Democratic life is ‘a party’

Democratic life is ‘a party’

By Pamela King

Terry McAuliffe said he decided to let his son, Jack, take the driver’s seat. Jack hit the gas and proceeded to run into former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Clinton immediately stood up, brushed herself off and shouted, “Hey Jack, did Bill [Clinton] teach you how to drive?”

This was one of the stories McAuliffe, former chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and best friend of the Clintons, told the audience Friday when he came to Northeastern to talk about his new book, “What a Party! My Life Among Democrats,” Monday night in West Village F.

McAuliffe talked about the good times as well as the bad he had with major democratic political figures. He told of one time, after dinner with the Clintons, when they turned on the television and the only channel they could watch was ESPN because all other channels were covering the impeachment of President Clinton.

McAuliffe also discussed his work with John Kerry during the 2004 election.

“I’ve lost more than I have won, but I’ve had a lot of fun doing it,” McAuliffe said when discussing President Bush’s victory.

As soon as McAuliffe finishes promoting his book, he will be the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, he said. As chairman, McAuliffe’s duties will range from getting people excited about his candidate to organizing her primary campaign.

McAuliffe does all his work pro bono, and he has started over two dozen companies in banking, insurance, marketing and real-estate. He was able to retire at an early age, which allows him to pursue his political passion, he said. As chairman of the DNC, McAuliffe raised over $1 billion. He wrestled an alligator for $15,000 and sang in front of thousands of people for $500,000.

“I’ll do anything once,” McAuliffe said.

His fund-raising strategy is to convince people his candidate is going to win, get them committed to his cause, then to “drive them crazy,” he said.

But he is not only interested in large donations; McAuliffe said he collects from everyone.

“If you’ve had 10 cents in your pocket I’ve worked with you,” he said.

The event included a brief question and answer session in which McAuliffe answered questions about the Bush administration, fund-raising techniques and the much-anticipated 2008 presidential election.

Jaclyn Karvelas, a freshman psychology major said she liked McAuliffe because he was “straight to the point … something you don’t expect from most people in politics.”

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