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#tbt Trivia: Strange Mailings Edition

The only thing better than celebrating a birthday is celebrating it all year long. Roll Call is turning 60 and we’re doing a whole bunch of stuff to mark six decades of covering Congress.  

That’s why we’re doing congressional trivia for #ThrowbackThursday via the @rollcall Twitter feed. Follow along  there!  

Miss the previous iterations? Find them here and here  and here .  

Now get started on the next round, crafted from Roll Call’s archives.  

Q: Which former president was mistaken for a page when he first came to Congress, prompting the creation of lapel pins for members of the House? A: As reported by Roll Call on March 21, 1968, a common issue for members of the House was mistaken identity. Even former President John F. Kennedy was not immune. According to the article, JFK was once mistaken for a page. When former Rep. Bob Doughton asked him to deliver a message, he complied. Rules Chairman William M. Colmer said there were times he would just as soon not advertise that he was a member of Congress.  

Anonymous Solons Seek Identity
Kennedy was mistaken as a page.


Q: What did someone send members of Congress to encourage them to address job training, health care and education? A: Matthew Lesko sent members jars of chicken guts, with a letter attached reading, “The country is ready to make the sacrifices necessary to move in the right direction, providing you have the guts to lead us there.” The note also added a suggestion the members throw out the jars sooner rather than later, as they eventually would explode. Lesko put a lot of thought into this particular idea, contacting a variety of animal-organ producing businesses before settling on the chicken guts. The only people to respond to the prank were the Capitol Hill police.  

Matthew Lesko was questioned by Capitol Hill police after sending jars of chicken guts to members.
Lesko was questioned by Capitol Hill police after sending jars of chicken guts to members.

Q: What scale did Roll Call’s completely unofficial House ideological spectrum use as its measurements in 1994? A: The controversial ranking system used antiwar heroine Jane Fonda in 1968 to represent the far left, and Russian political activist Vladimir Zhirinovsky as the marker for the far right. Readers expressed a lot of concern about the scale. Further in from the extremes: Speaker John A. Boehner was ranked as a “Rush Limbaugh” (far right) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer was ranked Certifiably Liberal (or a Hillary Rodham Clinton).  


Do you have a suggestion for future questions? Other fun stuff found in your stack of newspapers? Let us know by emailing christinabellantoni – at –  

Related: #tbt Trivia: Capitol Hill’s Past #tbt Trivia: Test Your Congressional Brain #tbt Trivia: How Well Do You Know Congress? Roll Call Trivia Night The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

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