Eugene Mulero

Swift of Tongue and Hoping to Be Fleet of Foot

Three decades ago, Sen. Max Baucus was the fastest man in Congress. 

At the inaugural American Council of Life Insurers Capital Challenge, the Montana Democrat finished the three-mile course in 18:15. Baucus no longer runs in the race, but his record still stands in the male Senator category. Until recently, it didn’t seem anybody would break his mark anytime soon. 

Your Wife Is Lovely: The Hunt to Meet Clooney

A postcard from the weekend from CQ Roll Call's Eugene Mulero: How the dreams of one reporter's wife came true this past weekend:

It is said the most important day in a woman’s life is when she meets George Clooney. For Sarah, my wife, that day happened Saturday at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

Watchdogs Say Transparency Efforts Fall Short

Thanks to a website launched in January, the public for the first time has a centralized location to track bills on the House floor. It’s the latest step Congressional leaders have taken to open up the legislative process.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the site a “victory for open government.” Leading government watchdog groups say it isn’t nearly enough and fear lawmakers might actually be going in the opposite direction when it comes to transparency.

Book Dissects Role of Independent Voters

Sometimes it seems like American politics has been reduced to the tea party vs. Occupy Wall Street. Author Linda Killian would like to posit a different scenario: independent voters who can bring both ends toward the center.

The former senior editor at NPR labels the group “NPR Republicans.”

What About After Bob?
With Fiery Filner Retiring, Veterans’ Groups Looking for a New Advocate

Rep. Bob Filner’s legendary quick temper and fierce combativeness have landed him in trouble more than once during his two decades in Congress.

Those same attributes have endeared him to a generation of veterans whose organizations have come to depend on the Californian, the ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, to serve as their tribune.

Capitol Police Take Stand Against Seats

A Wednesday labor-management meeting could decide whether the Capitol Police switch to low-back, slant-seated stools that have been harshly criticized by officers during a trial run.

“I don’t see the need for them. The chairs we have now are fine,” one officer told Roll Call. “We have plenty to do as is, and now we have to worry about sitting on a screwy stool.”

Coffee Was a Staple of Ros-Lehtinen’s Youth

Exiles sipping coffee at Miami’s Versailles restaurant has become one of the enduring images of the Cuban experience in America. Havana-born Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has transplanted the ritual to Capitol Hill.

The Florida Republican is known to drink four or five cups of Cuban coffee a day.

Cupcake Craze Continues

From Longworth to Dirksen, Hill staffers can’t stop talking about cupcakes.

They critique them in elevators. They share recipes over Gchat. And they order them as gifts by the dozen.

You’ll Like Ike’s Farmhouse
President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Gettysburg Home Provides Insight Into the Private Life and Mindset of the Man Dubbed the ‘First Citizen of the World’

On a recent tour, Lionel Wells, a volunteer guide with the National Park Service, told a dozen tourists to look out for President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s love for the color green while touring the 34th president’s 189-acre property in Gettysburg, Pa.

Wells has led tours for thousands of visitors at the Eisenhower National Historic Site, and he is always quick to point out the president’s fascination with green hues. Eisenhower painted his farmhouse’s shutters forest green, as well as part of the living room, the den and his bathroom. His wife, first lady Mamie Eisenhower, opted for a bright pink bathroom, complete with bright pink tiles and an even brighter pink floor mat.

Celebrity Chef’s Big Plans in D.C.

In the final episode of Bravo’s “Top Chef All-Stars,” Mike Isabella wowed judges with a red pepperoni-based sauce. Gail Simmons, one of the judges on the show, proclaimed it a masterpiece — praising its texture, consistency and flavor.

The show, with its soap-opera plot and quirky challenges, propelled several contestants to stardom. Isabella, a North New Jersey native in his mid-30s, would go on to earn runner-up honors in the competition.

Akaka Injured in Fall

Sen. Daniel Akaka broke two ribs in a fall Monday at his residence in Alexandria, Va., spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said Thursday.

The spokesman described the 86-year-old Hawaii Democrat’s fall as a minor accident, but it prevented the Indian Affairs chairman from overseeing a hearing Thursday. Akaka plans to return to work on Capitol Hill next week, possibly as soon as Monday.

Hundreds Run in ACLI Challenge

After Tammy Duckworth was injured while fighting in Iraq in 2004, a volunteer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center told her to train for a marathon. 

Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, lost her legs and severely injured an arm after her Black Hawk helicopter was ambushed north of Baghdad. During her rehabilitation at Walter Reed in Washington, D.C., a group of trainers spotted her and encouraged her to take up wheelchair racing. 

Brooks Examines Modern Life With Fictional Couple

Everyone knows the truism, “money can’t buy happiness.” And the Beatles told us that riches “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

In his latest book, New York Times columnist David Brooks confirms those conclusions. “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement” examines how intangibles such as  self-respect, ambition and emotional maturity determine success and happiness.

Pawlenty Back in Spotlight With Book

A lot of people thought 2008 was a disappointing year for Tim Pawlenty. After all, the former Minnesota governor was on the short list to join Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that year on the presidential ticket. Instead, then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin captured the spotlight at the Republican National Convention, held across the street from Pawlenty’s former Minnesota state Capitol office.

Reflecting on that presidential contest, Pawlenty is back to join the national conversation, hosting a series of town halls in rural America in support of his memoir, “Courage to Stand: An American Story.”

Books Speak Volumes About Congressional Reform

Tea partyers disheartened with the ways of Congress and those who believe Congress is broken and needs fixing have a few choices in new and updated books. 

Authors Joseph Gibson and Lloyd Lim, piggybacking on the Republican wave in the 2010 midterms, have presented their ideas on how to achieve that elusive change in government. Gibson, a former GOP Hill staffer, writes in “A Better Congress: Change the Rules, Change the Results” about the problems that led to the reforms and changes in Congress several decades ago, even as the procedures of the House and Senate (specifically the filibuster), as well as the influences from special interests, keep lawmakers repeating what they do as long as they keep getting re-elected.

Author Discusses Key Lessons of Minnesota Recount

While Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, captured the hearts of conservatives at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota, an array of attack ads bombarded the homes of families from St. Paul to Chickamaw Beach.

Writer Al Franken (D) and incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) were neck-deep in a fierce fight for a seat in the Senate. Much of that fight involved their not-so-nice TV spots. In the ads, Franken reminded voters of Coleman’s ties to the then-unpopular President George W. Bush and Coleman reminded constituents that Franken was a comedian.

Book Review: Rice Digs Roots in Family-Centric Memoir

Many of the larger-than-life personalities from the George W. Bush era grabbed headlines with hawkish sentiments about the Middle East. By contrast, Condoleezza Rice initially came across as a cool presence in the chaotic post-9/11 world.

But that administration's execution of the war on terror turned out highly unpopular, and it marred Rice's otherwise stellar career as a foreign policy intellectual.

More Proof That War Is Not a Game

In the play "The Great Game: Afghanistan," soldiers are killed in poppy fields, warlords marry young girls and extremists run around with big guns.

It is a dangerous place where if the Taliban doesn't kill you, a bomb dropped thousands of feet above you will.

For War's Counterinsurgency, a How-to Guide

At a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing, Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) asked Gen. David Petraeus whether the U.S. military had the best counterinsurgency force that the world has ever known.

Without hesitating, Petraeus, who last week was appointed the new commander in Afghanistan, answered, "Yes."

Nancy Pelosi's Multimedia Road to the Top

Without the Internet, Nancy Pelosi would not be where she is today. That's the argument in a new book, "Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics" by University of Oklahoma professors Ronald M. Peters Jr. and Cindy Simon Rosenthal.

For all politicians, "the internet has strengthened parties by creating new pathways for raising money, coordinating and disseminating their messages, and running campaigns," the authors write.