Thursday, May 10, 2007

Terry McAuliffe: E=mc^2

Terry Alligator McAuliffe, May 9

So I got to see Terry McAuliffe in person yesterday. When I think Spitzer, I think the word substance. When I think McAuliffe, I think alligator. The image is stuck in my mind. It will never go away. But the actual word is energy.

He is just so very amazing. He just oozes bountiful energy. He started "dozens of companies" and was retired by the time he was 35. Politics is in his blood. It is like he had a tic. "Bill Clinton is the most expensive friend I ever had."

When he came in, it was amazing to see him work the room. He went from person to person, no hurry. He was with who he was with. He has "raised more money than anyone is history."

I am sure he has told the stories many times, but he manages to pour it fresh.

He asked for a show of hands. Only five or six people had read his book. Only one other person besides him was in the "top 1% income bracket." And I doubt that other person was exhibiting the truth.

So McAuliffe is so rich, he might be a Republican! Does he feel your pain?

He poured out a few stories from his book. One was that he was in Korea with Clinton, and you know how "Bill Clinton never sleeps." So, Terry, why don't you come up with me and play cards? 10 in the evening to four in the morning, he is playing cards. Then he begs off. The following day he finds out the Korean Secret Service had cabled their head office saying a "young, good looking man" was in the Clinton room for hours. This was in 1999.

This is an amazing time to be a Democratic Party sympathizer. Good times are here. I was strongly for Hillary. Then I switched to Obama. But that does not mean I stopped liking Hillary.

First quarter fundraising showed Obama doing real well. But Hillary won the South Carolina debate and gave herself a jump in the polls.

2008 is for the Democrats to lose.

The way I am looking at it right now, one of these is going to be President, another is going to be Vice President.

Spitzer came out a few days ago saying he is going to work for gay marriage in New York. He basically walked out of the 2008 race in doing that.

So it is Obama-Hillary or Hillary-Obama. It is one of the two possibilities. Right now it looks like Hillary-Obama.

My favorite story about Hillary is when she and Princess Chelsea made this trip to India. And then went to this remote, remote village. And they got surrounded by all these women. And they said that Hillary has no idea what it means to them that she is here. I agree. Hillary had no idea. Hillary still has no idea.

Hillary as President and Obama as Vice President will mean Obama will have plenty of time to succeed and become President himself, he is more than a decade younger. Plus, people live longer these days. Look at old man McCain. Hillary's is a race against time more than Obama's is.

I like them both. And it is not just gender and race, although that it is. They are both outstandingly able. For a woman and some black dude to go up that high, they have to be oustandingly able by definition.

And they compete with each other, the way political competition should be. There is no bad blood, there are no slimeball attacks at each other. They genuinely like each other.

I am a nobody. I don't get to influence the election one way or the other. Heck, I can't even vote. But I am into it for the sports of it. And the pleasure of rooting for Obama is to realize I am playing shadow boxing with Pele Clinton. The guy does not know I exist. But he does leave footprints. And I get to organize my thoughts and offer counter strategies.

But then there is a genuine competition of ideas and organizational skills. The Clinton Machine is a creation not just of Bill but also of Hillary. Her tapping into it is very fair. She pretty much made Bill Clinton. She is smarter than him. At this point I don't know if that means she also has as good political instincts. She authored "triangulation" while Bill Clinton was floundering after the 1994 defeat.

But then Barack Obama also has many advantages. Hillary has conceded he has more charisma than she does. The guy is smart. He offers a certain freshness. And he had a dizzying first quarter success.

So although Hillary has the lead, Obama has the superior trajectory.

They really, truly are neck and neck. There is no telling which way the wind will flow. Expect Obama to give a much more superior performance at the next debate. Otherwise if he bombs at two to three more debates, he is history. History as in, he is running mate.

No matter who gets the top slot, Bill Clinton has to be sent out to work out the final map for the Middle East. He can do it like noone else can. And after he does it, he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

This is a blessed time to be a Democrat.

And Spitzer as Governor might cook up the best ideas that can then be sent to the rest of the country. I am blindsided he is taking the lead on the gay marriage issue. This is gutsy. I like him even more now.

Spitzer is a Hillary fan. That part is so very obvious.

So McAuliffe finishes his talk. And I am right in front of the stage. We made eye contact a few times. He has a magnetic personality. He lingers on the stage to meet people, sign a few books. I walk away. I take a few steps. He comes from behind me and keeps walking. One step ahead of me he says, "Buy the book!" Could it have been said to me? This is not a self-esteem question. This guy is a national legend. I am just one face in the crowd.

Before the event started, I spotted these three Indian young women. One of them was handing out flyers for the Obama event on Saturday.

"Are you Indian?"

"I am half Indian."

The next one was Sapana. The third said her name was Rachael. She had walked over earlier to the bar table next to me but did not make eye contact. Now this was a race issue. You are a brown guy who probably likes white women. It is really curious how the racial dynamic and insinuations work. In NYC, all that plays out in real small space, and specks of time. So it feels dense.

Elizabeth Caputo was in-charge. I was surprised Dave Pollak was not around. Justin Krebs did not show. Kristina Hoke did not. DFNYC notables did not. Lewis Cohen usually shows up for big wigs like this one. He did not. So I am thinking maybe McAuliffe is in town often.

"This guy is so exciting," I said to Caputo.

"Thanks for coming," Caputo said.

I have been trying to get her to get involved with my startup in some small capacity, so far with no success. My company functions in a Web 2.0 environment almost entirely. For some that is a roadblock.

Back home I pitched her again over email. I said I predicted a "French Revolution" in Nepal a few months before it happened, now I am predicting I have launched a company that will get listed on Nasdaq in five years or less. (The French Revolution And DFNYC)

He is a face time guy. He is vastly inspirational. He is a leader. He is a big catch for the Democratic Party.

My one regret is to not have had a 30 second one on one with the guy. Maybe even try to get him to learn my name.

McAuliffe thought the new primary calendar was "crazy." The contest will be over on February 5. I am so glad the big, diverse states will now matter big time to the outcome.

In The News

Ed Gillespie and Terry McAuliffe Join Campaigns & Elections ... PR Newswire (press release), NY
Q&A with Terry McAuliffe The Brown Daily Herald, RI
Fundraiser Extraordinaire McAuliffe Lives Life with Gusto Voice of America
Hillary Revamps Campaign Strategy, FL
CHELSEA CLOSER TO HELPING MOM Free Market News Network, FL The New York Post reported Tuesday that Chelsea appeared with her parents at a Manhattan fundraiser Monday night. ...... “[Chelsea] has attended fundraisers in New York from time to time but is focused on her professional responsibilities and has no current plans to be out on the campaign trail.” ..... Chelsea, 27, is currently raking in the dough working at the New York-based hedge fund Avenue Capital Group and, under the likeliest scenario, she would take a leave from the firm once she hit the campaign trail. ...... Chelsea’s participation will not only reinforce Hillary’s image as a mom and a family-focused candidate, it’ll also help Hillary shore up her standing with female voters.
McAuliffe says Clinton knows she’s in a fight Providence Journal (subscription), RI
McAuliffe: Time for new approach to primaries Politics on the Hudson, NY

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