Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 6, 2015

Posts by Stuart Rothenberg

225 Posts

June 30, 2015

When the Second Time Isn’t the Charm

Santorum speaks during the Faith & Freedom Coalition'’s Road to Majority Conference. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Santorum speaks during the Faith & Freedom Coalition’’s Road to Majority Conference. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I feel bad for Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry. They are presidential retreads at a moment when anything that is more than an hour or two old is passé.

John McCain was a retread in 2008 (having lost a bid for the GOP nomination in 2000), as was Mitt Romney four years later. Ronald Reagan was a retread in 1980, and Richard M. Nixon was one in 1968. But they’re ancient history. Times have changed. Full story

June 23, 2015

Does Scott Walker Have What It Takes to Win in 2016?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is widely viewed as a top-tier hopeful for the GOP presidential nomination. But it’s less clear he has the right profile to knock off the likely Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Walker’s strength in the nomination race comes from his positioning in the Republican Party.

Full story

June 16, 2015

The Iowa Straw Poll: Put a Stake Through Its Heart

iowa straw poll

Bachmann addresses supporters and media in Ames, Iowa, after winning the 2011 straw poll. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Iowa Straw Poll is dead for 2015. Let’s hope it doesn’t resurrect its ugly head for the 2020 cycle and beyond.

Almost four years ago I wrote a column, “The Nothingness of the Iowa Straw Poll,” in which I disclosed that I had canceled my trip to cover the 2011 straw poll. Full story

Roll Call at the Big 6-0

Roll Call's softball team from the early 2000s.

Roll Call’s softball team from the early 2000s.

During my 23 years at Roll Call (my first column was published on June 11, 1992), I’ve seen many changes at the newspaper. It has been forced to evolve because journalism has changed more radically than any of us could have imagined.

Politics, too, has changed. In the summer of 1992, we still talked about the GOP’s “lock” in the Electoral College and the Democrats’ unassailable stranglehold on the House of Representatives, and we had no idea that two decades later we would witness the election of an African-American president, the birth of something called the tea party or the White House candidacy of a former first lady — twice. Full story

June 8, 2015

Can Marco Rubio Save the GOP in 2016? (Video)

Rubio does not fit the typical Republican presidential candidate demographic. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rubio, of Cuban descent, doesn’t fit the typical GOP presidential candidate demographic. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican presidential field looks unusually diverse this cycle — an African-American (Ben Carson), an Indian-American (Bobby Jindal), a woman (Carly Fiorina) and a Hispanic, or, if you prefer, a Cuban (Marco Rubio). One candidate is married to a Hispanic originally from Mexico (Jeb Bush).

There is even a Canadian in the field.

Full story

June 2, 2015

Party’s History of Establishment Picks Could Be Over (Video)

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Was Romney the last establishment pick for the Republicans? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Battles for the Republican presidential nomination almost always come down to two alternatives — an establishment-backed candidate with pragmatic instincts and an insurgent (often significantly more conservative) who tries to appeal to constituencies that feel ignored.

And except for 1964, when an insurgent Barry Goldwater defeated a slew of establishment opponents, and, possibly, 1980, the establishment has won these fights to select the party’s presidential nominees.

Full story

May 26, 2015

How to Fix an Unfair Presidential Debate System

A Santorum fan in Iowa awaits the August 2011 presidential debate. The former senator could be excluded from this year's debates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Santorum fan in Iowa awaits the August 2011 presidential debate. The former senator could be excluded from this year’s debates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fox News and CNN, which will broadcast the first two GOP presidential debates, have decided on a system for excluding candidates that could result in Donald Trump participating in those debates but current or former senators and governors being excluded.

Nice going, guys.

Full story

May 18, 2015

Can Republicans Repeat an Upset in Colorado?

Bennet xxxx. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bennet, left, is not in a Tossup race. At least not yet. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The May 5 email I received from Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s campaign committee opened with: “Larry Sabato in Politico: COLORADO IS ONE OF ONLY SEVEN 2016 TOSS-UPS. Colorado will decide the 2016 election!”

Forget the fact Sabato’s piece was talking about the Electoral College and the presidential contest, not the Senate race in the Centennial State. The Bennet campaign wants you to know control of the Senate after 2016 rests on Colorado, and you’d better dig deep into your pockets if you want to re-elect Bennet and assure a Democratic sweep in the state.

Full story

May 12, 2015

Why It’s a Mistake to Dismiss Bobby Jindal

Jindal speaks at CPAC in National Harbor, Md. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jindal speaks at CPAC in National Harbor, Md. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is a bit of a conundrum.

Full story

May 8, 2015

Caveat Emptor, in Political Giving Too

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

Two days before the Tuesday special election in New York’s 11th District, I received one of those hysterical email requests for money.

I’m on many candidate, political action committee and interest group email distribution lists, so I get them from both sides. This one was from something called Patriots for Economic Freedom. Full story

May 4, 2015

How Much Trouble Is Richard Burr in?

How vulnerable is Burr? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

How vulnerable is Burr? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr apparently is easy to underestimate.

The former Wake Forest football defensive back (he played at 6’1’’, 200 pounds as a sophomore in 1975, according to the university’s Athletic Media Relations Department) served five terms in the House and is now in his second term in the Senate.  He is the Tar Heel State’s senior senator and, more importantly, chairs the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, a particularly meaningful position given terrorist threats to the United States. Full story

April 29, 2015

Is John Kasich in the Top Tier in 2016?

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rothenberg is expecting a Kasich 2016 bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Perpetually in motion, Kasich is a whirlwind of restless energy and is sometimes criticized for being cocky,” reads the 1996 Politics in America profile of the then-Ohio congressman.

The 1992 edition of The Almanac of American Politics described John R. Kasich as “peppery and brash, spewing forth ideas, a fair percentage of which are good and some of which even get enacted into law.”

The 2000 edition of Politics in America declared the Ohio Republican “has zeal and vision, but he also tends to run late, thrash his arms and talk in sports metaphors.” Full story

April 27, 2015

Hillary Rodham Romney? Keep an Eye on O’Malley (Video)

For all her recent efforts to prove her progressive credentials to Democratic primary voters and caucus participants, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has not made those on her party’s left entirely comfortable with her. And she never will.

Because of that, a credible alternative would have the capacity to rally progressive Democrats behind a challenge to the former first lady, possibly even creating an entertaining skirmish or two.

Full story

April 23, 2015

‘Big Money’ and the 2016 Elections

Elections 2016

Will campaign finance issues get some attention during the 2016 elections? Sure. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reporters love to write about money in politics, so I shouldn’t have been at all surprised by an April 20 Washington Post article suggesting campaign finance is becoming an issue in the presidential contest.

But a front-page story above the fold that relied on a couple of anecdotes and never came close to demonstrating that “big money” was becoming a crucial issue to voters?

Full story

April 21, 2015

The Mystery of a Possible Florida Senate Candidate

Elections 2016

Lopez-Cantera, left, could run for Senate. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images File Photo)

A handful of Republicans are currently being mentioned as possible Senate candidates for the Florida seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination.

Former Rep. Bill McCollum, who has run repeatedly (and often unsuccessfully) for statewide office, is mentioned, as are a handful of House members, including Rep. Ron DeSantis, a tea party favorite. Full story

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