Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 17, 2014

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

Chris Van Hollen Talks House Races and Playing Paul Ryan in Debate

Chris Van Hollen Talks House Races and Playing Paul Ryan in Debate

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democrats still have a shot at winning back power of the House, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told Roll Call on Wednesday in an interview.

“The House is still up for grabs,” said Van Hollen, the former two-term chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (2008 and 2010 cycles).

Democrats need to net 25 seats in November to reclaim the gavel, and their “drive for 25″ slogan has been a rallying cry heard this week at almost every Democratic convention event involving House Members.

But despite Democrats’ optimism, most political handicappers have begun to rule out a change of power.

“No. 1, we will win seats,” Van Hollen said. “Two, the momentum is with us. I think the selection of Paul Ryan on the ticket has actually sharpened the issues in a lot of these races and helped Democratic challengers.”

Full story

California: Internal Poll Has Alan Lowenthal Up 20

California: Internal Poll Has Alan Lowenthal Up 20

(Douglas Graham CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

A poll conducted for the campaign of California state Sen. Alan Lowenthal found the Democrat ahead of his Republican opponent by 20 points in the race for the newly drawn 47th district. Full story

For Barack Obama, it’s Never Been About ‘Better Off’

For Barack Obama, its Never Been About Better Off

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Obama campaign and its chief surrogates have spent the week here cleaning up a mess from the Sunday talk shows, when they collectively declined to answer “yes” to the question: Are Americans better off than they were four years ago?

Answering this question in the affirmative is standard practice for a president running for re-election — regardless of the circumstances he finds himself in. Vice President Joseph Biden tried to reset the campaign’s answer on Monday by telling a crowd at a rally in Detroit: “If you want to know whether we’re better off, I got a bumper sticker for you: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!”

By the end of the Labor Day holiday, everyone on team Obama was with the program, and in the two days since, the president’s supporters have told anyone who asks — or who will listen — that Americans are better off today than they were four years ago. But that has never been President Barack Obama’s re-election message, nor his argument for why he deserves a second term. And it still isn’t.

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California: Abel Maldonado Launching First TV Ad

Abel Maldonado, a former California lieutenant governor, is launching his first television ad today in his challenge of Rep. Lois Capps (D).

The Republican is taking on Capps in the Santa Barbara-based 24th district, which was redrawn in redistricting last year as a far more competitive district for Capps. Maldonado uses his first ad to introduce himself to voters, highlight his business background and run against an unpopular Congress.

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Missouri: Claire McCaskill, Back in School

Missouri: Claire McCaskill, Back in School

(Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) put her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri here to good use. Along with stints in the Missouri state and Jackson County legislatures, she’s won two statewide races for auditor, lost a gubernatorial race, won her Senate seat in 2006 and is now running for re-election.

And as the Democratic Party convened its national convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday to renominate President Barack Obama, she quite literally went back to school in the Show Me State, kicking off a series of events at local universities, starting with Mizzou, her alma mater.

“This is really weird for me. I spent a lot of time in this building … a long, long time ago,” she said. McCaskill received her undergraduate degree in 1975 and her J.D. from the university’s law school in 1978.

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Rahm Emanuel to Raise Big Money for Super PACs

Rahm Emanuel to Raise Big Money for Super PACs

The Washington Post reported that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is leaving his post as the Obama campaign’s honorary chairman to raise unrestricted money for Obama-friendly super PACs. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

When it comes to political money, President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney are delivering the same message from their respective conventions: Do as I say, not as I do.

Last week, Romney told Fox News Sunday that he “absolutely” supports public financing, even as his party’s convention platform outlined opposition to disclosure legislation and to existing limits on soft (unregulated) money. To confuse matters further, Romney has also called for throwing out limits on donations to parties and candidates.

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New York: DCCC Independent Expenditure Targets Chris Gibson

New York: DCCC Independent Expenditure Targets Chris Gibson

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm is set to launch a new ad on Thursday knocking freshman Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.).

The ad hits Gibson, who is running for re-election in the newly configured 19th district, for his support for the budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee. Hewing to the standard Democratic line of attack, the ad says Gibson voted to “essentially end Medicare,” quoting an oft-cited Wall Street Journal story from 2011. Republicans argue that Ryan’s plan will preserve Medicare for future generations.

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Indiana: Club for Growth Boosts Richard Mourdock With $800K Buy

Indiana: Club for Growth Boosts Richard Mourdock With $800K Buy

(Shira Toeplitz CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

The conservative cavalry will boost Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) with a massive television ad buy for his Senate campaign.

The Club for Growth announced today that it bought $800,000 in ad time to run a spot attacking the Democratic nominee, Rep. Joe Donnelly, as a “Washington liberal” on cable and broadcast.

The television buy comes just in time for Mourdock. Democrats have released several internal polls showing the two candidates have been in a statistical tie since the May primaries. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.

Full story

Weather Forces Barack Obama’s Speech Indoors

Weather Forces Barack Obamas Speech Indoors

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democratic officials announced today that President Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech scheduled for Thursday has been moved from Bank of America Stadium to Time Warner Cable Arena because of anticipated thunderstorms.

Full story

September 4, 2012

Democrats Hammer Mitt Romney for Quote He Never Said

Democrats Hammer Mitt Romney for Quote He Never Said

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was among those who hammered Mitt Romney for words he didn't say or write. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — From dawn to dusk on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, Democratic leaders seemingly used Mitt Romney’s own words against him in front of delegations and national television audiences.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, echoing others, described Romney tonight in his speech as “a person who said in four words, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt.’”

Except Romney never said or wrote it.

The source of the quote is a November 2009 op-ed Romney wrote in the New York Times. The editorial Romney wrote is not nearly as definitive as that headline, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

Full story

Kennedy Tribute Sets Tone for DNC’s First Night

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An emotional tribute to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) set the tone for the first night of the Democratic National Convention here, reminding delegates of the key facets of his legacy, from health care to his early support of President Barack Obama.

A seven-minute video was broadcast to delegates and a national audience, ending with a picture of Obama walking side-by-side with an ailing Kennedy, ambling with a cane in the waning days before he lost his battle with cancer.

Kennedy’s image served as both a hopeful reminder of the energy that surrounded Obama’s 2008 campaign and an eerie foil to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who challenged Kennedy in 1994 for his long-held Senate seat. The video cut by the Democratic National Committee included footage of Kennedy attacking Romney in a now-infamous debate. Full story

Harry Reid Slams Mitt Romney on Taxes Again in Convention Speech

Harry Reid Slams Mitt Romney on Taxes Again in Convention Speech

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In one of the toughest speeches of the Democratic National Convention’s first night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized Republicans and again implied that their party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, skipped out on paying taxes.

The Nevada Democrat accused the GOP as a whole of being under the thumb of Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist and called the tea party a group of “extremists and ideologues.”

He went on to describe Romney as a “beneficiary” of a “rigged game.” Full story

Democrats Officially Kick Off Convention in Charlotte

Democrats Officially Kick Off Convention in Charlotte

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Debbie Wasserman Schultz gaveled the Democratic National Convention to order this evening, kicking off the event that will officially renominate Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and Florida Congresswoman welcomed delegates and guests.

She said the convention was about more than just demonstrating why Obama should get a second term in the White House.

“It’s about Americans coming together to build one economy: not from the top down, but from the middle class out and the bottom up,” she said. Full story

Democrats Like Their Chances of Holding the Senate

Democrats Like Their Chances of Holding the Senate

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is among the Senate candidates speaking at the Democratic National Convention this week. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee believes it is in a better position today than it was at the beginning of the cycle, when the lopsided number of Senate seats the party was tasked with defending in battleground states put its 53-47 majority in jeopardy.

“Relative to where we started the cycle in January of last year, we’ve made significant improvement in our chances of holding on to the Senate,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said today in an off-camera briefing with reporters at the Charlotte Convention Center. Full story

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