave the theater believing Connecticut’s representatives in the 38th Congress were on the wrong side of history.”

Full story

Colbert Hangs With House Democrats at Their Retreat

LEESBURG, Va. — Comedian Stephen Colbert addressed House Democrats at their retreat here Friday, adding a bit of humor to an agenda dominated by big political fights on Capitol Hill.

Donning his character as a bombastic right-wing pundit, Colbert gave formal remarks and then let his character slip while he was interviewed by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The event ended with a duet of the National Anthem with Colbert and Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Joseph Crowley of New York.

“Republicans’ loss in November has them soul searching … whether or not they have souls,” Colbert cracked, according to notes taken by a person in the room.

He described himself and Pelosi as “frenemies” and vowed his sister would win a congressional seat in South Carolina.

“She’s tough as nails,” Colbert said, adding that he would like to interview her on his trademark “Better Know a District” segments.

“I have a few questions for her from her eighth-grade diary,” he said.

Regarding that interview series, Colbert said he thought Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., was the only lawmaker who had truly embarrassed himself in the zany interviews. Westmoreland “set himself on fire” when he remembered only three of the Ten Commandments he was trying to mandate public placement of,” Colbert said.

Yo! Sushi Treats Interns This Weekend

Yo! Sushi Treats Interns This Weekend

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Yo! Sushi is cutting the oft-forgotten cog of the congressional machine a break this weekend, offering current interns a 25 percent discount on its signature, conveyor belt-delivered cuisine.

“Just bring your word ID and you’ll be fine,” a Yo! Sushi spokeswoman said of the “Welcome Weekend Discount” promotion.

The deal applies to any and all food items — we dug the takoyaki and rainbow roll — which typically range from $2.50 to $6 a pop (individual servings are color-coded for easy identification), but it does not cover beverages. Offer good Saturday and Sunday.

February 7, 2013

Scantily Clad to Circle Capitol

If you find yourself around the Capitol on Saturday afternoon and see about a thousand people running around in only their underwear, don’t worry, you’re not hallucinating. It’s also not a protest or a fraternity prank. It’s the annual Cupid’s Undie Run.

For reasons both noble and not, the flesh-filled mile is one of the season’s most popular charity events.

Now in its fourth year, participants have raised almost a million dollars for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, an organization that supports neurofibromatosis research and assists individuals and families affected by the disorder.

Pre-race festivities commence at the Pour House (319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) and Capitol Lounge (229 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) at noon and continue long after the traffic-stopping trek has seen its final finisher.

But not to worry if this all sounds too naughty — event organizers are very careful to keep it PG-13. “We want to keep it a fun undie event versus a sexy undie event,” founder Brendan Hanrahan says. Take that how you will. Just remember: It begins and ends at a bar.

Overheard on the Hill

“On behalf of the conservative movement, we are demanding you terminate Mr. Collegio. An apology is not acceptable.”

— Letter from Citizens for the Republic to American Crossroads CEO Steven Law regarding Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio. Collegio earlier this week called Brent Bozell III a “hater” on the radio.

Fleming Guest Stars on ‘My Big Redneck Vacation’

Rep. John Fleming will be making his cable debut at 9 p.m. Saturday on Country Music Television, after the road-tripping Clampets clan ran him down while in town filming “My Big Redneck Vacation.”

The show, which chronicles the Shreveport, La.-based family’s misadventures across America, travels to Washington, D.C., during this weekend’s episode and, naturally, goes all political.

According to a CMT synopsis, the Clampet clan causes some sort of ruckus at the White House, chats with its congressman, Fleming, in his Capitol Hill office and wraps up its visit by entering a cardboard boat regatta in a makeshift vessel decorated with Fleming campaign memorabilia.

A Fleming aide said the Louisiana Republican enjoyed meeting the roving reality TV stars but noted that the congressman is not heavily invested in the show.

“Beyond the news, he doesn’t watch much TV,” the aide told HOH.

Barracks Row to Become Giant Cooking Class

Imagine yourself whipping up a batch of  Cava Mezze’s  tzatziki on your kitchen counter, simmering Zest Bistro’s carbonara sauce on your stove top, and popping a Spring Mill Bread almond tart from your oven.

Culinary novices can learn to re-create their favorite Barracks Row menu items on Feb. 17, when Eighth Street Southeast is transformed into a cooking school campus.

Chefs, sommeliers and beer experts will be leading 21 classes over the course of the day, with ticket prices for each lesson ranging from $15 to $30. Classes offer a spectrum of expertise, including rolling sushi with the masters of Old Siam, curing meat with Lavagna’s charcuterie experts or swirling frosting flowers with the pastry chefs of Hello Cupcake.

Students won’t leave class hungry — the professionals at Senart’s Oyster and Chop House will let you eat all the oysters you can shuck, and Ambar’s chefs will offer a post-class Serbian feast with beer.

Space is filling up quickly, with Belga Café’s guide to Belgian cooking, Matchbox’s pizza-making course and Banana Café’s Latin cooking class already full.

Registration is available online at

By Hannah Hess Posted at 7:34 p.m.

Someone Brought a Giant Dog to the John Brennan Hearing

Many hairy people have found their way in and around the Capitol complex, but Thursday was a bit different.

While senators were grilling John Brennan, the CIA director designee, on the agency’s drone program, someone brought along their Afghan Hound! We were hoping the hound was simply there to bear witness to Brennan getting dressed down, but he was there to assist his own human, who had on an interesting hat.

Someone Brought a Giant Dog to the John Brennan Hearing

(Lauren Smith/CQ Roll Call)


Someone Brought a Giant Dog to the John Brennan Hearing

(Lauren Smith/CQ Roll Call)

Chaffetz, Heitkamp Duel on Congressional Dinner Stage

Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who was misidentified in the program for the Washington Press Club Foundation Congressional Dinner as being from New Mexico, drew belly laughs Wednesday night after throwing colleagues under the bus, but still trailed newcomer Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., as funniest pol. Full story

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