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2008 People
of the Year: Chad Griffin

2008 People
of the Year: Chad Griffin


After becoming the youngest person to ever work on the president's staff under Bill Clinton, Griffin wrangled Hollywood Heavyweights Brad Pitt and Steven Spielberg to donate to No on 8.

Chad Griffin got his first taste of politics in 1992 working at Bill Clinton's campaign headquarters in Little Rock, Ark., under the tutelage of Dee Dee Myers. When Myers set off for Washington, D.C. -- she'd eventually become Clinton's press secretary--the 19-year-old Hope, Ark.-native followed and became the youngest person ever to work on the president's staff.

One of Griffin's responsibilities while working on Pennsylvania was serving as a White House contact for director Rob Reiner, who was researching his 1995 film An American President, and the two became friends. Griffin eventually passed on a job offer at the State Department to become the head of Reiner's nonprofit organization, now known as Parent's Action for Children.

Today the 35-year-old Griffin keeps a hand in both politics and entertainment as president Griffin Shake, a political and philanthropic communications agency, and Armour Griffin, a political advocacy and advertising agency. So it's no surprise that the folks at Equality California called him when Proposition 8 fell into trouble this September.

Griffin immediately e-mailed Brad Pitt -- he had helped facilitate Pitt's New Orleans relief organization Make It Right -- and within 24 hours, the actor had pledged $100,000 to fight the proposition. He tapped Pitt's collaborator, client Steve Bing for another $500,00, asked former supermarket magnate Ron Burkle to host a $500-a-head fund-raiser (featuring performances by Mary J. Blige and Melissa Etheridge) at his Hollywood home, and conceived and executed anti-Prop. 8 ads like the one featuring Sen. Diane Feinstein. Despite all his efforts, Griffin isn't dwelling on the loss; he's already begun gathering a coalition to planning the next move. For the boy from Hope, success is all in a day's work.

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