"I believe our nation is at a crossroads," Griffiths said during a press conference in Alabama Tuesday. "I can no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy, and drives us further and further into debt."
"For me to be true to my core beliefs and values, I must align myself with the Republican Party and speak out clearly on these issues," he added.
Washington (CNN) - Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine got a holiday surprise Tuesday morning when a mysterious "Barry from D.C" called WTOP's call-in radio show to complain about traffic.
Turns out the call was coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and was none other than President Barack Obama.
"Well, uh Governor Kaine, this is actually the President of The United States calling," Obama said after being announced on the show as "Barry from D.C."
Kaine, seemingly taken by complete surprise responded with laughter saying, "No. Oh my gosh."
"I just wanted to say how proud we are of your service as governor of the Common Wealth of Virginia," Obama continued. "And just wish you and the family all the best this Christmas season after just a terrific round of service for the people of Virginia."
Kaine thanked the president for his warm wishes, and said in his four years as governor his happiest day was when Obama was elected president.
The two went on to joke about their wives being "superior" to them.
"You and me have to stick together since we're married to better people," Obama joked.
Kaine, who was named Chairman of the Democratic National Committee last January, will be succeeded as governor by Republican Bob McDonnell in January 2010.
Kaine said he looked forward to continuing to be "helpful."
(CNN)– In a late night posting on her Twitter feed, Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin continued to blast climate change believers Friday, calling the talks in Copenhagen, Denmark a representation of man's "arrogance," for believing people have an impact on nature.
"Arrogant&Naive2say man overpwers nature," Palin tweeted.
"Earth saw clmate chnge4 ions;will cont 2 c chnges.R duty2responsbly devlop resorces4humankind/not pollute&destroy;but cant alter naturl chng," the former Republican vice presidential nominee wrote.
Palin's latest comments come after weeks of tangling over climate change with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former vice president Al Gore, and President Obama.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Palin urged the president to boycott the climate talks, calling his presence at the conference a "political move."
"The last thing America needs is misguided legislation that will raise taxes and cost jobs – particularly when the push for such legislation rests on agenda-driven science," Palin wrote. "Without trustworthy science and with so much at stake, Americans should be wary about what comes out of this politicized conference. The president should boycott Copenhagen."
When Schwarzenegger questioned Palin's stance on climate change, Palin quickly hit back saying the actor-turned-governor was acting "greener than thou."
And when former vice president Al Gore dubbed her a climate change "denier," Palin hit back at him too, accusing him of promoting "doomsday scenarios."
"Climate change is like gravity – a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it," Palin wrote on her Facebook page.
During the vice presidential debate last year, Palin said she was for capping carbon emissions but did not elaborate on how she would do that.
Washington (CNN)– Former President Bill Clinton is lending a helping hand to Sen. Blanche Lincoln's re-election campaign in a fundraising e-mail sent out Thursday.
Clinton, who was governor of Arkansas for 12 of the 14 years prior to winning the White House, asked Lincoln's supporters stand beside her in her "tough fight" for re-election by donating to her campaign.
In the e-mail, Clinton also recalled how Lincoln fought for Arkansas when he was president.
"I remember all those times when I was in office and Blanche came to me with her 'to-do list' for Arkansas," He wrote. "...And most of those times, Blanche got what she asked for."
Lincoln, who is the first female Chair of the Senate Agricultural Committee, is seeking re-election to a third term.
Washington (CNN) - First Lady Michelle Obama challenged chefs from Iron Chef America to make 'garden fresh fare' in an upcoming special holiday installment of the Food Network show.
"Super Chef Battle," features Iron Chef Bobby Flay partnered with White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford competing against Iron Chef Mario Batali and Chef Emeril Lagasse.
In a preview of the special Comerford, who has been cooking for presidents since the Clinton administration, said the chefs were in "awe" of everything they saw at the White House.
The chefs were kept in the dark about most of the challenge, other than its special location inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
"We had no idea what was gonna be unveiled." Lagasse said. "I was kind of waiting for the chairman to mysteriously come out of the White House...and then all of the sudden the First Lady Mrs. Obama comes out and stunning– I mean absolutely striking."
In the weekly Republican radio and Web address, Blackburn said the Presidents plan for energy efficiency will only push the country toward a deeper economic recession.
"If President Obama has his way, the Copenhagen conference will produce mandatory emissions limits that would destroy millions of American jobs and damage our economic competitiveness for decades to come," the Tennessee congresswoman said.
While in Copenhagen, Denmark, next week, Obama is expected to set a goal of reducing emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels over the next decade.
"Just think of what will happen to small businesses and manufacturers hit with these skyrocketing energy bills," Blackburn added. "With Americans already facing double-digit unemployment, there could not be a worse time to unilaterally disarm our engines of job creation and economic growth."
According to the latest CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll, six in 10 Americans support a "cap and trade" proposal to cut pollution.
Touting her proposed bill H.R. 391, which aims amend the Clean Air Act so greenhouse gases are not subject to the act, Blackburn emphasized the Republicans aren't opposed to energy efficiency.
"Republicans are all for clean water, clean air, and clean energy," Blackburn said. "We just don't think we have to tax people out of their house and home to get there. That's why we have proposed an 'all of the above' energy strategy that says, let's put every clean, responsible energy option on the table so we can create jobs, ease the strain on family budgets, and clean up our environment."
(CNN) - The city of Houston could elect its first openly gay mayor in Saturday's election runoff, according to a new poll, which would make it the largest city in the country to elect an openly gay mayor.
City Controller Anise Parker leads attorney Gene Locke by 13 points, 49 percent to 36 percent according to the latest poll put out by Rice University in Houston. Fifteen percent of likely voters questioned said they were unsure who they would vote for.
Parker and Locke, who are both Democrats, face off for the second time Saturday because neither emerged with more than 50 percent of the vote in the November 3 election.
The poll, conducted December 7-9, has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.7 percent.
"Our economy is growing again," the president said in his weekly radio and Web address. "The flood of job loss we saw at the beginning of this year slowed to a relative trickle last month. These are good signs for the future, but little comfort to all of our neighbors who remain out of a job. And my solemn commitment is to work every day, in every way I can, to push this recovery forward and build a new foundation for our lasting growth and prosperity."
Obama said his recent proposals to provide additional tax cuts and lending for small businesses, and his support of the unemployment insurance extension will help keep the economy moving in a positive direction.
Obama also said Friday's passage of the financial reform legislation will make the U.S. economy less vulnerable to future problems.
"Yesterday, the House passed comprehensive reform legislation that incorporates some of the essential changes we need, and the Senate Banking Committee is working on its own package of reforms," Obama said. "I urge both houses to act as quickly as possible to pass real reform that restores free and fair markets in which recklessness and greed are thwarted; and hard work, responsibility, and competition are rewarded – reform that works for businesses, investors, and consumers alike."
"We can't afford to let the same phony arguments and bad habits of Washington kill financial reform and leave American consumers and our economy vulnerable to another meltdown,' He said.
Washington (CNN)– Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele called for a Senate Ethics Committee hearing to evaluate any possible wrongdoing by Sen. Max Baucus Saturday.
In a statement released by the RNC Steele said:
"Today's report that Senator Max Baucus used his Senate office to advance a taxpayer funded appointment for his staff-member girlfriend raises a whole host of ethical questions. This issue demands the attention of the Senate Ethics Committee. They should hold a hearing to identify who was involved in this process, what they knew and when they knew it, and why Senator Baucus put his personal needs above those of the people of Montana."