George Bush's Last Gridiron Club Dinner - Part 1
George Bush's Last Gridiron Club Dinner - Part 2
Obama's Speech And Bush Video Above At The Gridiron Club Shows Democrats And Republicans Work Together In A Two Party Dictatorship.
Here Is Obama's Speech Below.
It's great to be at the Gridiron dinner. Wow, What an extravaganza! Men in tails. Women in gowns. An orchestra playing, as folks reminisce about the good old days. Kind of like dinner at the Kerrys.
Nice to see you Mr. President and Mrs. Bush. I think it takes a great spirit for the President, who we all know is an early riser, to sit here until midnight and hear himself lampooned, when he could be back at the White House enjoying a quiet, peaceful night, watching TV and approving secret wiretaps.
I don't see the Secretary of State is here tonight. You know, the President promised a muscular foreign policy. And anyone who's seen the Condi Rice workout tapes knows he means business.
The truth is, I'm terrified to be here. Not because you're such a tough audience, but because they're serving drinks, I'm standing about 30 yards from the Vice President, and…Mr. Vice President this is too easy!
Mr. Vice President, I know you came here expecting to be a target, which, it turns out, may prove easier for you than shooting at one. But I do want to thank you: for years, we Democrats have succeeded in doing little more than shooting ourselves in the foot. You've taught us a valuable lesson: aim higher.
There's probably only one person more sick of these jokes than you… and that's your wife. It's an honor to share this stage with Lynne Cheney -- a great personage in her own right. Scholar. Author. A few years ago she wrote a book called, “Telling the Truth, or as they call it in the Vice President's office, “Telling the Truth-24 hours later.
The Vice President and I do have one thing in common, we both married up. I want to acknowledge my wife, Michelle, who is here tonight.
This is a true story: a friend sent me a clip about a new study by a psychologist at the University of Scotland, who says sex before a public speaking engagement actually enhances your oratorical powers. I showed this clip to Michelle, before we arrived here tonight. She looked it over, handed it back and said, “Do the best you can!
This appearance is really the capstone of an incredible 18 months. I've been very blessed. Keynote speaker at the Democratic Convention. The cover of Newsweek. My book made the best-seller list. I just won a Grammy for reading it on tape. And I've had the chance to speak not once but twice before the Gridiron Club. Really what else is there to do? Well, I guess…. I could pass a law, or something…
About that book, some folks thought it was a little presumptuous to write an autobiography at the age of 33, but people seemed to like it. So now I'm working on volume two-the Senate Months. My Remarkable Journey from 99th in Seniority to 98th.
(With an introduction by Nelson Mandela.)
Believe me, when you're the last guy to ask questions at every committee hearing, you have plenty of time to collect your thoughts. Especially when Joe Biden's on the committee.
I'll tell you, that Grammy was a big surprise. I thought, for sure, Jack Abramoff would win for his rendition of “It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp.
As I said, it's great to be here speaking opposite Lynne Cheney. As you may know, Mrs. Cheney was a late substitution for Senator John McCain. And speaking of Senator McCain.
This whole ethics thing has been an adventure. I was really excited when they asked me to be the lead Democratic spokesman. But I don't know. Turns out, it's a little like being given the Kryptonite concession at a Superman convention. I mean, how did I know it was a freshman hazing? It gets a little depressing. So as I sometimes do when I get a little down, I wrote a song. Maestro?
(To the tune of “If I Only Had a Brain)
I'm aspiring to greatness, but somehow I feel weightless
A freshman's sad refrain
I could be a great uniter, making ethics rules much tighter
If I only had McCain
I could bring us all together, no storm we couldn't weather,
We'd feel each other's pain
Red and blue wouldn't matter, party differences would shatter
If I only had McCain
Oh why is it so hard, for honest men of good will to agree,
If we ever found a way to strike a deal, would we survive… politically?
When a wide-eyed young idealist, confronts a seasoned realist
There's bound to be some strain
With the game barely started, I'd be feeling less downhearted
If I only had McCain
Still I hope for the better, though I may rewrite my letter
Cause I gotta have McCain
Needless to say, my Grammy was in the spoken word category!
I should say that I really do get along well with Senator McCain. But as you know, not everyone in politics does. Because of his superstar status, his virtuous image, the kind of hero worship treatment he gets from all of you, some of my colleagues call John a prima donna. Me? I call him a role model. (Think of it as affirmative action. Why should the white guys be the only ones who are overhyped?)
By the way, before I forget, raise your hand if Karl Rove didn't tell you about Valerie Plame?
You know, The Gridiron Club is an aging institution with a long, proud history, known today primarily for providing a forum for jokes. To some, that may sound like the Democratic Party.
You hear this constant refrain from our critics that Democrats don't stand for anything. That's really unfair. We DO stand for anything.
Some folks say the answer for the Democratic Party is to stop being so calculating, and start standing up for principle. In fact, Harry Reid's appointed a task force to study this option.
But really, they say our party doesn't have ideas? We have ideas.
Take John Edwards. He's leading a new war on poverty… from his Chapel Hill estate. And he's educating us. I had no idea there was so much poverty in New Hampshire!
Speaking of New Hampshire, a lot of speculation that that 2008 campaign could come down to Senator McCain and Hillary Clinton. The thing I don't think people realize is how much John and Hillary have in common: They're both very smart. Both very hardworking. And they're both hated by the Republicans!
A lot of folks want to be President, but, I mean, wow, it really has been a rough period for you, Mr. President. I missed the Oscars, so when I picked up the paper the next morning and saw “Crash‿ in the headlines, I just assumed it was another Bush poll story.
And how about that ports deal? I feel for you, sir. It's tough getting trapped in a storm, when no one comes up to help!
And then there's the flap about global warming. You know, the Bush Administration's been a little skeptical about the whole concept of global warming. It's actually not the warming part they question. It's the globe.
The President was so excited about Tom Friedman's book, The World is Flat. As soon as he saw the title, he said, “You see, I was right!
But when people say the administration is hostile to science, that's really a bad rap. Just last week they asked for a hundred million dollars for the NIH to fund new research into leech therapy.
I was told that this dinner is off-the record… no taping or recording of this event, unless, of course, secretly authorized by the President.
I completely trust the President with that authority, by the way. But just out of an abundance of caution, and not implying anything, I've asked my staff to conduct all phone conversations in the Kenyan dialect of Luo.
Truth is, this domestic spying has all kinds of useful applications for Homeland Security. And I have a suggestion, in this regard, Mr. President: You can spy on the Weatherchannel, and find out when big storms are coming.
You all watch the winter Olympics? Mrs. Bush was there, representing our country, and that was great. I'm sure a lot of us in politics were following that figure skating, because we can identify with performers who spin wildly and sometimes fall on their butts.
And the curling. Wasn't that something? I hear Andy Stern from the SEIU loved the curling so much he's trying to organize the sweepers.
I also enjoyed that biathlon, where they ski and shoot at the same time. Probably not your sport, Mr. Vice President.
Hey, it's been great fun to be a part of this tonight. But before I go, I want to say a few words about the work you do.
For a democracy to succeed and flourish, people must have full and free access to information about what's going on in their world and, yes, in their government.
The framers of the Constitution understood that, which is why the very first amendment deals with the indispensable freedoms of speech and press. Those rights, those freedoms, the access to information citizens absolutely require in a democratic society are no less important today.
Pursuing that information is not always easy. Sometimes you meet resistance from powerful institutions that would sooner operate in secrecy. And sometimes, as in Iraq, you literally risk your lives to keep the American people informed.
Tonight, even as we laugh together, I want to thank you for that important and often courageous work and extend my prayers to those journalists and their families who have made and continue to make great sacrifices to fulfill this essential mission.
And most of all, I want to thank you for all the generous advance coverage you've given me in anticipation of a successful career. When I actually do something, we'll let you know.
Thanks for having me!
History Of The Gridiron Club:
The presidency of the club rotates annually, and for 2008 is held by Carl Leubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News.
The Gridiron Club is best known for its annual dinner which traditionally features the United States Marine Band, along with satirical musical skits by the members and remarks by the President of the United States and representatives of each political party. The skits and speeches by various politicians are expected to be self-deprecating or otherwise sharply comedic. Every U.S. President except Grover Cleveland has spoken at the dinner since 1885. Hillary and Bill Clinton have both spoken at Club dinners, and the 2008 dinner marked the sixth time that that President George W. Bush attended during his presidency.
The dinner is held in the Spring, usually in March. Between 1945 and 2006, the dinner was held at the Capital Hilton. But it moved in 2007 to the Renaissance Washington. It is one of the only remaining large-scale white-tie affairs in Washington. It offers a neutral ground on which members of the press and various elected officials and political operatives can break bread together. Also as is true of the WHCA Dinner and RTCA Dinner, the Gridiron Club Dinner has been subject to criticism that it encourages journalists to engage in undue coziness with the political officials they are supposed to fairly cover, and also that the public spectacle of "playing footsie" with reporters' main subjects is bringing the political press into disgrace. For example, at the 2007 dinner, columnist Robert Novak impersonated Vice President Dick Cheney while satirizing the Scooter Libby case, which Novak helped initiate.
Goose and Gridiron Masonic Lodge History
An alehouse with this sign, in St. Paul's Church Yards London. In 1717 the Lodge of Antiquity met at the Goose and Gridiron, and it was there that the first Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge of England, after the revival of 1717, was held on the 24th of June, 1717. It was on the headquarters of a musical society, whose arms a Iyre and a swan were converted into Goose and Gridiron.
- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry
The First Grand Lodge
By H. L. Haywood
POPULAR assemblies of all male citizens for law making and law enforcing purposes were an old Saxon institution in England. Every town or shire had its own; the assembly (later on, court) of the shire met twice a year; the Witan-a-gemote, at which all the males of the kingdom were to assemble, was convened once a year. In the course of time these assemblies came to be made up of representatives, but originally every male citizen was supposed to be present in person. The gilds of Operative Masons, like all other gilds of the period, also had their own assemblies. Much is made of these in the Old Charges but the references therein are so meagre and at times so confusing that to date it has not been possible to quite make out just how the Masonic assemblies were organized and managed. R.F. Gould was of the opinion that the "assemblies" referred to in the Old Charges were nothing other than the general assemblies just referred to, but G.W. Speth and others of Gould's associates could not agree with him because they found so many evidences to show that Masons had their own craft assemblies like other gilds. It may well be that the Masons did have their own assemblies but held them at the same time and place as the general meeting of citizens in order to save time and inconvenience. For the present purpose it is not necessary to argue the point; the fact remains that Masons in old times had some kind of general, or central, assembly at fixed intervals at which matters appertaining to the Craft in general were taken up.
As population increased and the machinery of government became more complicated these assemblies were discontinued, at any rate one would so judge from the scant records available. By the time lodges began to be made up of Speculative members it appears that no assemblies were held at all, and that lodges existed independently of each other, with no central governing authority over them. Each of these autonomous lodges could make Masons at its own discretion, and according to the old rules, so that it was not necessary, as it now is, for a group of Masons to first secure a charter before forming themselves into a lodge.
Such is the picture we must keep before our eyes when we think of Masonry as it was in the beginning of the eighteenth century. Here and there, scattered about over the Kingdom, were independent lodges; in some cases the membership was wholly Operative, so that every member was engaged in the building trade; in other cases non-Operative members made up a portion of the membership, and in a few cases all of it. The general unity of the Craft was maintained by adherence to the old customs and by use of the Old Charges, which, in many cases one may suppose, functioned much as charters now do.
1. FIRST GRAND LODGE IS ORGANIZED
It was in the midst of such circumstances that the first Grand Lodge was organized in London, 1717. William Preston, whose Illustrations of Masonry did so much to shape the popular conception of Masonic history, says that after the London fire several Masonic lodges were organized in London and that Sir Christopher Wren was a kind of Grand Master of them all, and when Wren had grown too aged to look after the affairs of the Craft a move was set under way to organize a Grand Lodge. Inasmuch as the records show that Wren was a member of the Lodge of Antiquity, and therefore in the Craft, there is nothing improbable in Preston's account, but Preston has been so nauch in doubt for his accuracy in matters of fact that one must let the point rest in abeyance.
Almost the only source of knowledge we possess of the formation of the first Grand Lodge are the pages of Anderson's Constitutions, 1738 edition. Therein one may read the account which follows, the words of which are so familiar to every student of Masonic history:
"After the Rebellion was over, A.D. 1716, the few Lodges at London.... thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the center of Union and Harmony, viz., the Lodges that met,
"1. At the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul's Church yard.
"2. At the Crown, Ale-house in Parker's-Lane, near Drury-Lane.
"3. At Be Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent-Garden.
"4. At the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel-Row, Westminster.
"They and some old Brothers met at the said Apple-Tree, and having put into the Chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge), they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro Tempore in Due Form, and forthwith revived the Quarterly Communication of the Officers of Lodges (called the Grand Lodge), resolv'd to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast, and then to chuse a GRAND MASTER from among themselves, till they should have the Honour of a Noble Brother at their Head.
On St. John Baptist's Day, in the 3d Year of King George I, A.D. 1717, the ASSEMBLY and Feast of the Free and Accepted Masons was held at the aforesaid Goose and Gridiron Ale-house.
"Before Dinner, the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) in the Chair, proposed a List of proper Candidates; and the Brethren by a Majority of Hands elected Mr. Anthony Sayer, Gentleman, Grand Master of Masons, who, being forwith invested with the badeges of Office and Power by the said oldest Master, and install'd, was duly congratulated by the Assembly who pay'd him the Homage."
Mr. Jacob Lamb, Carpenter Grand Wardens Capt. Joseph Elliot