Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 1, 2014

Posts by David Hawkings

10 Posts

September 6, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Dais Today, Data Tomorrow

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Dais Today, Data Tomorrow

Massachusetts delegates who arrived at Time Warner Cable Arena early rest before the final night of the Democratic National Convention. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: A two-week run of great American political theater comes to an end tonight. The final act starts at 10:10, when Barack Obama takes the stage for his soliloquy. It’s the most-watched and unfiltered opportunity he’ll have in the precisely two months before Election Day to explain why he deserves to become only the third Democratic president in eight decades to win a second term.

Biden gets his half an hour in the spotlight at 9:30 — the decidedly secondary role assigned to make room for Bill Clinton’s captivating if undisciplined “third way” master class. (Biden was the Wednesday night main event four years ago, as were John Edwards, Joe Lieberman and Al Gore before him.) NBC, which is making up for skipping last night’s coverage in favor of the Cowboys-Giants game, will be the only broadcast network carrying the speech.

Full story

September 5, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Inside Game

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Inside Game

Workers clean up to prepare for tonight's program in the Time Warner Cable Arena. The threat of severe weather has moved Thursday night's program into the arena as well. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: The story of the day is that the podium will stay inside for tomorrow night’s Obama and Biden speeches. Convention organizers say they’ve decided the odds of intense thunderstorms in prime time are too strong to risk having the convention finale at Charlotte’s open-air football field; Republicans say the move is more because the Democrats were embarrassingly far away from filling the 74,000 seats in Bank of America Stadium.

The convention’s middle session convenes at 5 inside the 21,000-seat Time Warner Cable Arena for six straight hours of speeches reflecting all the constituencies and agendas of the party — climaxing with the party’s surrogate-speechmaker-in-chief. Bill Clinton will take the stage at 10:30 and is supposed to finish formally nominating his best frenemy before the end of prime time. After that, a ceremonial roll call of the states will last well past midnight before Obama as officially acclaimed the party’s 2012 standard-bearer. (Amazingly, the scheduled benediction afterward is to be offered by Monica Lewinsky’s childhood rabbi, David Wolpe of Temple Sinai in L.A.)

Full story

September 4, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Vision Revision

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Vision Revision

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, does her podium walk-through before speaking at the convention tonight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: The Democratic National Convention will convene at 5, the gavel wielded by national party chairwoman and Florida House member Debbie Wasserman Schultz. (It’s the party’s 47th convention, but only the fifth in the South; Republicans have won the presidency each of the previous times Democrats met in the region — the last in 1988, when Michael Dukakis was nominated in Atlanta.) The party has underscored its “room for everyone” approach by sending 5,556 delegates, more than twice as many as went to Tampa for the GOP convention. Half are women, 27 percent are African-Americans and 5 percent are students — including Samuel Gray of Iowa, the youngest delegate, who won’t turn 18 until just before Election Day. (The oldest is 98-year-old Elzena Johnson of Mississippi.)

The opening night’s marquee attraction is Michelle Obama, whose approval rating of 66 percent is 20 points or so above her husband’s current “favorable” polling average. She’ll take the stage at 10:35 as Character Witness No. 1 and testify that her husband’s life experiences guarantee he understands the struggles of most Americans — in contrast, she will imply but might not say explicitly, to his opponent.

Full story

September 3, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: No Introduction Needed

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: No Introduction Needed

First lady Michelle Obama gets some pointers form a stage manager at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: The hall is the exclusive province of the TV anchors and the curious until tomorrow afternoon. The Democratic Party decided months ago that — because it’s Labor Day and because their convention fundraising was well short of aspirations —  there would only be three nights of speechmaking.

There is some party business going on — caucus meetings for many of the party’s disparate delegate factions: African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, American Indians, other ethnic groups, young people, veterans, the disabled and the religious left. Several thousand delegates spent the day instead at a sprawling street fair staged by the party along Tryon Street, the central business district’s main thoroughfare. But heavy rains drove the crowds indoors before the final headliner acts: James Taylor, West End Mambo, Chairmen of the Board and actor-turned-country-crooner Jeff Bridges (who sounded decent at his sound check this morning).
Full story

September 2, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: The Other Ones

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: The Other Ones

Police get set for the protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the GOP Convention in Tampa, Fla., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: One of the opening rituals for every modern national political convention, an intense Secret Service sweep into every corner and crevice of the arena, has started after a morning flurry of lighting adjustments, sound checks and wire-laying in the Time Warner Cable Arena. (The proceedings don’t start until Tuesday afternoon, and organizers plan to unveil the final logistical tweaks in the morning. The headline will be whether they’ve decided, once and for all, to risk the 40 percent chance of storms now forecast for Thursday and have Obama follow through with plans to give his speech at the Carolina Panthers stadium.)

THE TICKET: “They are exhausted of ideas,” Obama said of the Republicans this afternoon at the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. He’s flying now to Toledo, where he’ll speak at a lunchtime Labor Day rally before heading to Louisiana to view Isaac cleanup efforts. (Romney swung through on the day after his convention speech). Full story

August 30, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Bounce-ology

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Bounce ology

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the GOP Convention in Tampa, Fla., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: The convention’s final meeting opens at 7; the climax starts at about 10:20, when Romney will take the stage (using a set altered just for him, and appearing on every broadcast and cable station with any interest in governance) to deliver the most important speech of his long and varied career.

The first hour’s headliners will be Newt and Callista Gingrich, who will share the stage. There will be the customary video tribute to Ronald Reagan. Decent-shot host-state Senate aspirant Connie Mack has been awarded a few minutes in the national spotlight, but the Floridian who’ll get more coverage is Jeb Bush. His speech is the second-hour highlight. The 9 o’clock hour will be devoted to in-person and on-tape nominee testimonials — from Staples co-founder (and Bain Capital beneficiary) Tom Stemberg; Romney’s lieutenant governor and top economic development official in Massachusetts, Kerry Healey and Jane Edmonds; and Olympians Michael Eruzione, Derek Parra and Kim Rhode.

There’s overwhelming gossip about the identity of a “mystery guest” (Clint Eastwood, almost certainly) to kick off the prime time hour. But the only other scheduled speaker is Marco Rubio, who’s been allotted a full 15 minutes to remind people why he’s a rising GOP star — and to introduce Romney. His speech is supposed to be done in time for the balloon drop to begin right at the start of the 11 o’clock news. Full story

August 29, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Where Is the Wow?

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Where Is the Wow?

Mitt Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, prepares for his speech tonight at the 2012 Republican National Convention. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the GOP Convention in Tampa, Fla., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: The convention convenes for its second day at 7 — but the broadcast networks won’t start showing anything until 10, half an hour before Paul Ryan appears to deliver his acceptance speech and introduce himself to the nation.

The proceedings open with Ayla Brown singing the national anthem (while her dad’s back in Massachusetts working to save his Senate seat). The first hour’s most prominent speakers are Mitch McConnell and his Kentucky colleague Rand Paul — who’s been having a tough time this week balancing his filial loyalty to the convention’s No. 1 killjoy with his desire to be a player in the Senate and the mainstream national GOP. (Romney’s most nettlesome rival, denied his own turn on stage, is leaving town before his son speaks but will be given a video tribute.) The 8 o’clock hour’s top appearances will be by John McCain, John Thune and Rob Portman; beyond personifying the party’s generational shift, all three senators will tout their roles in shaping defense and foreign policy as part of the day’s “We change it” theme.

Full story

August 28, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Looking For a Tail Wind

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Looking For a Tail Wind

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso talks with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on the floor of the Republican National Convention today. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the GOP Convention in Tampa, Fla., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: The 2,286 delegates convened at 2 and are about to start the process of officially nominating Willard Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate for president and Paul Davis Ryan as the party’s candidate for vice president. It’s the convention’s official reason for being, and getting the formalities right out of the way will allow the ticket to start spending the tens of millions already raised specifically for the general election.

After that’s done, the convention will reconvene at 7, with Boehner delivering the opening speech (“Where are the jobs?” he’ll ask, as he always does on such occasions  — heralding the day’s “We built it” theme that Republican small-government is best for the economy.) Other speakers in the first hour include Rick Santorum, talking about welfare to fire up the socially conservative base; the top woman in the House GOP leadership, Cathy McMorris Rogers; and the party’s top African-American congressional recruit, Utah’s Mia Love.

Full story

August 27, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: The Big Left Turn

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: The Big Left Turn

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus officially starts the convention today. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the GOP Convention in Tampa, Fla., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: The 40th Republican National Convention officially opened at 2 and then recessed 5 minutes later (until 2 tomorrow), after RNC Chairman Reince Priebus conducted a single TV-worthy bit of ceremonial business — starting a “debt clock” (hanging off the club-level seats in the Tampa Bay Times Forum) that will measure the rising red ink for the rest of the week. The amount of federal borrowing when the clock was turned on was $15.986 trillion.

THE TICKET: Romney rehearsed his acceptance speech, and his wife practiced her remarks for tomorrow night, near their vacation house on Lake Winnipesaukee before heading to their home in the Boston suburbs. “Our thoughts are with the people that are in the storm’s path and hope that they’re spared any major destruction,” Romney told reporters as he left his New Hampshire retreat. But, when asked if he was considering curtailing the proceedings in Tampa, he replied: “We’ve got a great convention ahead.” (The campaign announced that Romney would preview his acceptance speech Wednesday at the American Legion convention in Indianapolis.) Full story

August 26, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Isaac Haze

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: Isaac Haze

Workers prepare for the start of the 2012 Republican National Convention by trashing a sign that spells "Change" because it was too small. It is being replaced with one that has bigger letters. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing is being published from the GOP Convention in Tampa, Fla., this week. For more information on signing up to receive this free email, click here.

THE PODIUM: It’s cordoned off until tomorrow afternoon, when the Republican National Convention will be called to order — just for a few minutes, after which it will be recessed until sometime Tuesday, after Tropical Storm (probably Hurricane, by then) Isaac has done whatever damage it’s going to do to the city. Planners say that at 5:45 today they’ll unveil their alternative three-days-instead-of-four schedule.

THE TICKET: “It really is sad, isn’t it, with all the issues that America faces for the Obama campaign to continue to stoop to such a low level,” Romney told Fox when asked about efforts to link him to Todd Aiken’s statements about abortion and rape. In the taped interview, he also said the controversy created by the Missouri Senate candidate “hurts our party and I think is damaging to women.” Full story

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