At the moment, however, Rosslyn is the hub of 2016 activity surrounding Hillary Clinton. Ready for Hillary (a super PAC that is working to boost the idea of a Clinton campaign) and America Rising (a GOP firm that has led the charge against her) moved into the same neighborhood in 2013 and have spent more than a year working just six blocks apart. (Ready for Hillary has 25 staffers based in Rosslyn; America Rising has 50.) And both groups are just a few blocks from Politico, which has a team of reporters devoted to covering 2016.
It's a weird cultural quirk of Washington that political opponents often find themselves in close quarters. But the quarters seem especially close in Rosslyn, where everyone is going to the same half-dozen eateries to grab a quick lunch or using Café Asia or Piola for meetings with clients or reporters.
"When our respective staffs get off the Metro each morning, they turn right [on Wilson Boulevard], and we go left," Bringman told me. "We don't share each other's politics, but we do share happy-hour spots, apparently." (Indeed: between January and late November of last year Ready for Hillary spent $1,936 at Café Asia, per Federal Election Commission reports.) Says Miller: "Our only interaction is at the various chain dining establishments in Rosslyn."
I worked for Politico for three years, so I know the terrain well. I used to frequent Rosslyn's Panera Bread, Chipotle, Roti Mediterranean Grill, and Brown Bag. More than once, I ran into Miller outside the Rising offices on my walk home. While reporting this piece, I returned to the Starbucks on North Lynn Street; even after almost eight months away, the barista recognized me immediately and remembered my regular order.
"You have to be careful about what you talk about in public, especially if your work focuses on sensitive things like heavy opposition research," says Liz Mair, a Republican digital strategist who lives and works in Rosslyn. "It's very, very easy to be sitting with your back to the salad bar in the cafeteria in 1100 Wilson and never even clock that someone from Politico is right behind you, adding croutons to their plate and getting dirt you really don't want them to have right then, because your entire conversation is audible."
Back in 2013, Terry McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign was headquartered in the same office complex that Ready for Hillary now occupies. The location—across the street from Politico and local TV station WJLA (which covered the Virginia governor's race)—led McAuliffe aides to warn staffers at meetings that they needed to keep quiet at the Starbucks or Chipotle for fear of accidentally giving a reporter an unintended scoop.
"Being in Virginia shouldn't lull reporters or operatives into a false sense of security," Brennan Bilberry, who served as McAuliffe's communications director, told me recently. "You're more likely in Rosslyn than most of D.C. to have your lunch conversation overheard by someone you'd prefer wouldn't."