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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Taking On Wright


The policy at the National Press Club is that one must submit a question on a note card to be asked by a moderator. And yesterday at Rev. Wright's appearance, my question regarding Rev. Wright's HIV conspiracy theories was asked.

And while I am never a fan of skirting manners, Rev Wright's obnoxious and inappropriate treatment of the moderator (and the rest of the press for that matter) caused me to break the silence and confront Wright directly.

Here's what the transcript on the wires says happened:

MODERATOR: In your sermon, you said the government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. So I ask you: Do you honestly believe your statement and those words?

WRIGHT: Have you read Horowitz’s book, “Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola,” whoever wrote that question? Have you read “Medical Apartheid”? You’ve read it?

(UNKNOWN): Do you honestly believe that (OFF-MIKE)

WRIGHT: Oh, are you — is that one of the reporters?
MODERATOR: No questions -

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: No questions from the floor. I read different things. As I said to my members, if you haven’t read things, then you can’t — based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything.

In fact, in fact, in fact, one of the — one of the responses to what Saddam Hussein had in terms of biological warfare was a non- question, because all we had to do was check the sales records. We sold him those biological weapons that he was using against his own people.

So any time a government can put together biological warfare to kill people, and then get angry when those people use what we sold them, yes, I believe we are capable.


So I am guilty of being Mr. "Unknown" in that transcript.

Here's how a wire story late in the day put it...

When asked if he still believes the U.S. government created HIV "as a means of genocide against people of color," Wright asked the moderator if she had read Emerging Viruses: AIDS And Ebola: Nature, Accident or Intentional? Then, Griff Jenkins, a Fox News correspondent who apparently wrote the question, stood up and asked Wright to answer the question. "No questions from the floor," Wright shot back.


I have not, nor do I intend to, read Leonard G. Horowitz's book cited by Rev. Wright. However, if you would like to do so, one can find it at Amazon.com under the "Conspiracies" category.

After the speech, several people came up to me and said that they appreciated my speaking out during Wright's Q&A because what he seems to be doing is simply enjoying his own personal show - but at the cost of spewing divisive rhetoric in the name of God.

Rev. Robert Schenck of the National Clergy Council told me, "I came here somewhat naive thinking he might be being misunderstood... now I hope he faces even tougher questions."

This is a man who does not deserve a free pass by the media.

Monday, April 28, 2008

WHCA Dinner

Here was the highlight of the WHCA dinner for me - meeting "Jackass" Star Johnny Knoxville (fellow Tennessean!) Check it out!
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

In Search of Mr. Super

Somewhere 4 Hours outside of Washington...

I am traveling today in search of Mr. Super. He is one of the more than 300 undeclared superdelegates -- who blogs under pseudonym "Mr. Super."

We are in hopes of making contact with him to find out what he can tell us about what these mysterious undeclared supers are saying about the state of the race for the Democratic nomination. We may be able speak to him on camera - but will have keep his identity concealed.

You can read his blog at www.mrsuper.org.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Results are IN


Well the guys at AnObamaMinute.com didn't quite reach their goal - in fact, they only hit a quarter of their mark -- just over $250,000.

But despite falling short of their goal, Founder Scott Cohen does call it "an enormous success."

And considering that a quarter-million is nothing to sneeze at - I would imagine we can see more these movements in the future.

Monday, April 21, 2008

0-$1 MIL in 60 Seconds


Sen. Obama has continued to shatter all politcal fundraising milestones on planet Earth - raising more than $230 Million to date. That's nearly a QUARTER BILLION DOLLARS, folks!!

But today, at 1pET, thanks to an independent filmaker named Scott Cohen (no formal association with the Obama campaign), Obama may raise one million dollars in ONE MINUTE!

Cohen's website www.anobamaminute.com has a countdown clock to 1p ET today at which time he hopes thousands of supporters will click "donate!"


Cohen figures the match creatively too... "100,000 Baristas x $10 = $1 Mil" or this one "40,000 Teachers x $25 = $1 Mil." And he has pre-registered thousands already, has the endorsement of the 1.6-strong SEIU, and got shout outs all weekend at music festivals across the country.

No money goes directly to Cohen's website. Rather, his website during those precious sixty seconds, connect to Obama's official site where the donation is received.

I asked Scott yesterday if he thought he'd hit his goal today, and he responded with a resounding, "I'm pretty damn confident!"

But Cohen added, that more than the money, "this is about the power of small communities to amplify their voices."

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Pope and Surfing








What do the Pope and Surfing have in common?


Probably not much... but it's Friday and I wanted to post these photos I got this week from...


My wife, Kathleen, who was fortunate enough to go see the Pope in the Rose Garden Wednesday.



And my pal Carter Evans (Courtney Friel's hubby) who's "arms are like rubber from surfing so much" this week in Hawaii! (Curse you, Carter Evans!!)



Have a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Man who beat a Tiger!


A funny thing happened when I left the greenroom at FOX after Live Desk Monday - I bumped into this year's Masters Champ - the man who beat out the great Tiger Woods for a green jacket -- Trevor Immelman.

Immelman is a 28 year old from South Africa and a really, really pleasant and genuine guy.

Congrats to a gracious Champ!


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Good is YOUR Pope Trivia?


I was sitting on the set of Live Desk with Host Martha MacCallum and fellow panelists Alisyn Camerota & Doug Schoen... when Martha issued a challenge... Pope Trivia!

Now the question you will discover in the video below was also Martha's question of the day for her viewing audience -- so IF you are a faithful viewer of Martha MacCallum's LIVE DESK at 1pET (and you SHOULD BE) then you will already know the answer to this question and look like you are a smart person when it comes to your Pope Trivia.

If you think you KNOW the right answer: email it to griffsnotes@foxnews.com.

Good Luck!

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Why BLOGS Matter

blog (v.)
to write entries in, add material to, or maintain a weblog.
(American Heritage Dictionary)



I read a fascinating tidbit in the Washington Post yesterday. In Joel Achenbach’s column, he wrote:

“The first use of the word ‘internet’ to refer to a computer network seems to have appeared in this newspaper on Sept 26, 1988, in the Financial section, on F30 – about as deep into the paper as you can go without hitting the bedrock of the classified ads.”


Fast-forward 20 years… Today Sen. Barrack Obama, who at the beginning of last week, seemed all but certain on the path to clinching the Democratic nomination, is now ferociously defending himself against charges that he is an out of touch “elitist” over comments he uttered in San Francisco when describing the situation of some small town Pennsylvanian voters.

Why?

Because of a blogger named Mayhill Fowler at Huffingtonpost.com who broke the story… and then, it went “viral.”

Now pay attention to that term “viral” because you are going to hear it again and again. It refers to what happens when a story EXPLODES in the blogosphere and the speed with which it can move in cyberspace.

And the REAL power of a story exploding on the Internet is that it almost always features amateur Audio or Video of the person or events taking place. So whether you like or not, or are willing to admit it or not, we live in a 24-7 digital world where the cameras and tape recorders are always rolling. TV crews can’t be everywhere – but your average citizen’s cell phone likely comes standard now with a camera.

The end reality is this: traditional journalists in TV, radio and print have trouble keeping up with the story and highly orchestrated campaigns go into overdrive and almost inevitably lose control over the message.

Turn on any TV today and you will see Obama spinning away; and Clinton and McCain hammering, chiseling, whittling at the opportunity.

The real point here is that what began in the blogosphere, is essentially driving the NATIONAL CONVERSATION in a matter so incredibly important as deciding the future Leader of the Free World.

Think I’m wrong?

Ask former Sen. George Allen, or “Mr. Macaca.” By realistic estimation, there was a good chance that George Allen might have been the Republican nominee today had not a blogger been at a small gathering of folks with a mini-camera in the hills of VA.

Understand too, that there are bloggers of partisan sentiments on the Left and Right (think Daily Kos versus Red State) as well as a plethora of fantastic political journalist blogs like Politico.com, the Corner, the Page, the Note, Marc Ambinder and so forth.

Bottom Line: What seemed like something out of a Sci-Fi novel two decades ago, will in my opinion, ultimately play a historical role in deciding who our next President will be and politicians or campaigns will forever have to change how they approach engaging that odd thing called… the Internet.

We’ve come a long ways from “Tune In and Drop Out”… it’s “Log On and Digg In” now!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bottoms UP!


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (identified as HRC later) made an unannounced visit to a local favorite watering hole called "Bronko's" in Crown Point, IN last night.

Here's part of our esteemed embedded producer Mosheh Oinounou's note who was there:

HRC stopped by Bronko's, a Valparaiso area restaurant/bar, where she greeted abt 200 patrons. She drank a beer and downed a shot of Crown Royal whiskey. She initially took two sips of the CR shot and about a minute later--then put her head all the way back and took the shot down like a champ.

She then sat down to eat some pizza with local residents and local political officials.


SO... Here's my Question: Does this affect your opinion of her as a candidate?

Personally speaking, it's not a negative in MY book!

(Photo courtesy: SunTimesNewsGroup. Clinton at Bronko's last night.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Blogger's Round Table!


On Tuesday, I spent the better part of an hour talking to Army Col. Wayne Parks at the Combined Arms Center in Ft. Leavenworth, KY on the Pentagon's running series "Blogger's Roundtable."

Here's Col. Parks title -

DIRECTOR, COMPUTER NETWORK OPERATIONS PROPONENT, ELECTRONIC WARFARE PROPONENT
AND TRADOC CAPABILITIES MANAGER FOR ELECTRONIC WARFARE INTEGRATION AT THE
COMBINED ARMS CENTER.


Need I say more? With daily cyber attacks from China and Russia and non-state terrorists, Col Parks has quite a tough time. Many of the milbloggers on the call also took Col. Parks to task and challenged him on the military's response time in cyberspace. It was VERY interesting and you can listen to the call and read the transcript here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Protesters Getting Kicked Out!

Perhaps the most exciting moment of the hearing yesterday was when Sen. Biden unexpectedly banged the gavel and ordered "the people making noise" be removed.

Needless to say, the protesters weren't happy about it and I just happened to have my handy camera nearby...

This is the exchange between the protesters and the Capitol Police.


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LIVE at the Petraeus-Crocker Hearings

I'm inside the Hart Senate Office Building at the Foreign Relations Cmte testimony of Gen Petraeus and Amb Crocker.

At the very moment (1625 ET) Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, is grilling his witnesses about the political progress in Iraq...

There's a lot of folks live blogging too - Carrie Sheffield of the Washington Times, Tom Ricks of the Washington Post and John Bresnahan of Politico.com.

And lots and lots of cameras for this historic hearing.

There are also several protesters in the room too! A woman immediately behind me is holding a sign that reads: SURGE OF SUFFERING.

So there are protesters - inside this actual room mind you - that are dressed in black robes, wearing white masks and have fake blood on their hands!

If they create a scene, I'll report what I can...

There's also members of the freerepublic.com community - one guy who's got a sign that
protests THE PROTESTERS!

I shot some video of people outside that I can post later - sentiments seem to be running very high here today on both sides.



Monday, April 7, 2008

What is a SUPERDELEGATE???


We all know who Superman is, most of us watch the Super Bowl -- and some of us are even guilty of being "Super-Sized" at the drive-thru...

But what is this mysterious and all-powerful "Superdelgate" that we keep hearing about?

Who are they? And where can I get one?

Well, first of all - a Superdelegate is a party activist or elected official who has a vote at the Democratic National Convention equal to a single delegate.

There are 794 of them and Senators Clinton and Obama are courting and wooing each and every one of them - because they are likely to become the deciding factor in this year's democratic nomination.

Why is that? It's because without them, neither Obama nor Clinton can clinch the nomination. Obama leads Clinton in the overall delegate count, but without the superdelegates, neither can reach that magic number of 2025.

Among the superdelegates currently, Sen. Clinton has the lead with 251 of them to obama's 221 while 322 remain uncommitted.

It's worth noting too that when you hear about them, it only refers to the Democrats because Republicans don't use Superdelegates.

Now what makes these unpledged supers so powerful is that unlike a "pledged" delegate in a primary or caucus, these Superdelegates can change their mind anytime and as often as they like between now and the convention in August.

And to make matters even more complicated, some of the Superdelegates have SUPER POWERS!!

Superdelegates like California’s Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres (who by the way hasn't taken sides yet) has the authority to name FIVE additional superdelegates.

And why do the Democrats have them? Because the party made changes in its delegate selection process after George McGovern’s failed presidential bid in 1972 – IRONICALLY intending to better represent the will of the voters in the primaries and balance or weaken control by the party leaders.

So it’s all eyes on folks like Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Ed Rendell… and a 21 year-old named Jason Rae.

There's even news today by NYT's John Harwood that ANOTHER Super will announce today for Obama - Margaret Campbell, a Montana State Legislator.

So it's official folks: WE ARE ON SUPERDELEGATE WATCH!

And that, is what a Superdelegate is… Want fries with that?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Costa Rica v. Burger King


Burger KING Don’t Surf… Well, maybe he does actually and we just don’t know it!

But he’s definitely not surfing in my favorite surfing Mecca: Costa Rica!

Check out this excerpt from the wires this morning…


Government officials said Friday they have banned commercials for the hamburger chain that depict mothers trying to run over company's plastic-headed signature character or hire a hit man to kill him because their kids prefer burgers to home-cooked meals.

The vice minister of the interior, Ana Duran, said the commercials on national TV trivialized violence.

The Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion on Friday published a letter from a mother asking how she was supposed to explain to her 5-year-old son why somebody was trying to kill the Burger King.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Meet Patrick Hynes

Here's the dirty little secret of this year's Presidential Election: It's taking place ON THE INTERNET!

From the bulk of campaign cash to the campaign message - almost everything takes life FIRST on the web. And for the campaigns -- all three have online armies -- controlling the buzz, conversation and message can be a tough task.

John McCain's official blogger is Mr. Patrick Hynes. His main job is serving as the blog outreach coordinator for the campaign. He is also the President of New Media Strategics (an online PR firm) and proprietor of anklebitingpundits.com.

Patrick has been traveling and blogging with the Senator this week during his "Service Tour," and I caught up with him today to find out what the latest buzz on the digital campaign trail was this week.

Check it out!


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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rolling in the DOUGH!


Well the big news on the Campaign Trail today: Barack Obama’s big cash haul of $40 million for March – that included an impressive 218,000 “first time” contributors. Sen. Clinton released her March tally today too – raising roughly $20 million. McCain’s campaign has yet to release their figures, but sources suggest it’s likely to be along the lines of Clinton’s total – or about half of Obama’s figure.

But there is a great, untold story here that no one is paying attention: the parallel presidential campaign taken place on the Internet – and amounting to a virtual ATM machine that’s churning out cold, hard cash!

While many younger voters are getting their issues and political fixes on YouTube, Facebook and MySpace, all three Presidential Candidates – Obama, Clinton and McCain – are raising the BULK of their money from online contributions!

The Obama campaign freely acknowledges the importance of their web-based strategy and noted to FOX News that they held “very few” fundraisers in March and that their average donation was less than $100.

And while the Clinton Campaign only matched half of Obama’s bank for March, Clinton Spokesman Howard Wolfson said in a conference call today that they did have a “million dollar day” on the web at the end of the month.

Perhaps what is MOST interesting about this story to me is that it wasn’t Howard Dean’s notorious online fundraising in 2004 that started it all (although Obama and Clinton both have benefited greatly from the Dean lessson), but rather John McCain’s campaign in the 2000 primaries that “pioneered” the opportunities of using the Internet. In particular, longtime McCain staffers Max Fose and Becky Donatelli (both advisors today as well) are frequently credited with trailblazing the idea of “eCampaigning.”

So if you’re following this presidential race – and you want to know the latest and greatest on the Trail – you better get on the digital side of these campaigns… because that’s where the REAL action is taking place!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jury Duty!


Yesterday it was my turn to honor my civic duty calling in the District of Columbia. Fortunately, my old neighbor and pal Cliff McKinney was summoned as well -- so the boredom wasn't too bad.

Here's a clip of me finally being called for a potential juror pool and Cliff's disappointment in not getting picked...

But you have to be careful what you wish for because by the end of the day, I was dismissed for good (I'm apparently not juror material) but poor Cliff got picked to serve on a criminal trial through NEXT WEEK!


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