This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Tom Foley.
The College Democrats welcomed Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Primary campaign to campus Monday night.
McAuliffe provided students with an insider’s look into running a major political party and gave the audience of about 60 students his insight into the current state of the party and his outlook for the future.
“I’m here to tell you first: you can do whatever you want in politics. I do it because I love it,” he said.
The former party chairman enthralled the enthusiastic Democratic crowd with his anecdotes and chronicles of the Clinton era, ending with the defeat of Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election.
“Most expensive friends I’ve ever had – the Clintons, but I love ‘em dearly,” he said.
Not afraid to reopen old wounds, McAuliffe reasserted that Gore had really won the election. Laying some of the blame on his own party, he reminded the audience of the Florida butterfly ballots used in the election.
“I went to college. I went to Law School. It took me over 5 minutes to figure out how to vote for Al Gore,” McAuliffe said.
Recanting his rise from near bankruptcy in an orange grove deal turned sour to starting 25 successful businesses in his lifetime, McAuliffe bore witness to the ups and downs of life.
He said he has stayed optimistic through it all. Regarding his loss in the 2009 primary for Governor of Virginia, he got up the next day knowing he did what he wanted to do.
“I’d rather go down fighting for a cause I believe in than negotiating for a cause that is wrong,” he said.
Many audience members were eager to ask the political insider questions about his experiences and what he saw for the future, including what he would think of Hillary Clinton running for president again.
“We just have to have a woman President of the United States, eventually… I want my daughters thinking they can do anything they want in life, including being president of the United States,” said McAuliffe, who is the father of five children.
His outlook for the party was cautiously optimistic, telling the audience that the political atmosphere is tough right now, mostly due to an anti-incumbent sentiment.
Delivering on healthcare and on jobs would be key to the Democrats success in near future if they can stick together as a party.
“There’s not enough loyalty in politics or life anymore,” he said.
Now chairman of GreenTech Automotive, a hybrid and electric car company expected to enter the market soon, McAuliffe sees alternative energy as the key to job creation, advising seniors in the audience to “go green” to get a job.
McAuliffe told the Hatchet he wants GW students to get involved in student activism, stand up for their beliefs, and to leave their options open to where life might take them.
“If I don’t like it, I just don’t do it. You all can do it, too, and stand for what you believe in,” he said.
Clinton’s campaign finance director, Patrick Hallahan, and Hani Masri and Fadi Elsalameen of PalistineNote.com accompanied McAuliffe to the event.
“We invited him to campus because of his incredible history of working with the Democratic Party,” Mike Garber, CDs communications director, said.