Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 1, 2015

November 30, 2015

Obama Still Channeling George W. Bush

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 25:  U.S. President Barack Obama (L) listens as former President George W. Bush speaks during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. The Bush library, which is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University, with more than 70 million pages of paper records, 43,000 artifacts, 200 million emails and four million digital photographs, will be opened to the public on May 1, 2013. The library is the 13th presidential library in the National Archives and Records Administration system.  (Photo by Tony Gutierrez-Pool/Getty Images)

Both Obama and Bush promised they would bring Americans together but instead contributed to the increased polarization and anger in the country. (Tony Gutierrez/Pool Via Getty Images File Photo)

It has been almost 16 months since I wrote about the comparative positions of President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush as they approached their second midterm elections. Since then, the two presidents, and two administrations, have continued to resemble each other increasingly.

Many Republicans, no doubt, will take issue with the comparison, arguing that the surge in Iraq was working when Bush left office, Obama’s foreign policy has been a mess, and the current incumbent’s reliance on big government is very different from Bush’s approach. (Other Republicans will agree that Bush grew government, arguing that that is exactly the problem they are trying to address in 2016.)

Full story

November 23, 2015

Time to Stop Reporting on Committee Fundraising Numbers


Sen. Jon Tester, left, heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Sen. Roger Wicker, right, is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:40 p.m. | Political reporters have a fever and the only prescription appears to be fundraising numbers.

It’s a time-honored tradition: Every month, the House and Senate campaign committees release fundraising totals in a regular effort to claim momentum and financial supremacy, and political reporters can’t resist the temptation to report them.

Full story

Speaking Style Says Volumes About GOP Race


Apart from his values and agenda, Carson’s appeal rests on his sincerity, plain speaking style and sense of humor. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a race filled with plenty of fast-talking, quick-tongued hopefuls — including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and, at one point, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — Ben Carson stands out as very different, and not only because of his race, resume and life accomplishments.

The retired pediatric neurosurgeon often lacks the other candidates’ intensity, and at times seems about to doze off for a quick nap (even in the middle of an answer). But if you focus on that part of his style and delivery, you are missing his appeal.

Full story

November 20, 2015

Imperfect Candidates Get Elected


Carroll is challenging Rep. Mike Coffman for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 12:50 p.m. | Every day there’s a new story exposing a candidate or a politician, and each misstep is portrayed as a disqualifier — a mistake that will lead to the candidate’s demise. It can be easy to forget that imperfect people get elected to office.

A few weeks ago, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hosted a few dozen contenders from across the country for a candidate school, and I had a chance to sit down with a handful of them.

Full story

November 18, 2015

Paris Attacks Will Keep Obama and Democrats Playing Defense

US President Barack Obama gestures during a press conference following the G20 summit in Antalya on November 16, 2015. Obama said on November 16 the United States had no precise intelligence warning of the Paris bombing and shooting attacks that have been claimed by Islamic State group jihadists. The United States has agreed to speed up its sharing of military intelligence with France to try to avert such assaults, the US leader added in a news conference after a summit in Turkey. AFP PHOTO /OZAN KOSE        (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

The is no political upside for Obama and Democrats over the Paris terror attacks. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

I say it repeatedly: Events matter. And for President Barack Obama, the terror attacks in Paris present a no-win political situation, at least until other, compelling news changes the subject.

That is not to say the president, the Democratic Party or the likely Democratic 2016 nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, will be fatally damaged by the attacks that killed at least 129 people. The extent of any political damage is yet to be determined and rests, in part, on unforeseen events that will occur in the weeks and months ahead.

Full story

November 16, 2015

Don’t Get Too Caught Up in the Trump and Carson ‘Panic’

Republican presidential hopefuls  Donald Trump and Jeb Bush speak during the Presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on September 16, 2015. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump stepped into a campaign hornet's nest as his rivals collectively turned their sights on the billionaire in the party's second debate of the 2015.  AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite his lead in the polls, Trump hasn’t yet been put to the test on a ballot. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images file photo)

The panic is palpable from the media and too many GOP “insiders.”

The Republican Party is going to nominate Donald Trump or Ben Carson for president, guaranteeing Barry Goldwater-style losses in the 2016 elections and threatening the Republic. Or, as The Washington Post put it on Page 1 of its Nov. 13 issue, “GOP preps panic button,” and “Party elites see doom if Trump or Carson win.”

Full story

November 13, 2015

House Retirement Rush Still Short of Average


Lummis announced Thursday that she would retire at the end of this term. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)


In spite of the recent rush of retirement announcements, this Congress is still below the historical average of exits each cycle, which means more House retirements are likely to come.

Wyoming Republican Cynthia M. Lummis, California Democrat Sam Farr and Texas Democrat Rubén Hinojosa capped off the week by announcing they will not seek re-election next year. The trio makes 14 members who are leaving the House without seeking another office in 2016, according to Roll Call’s Casualty List.

Full story

November 12, 2015

Outsider Bevin Hires Insider Chief of Staff

With his wife Glenna Bevin, center, and Lieutenant Governor-elect Jenean Hampton, right, looking on, Kentucky Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin, speaks to his supporters at the Republican Party victory celebration, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Establishment Republicans gave Bevin’s chief of staff choice high marks. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Maybe Republican Matt Bevin isn’t going to burn down Frankfort after all.

The Kentucky Republican rocked the GOP establishment by challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in last year’s primary and irked some party strategists this year by running his gubernatorial campaign strictly on his own terms.

Full story

November 11, 2015

EMILY’s List Support Isn’t Early Enough for Senate Hopeful

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 21: Democratic candidate Pam Keith, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Florida, is interviewed by CQ Roll Call, September 21, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Keith is running against much better-funded candidates for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pam Keith is a pro-choice Democratic woman running in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country, but the first-time candidate is having trouble getting EMILY’s List interested in her candidacy in Florida.

EMILY’s List was founded 30 years ago to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office. EMILY is an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast,” because “it makes the dough rise.”

Full story

November 10, 2015

Is Vitter on the Verge of Losing Everything?

david vitter

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana isn’t anywhere close to belonging on a list of swing states, yet Republican David Vitter is at risk of losing not only his gubernatorial race this month, but also his Senate seat next year.

The Pelican State’s senior senator has struggled to unify the Republican vote after finishing second in the Oct. 24 jungle primary with just 23 percent. He trails Democrat John Bel Edwards in multiple public polls heading into the Nov. 21 runoff. Full story

November 9, 2015

Hillary Clinton and the Two-Term Jinx

It wasn't a jinx that kept McCain from winning the White House in 2008. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It wasn’t a jinx that kept McCain from winning the White House in 2008. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

I hear it all the time: Voters want change after one party has held the White House for eight years, and that’s why only once over the past six decades has a party held the presidency for three consecutive terms. Tough luck, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The observation has merit, but it isn’t nearly as significant a factor as it may initially seem. Full story

November 6, 2015

Ratings Shift in Three Senate Races


McCain will probably never be safe from a primary challenge as long as he stays in the Senate (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

A year out from the 2016 elections, the playing field of competitive Senate races is still taking shape, with ratings changes in three contests.

The new Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call ratings are listed below — with more analysis is included in Friday’s edition of the Report.

Full story

November 4, 2015

What Does Bevin’s Victory Mean for Vitter?


UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 4: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., leaves the bipartisan Senate luncheon in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Much like Bevin in Kentucky, Vitter has trailed his Democratic opponent in the Louisiana governor’s race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Matt Bevin’s victory in the Kentucky governor’s race is yet another sobering reminder that polling is a risky business. And for some Republicans, Kentucky could be a glimmer of hope for GOP Sen. David Vitter’s gubernatorial bid in Louisiana.

Bevin’s victory wasn’t the political shockwave on par with Eric Cantor’s primary loss in 2014, but the Republican’s margin of victory was stunning.

Full story

November 3, 2015

Why Trump Would Get Out of the Race

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03:  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a news conference before a public signing for his new book "Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again," at the Trump Tower Atrium on November 3, 2015 in New York City. According to a new poll, Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, has pulled ahead of Trump with 29% of Republican primary voters.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Trump speaks Tuesday before a public signing for his new book at the Trump Tower Atrium in New York. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

For Donald Trump and his brand, “winning” is of utmost importance. While his relentless talk about American exceptionalism is appealing to GOP primary voters, Trump’s personal success in life and his front-runner status in the Republican contest are other elements of the billionaire businessman’s appeal. Everybody likes a winner, after all, especially when that winner is sticking it to the establishment.

Unfortunately for Trump, his early lead in the polls and his belief in the certainty of his success have sown the seeds of his own inevitable political destruction.

Full story

Cory Gardner for Veep? Don’t Laugh

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., arrives to hold a news conference outside of the Capitol on therapeutic hemp used to fight seizures for those suffering from intractable epilepsy on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If the overall race is close enough next year, Gardner might just help the GOP carry Colorado. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Though I took notice of Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s endorsement of Sen. Marco Rubio for president, I didn’t immediately think about Gardner as a possible running mate for Rubio  until a CQ Roll Call colleague dropped that pearl of wisdom in my lap.

But there are plenty of reasons why Gardner needs to be on any Rubio shortlist of possible running mates, even this early in the 2016 election cycle.

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...