1. Saying he felt like a “caged rat” when the 9/11 attacks prevented him from fundraising.
“If not for September 11, Bush would have been gone politically. His approval ratings were sinking and his policies were hurting the country and the American people. He had nothing going for him after the attacks we knew he was going to get a huge bounce and it soon became clear that the press would come to see its role as making him look good and downplaying any criticism of his administration’s fixation on being fast and loose with the facts. I was one of our party’s most visible spokesmen and I had to keep a low profile after the attacks. I was like a caged rat. I couldn’t travel. I couldn’t make political calls. I couldn’t make money calls. I couldn’t do anything. I went to my office and worked with my staff to prepare for when we could finally come back out again that made me feel a little better, but basically there was nothing for us to do in the immediate aftermath.”
2. Describing when he went wild boar hunting with European monarchs in Hungary.
“I never criticized Cheney for being a hunter and never would, because I love hunting. I may not have grown up with it, but I’ve made up for my lost time in recent years and have become an avid hunter. Among my more memorable trips were taking my son Jack wild boar hunting in Hungary with a group including Prince Andrew, and wild bird hunting with King Juan Carlos in Spain, who is a terrific guy.”
3. Mentioning how he views Syracuse, NY fondly as his “home.”
“In fact, whenever I went on TV as the DNC chairman, I always found a way to mention Syracuse which I knew the people back home loved. They knew I hadn’t forgotten them and never would and to this day the Syracuse papers get a kick out of covering me as one of their favorite sons.”
4. Leaving his wife in tears in the car with his newborn baby while he went to a fundraiser.
“Dorothy was starting to well up in the backseat. She was having trouble understanding how I could be taking my wife and newborn baby to a fund-raiser on our way home from the hospital. We got to the dinner and by then Dorothy was in tears, and I left her with Justin and went inside. Little Peter was sleeping peacefully and Dorothy just sat there and poor Justin didn’t say a word. He was mortified. I was inside maybe fifteen minutes, said a few nice things about Marty, and hurried back out to the car. I felt bad for Dorothy, but it was a million bucks for the Democratic Party and by the time we got home and the kids had their new little brother in their arms, Dorothy was all smiles and we were one big happy family again. Nobody ever said life with me was easy.”
5. Humble-bragging about Olivia Newtown-John singing to him.
“The night before the 2001 DNC election, we threw one of the great Washington bashes of all time. By then we had 97 percent of the DNC membership and there was no suspense about the vote. We took over Union Station and two thousand people were on hand when Olivia Newton-John called me up on stage, held my hand as she looked into my eyes, and sang ‘I Honestly Love You.’ It was one of the few times I’ve ever been embarrassed on stage. Dorothy had to come rescue me.”
6. Regular bragging about his celebrity-filled White House dinner.
“It was a super-charged evening with a parade of American icons streaming in one by one in small groups, passing by a throng of reporters pushing them for quotes. We had Bono, Muhammed Ali, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Itzhak Perlman, Maya Lin, Robert Rauschenberg, John Fogerty, August Wilson, Carl Lewis, Bill Russell, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese, Sid Caesar, Neil Simon, and hundreds of other people who had made major contributions to American life and also happened to be great fun to talk to at a White House dinner.”
7. Discussing loaning President Clinton the money to buy his home, then joking about how Clinton couldn’t afford a pizza.
“We got back in the limo for the ride out to Skaneateles and Clinton and I were both hungry, so we decided to order some pizzas and bring them back to Hillary and Chelsea at the house. The President and I decided on one large, half-vegetarian for Chelsea, and two mediums, including one to give the press. We stopped and as the President stepped out of the limo to go in and pick up the pies at Mark’s Pizzeria on Route 20 in Skaneateles, He realized he didn’t have any money. ‘Hey, Mac, you got twenty-five bucks on you?’ he asked me. ‘Jeez, Mr. President,’ I joked. ‘I just lent you a million three and you can’t even buy me a pizza?’”
8. Describing receiving a beer from the White House butler while waiting to golf with Bill Clinton.
“I would carry my golf bag across the street and go tramping through the White House security gates. Everyone knew me, so they would just say hello and wave me through and someone would come out and get my clubs and load my bag up in the presidential limousine. Buddy Carter, the ever-smiling White House butler, would usually bring me a Bud Light before I even had to ask and I could take it easy while I waited for the President to finish up whatever he was doing.”
9. Leaving his wife in the delivery room to go to a party for a Washington Post reporter.
“We got there a little after noon and spent the whole afternoon in her room. I was trying hard not to appear restless, but I am not one to sit still for long and soon I was going stir-crazy, which drove Dorothy nuts. ‘Isn’t there something you need to do?’ she finally said. I told her The Washington Post was having a party that evening for Lloyd Grove, who wrote the ‘Reliable Source’ column. ‘Go!’ she said. ‘You’re like a caged animal here. I’ll call you if I need you.’ I went flying out the door and drove to the party. I kept calling Dorothy to make sure she was fine. I made the rounds at the party and ran into Marjorie Williams, who was writing a story on me for Vanity Fair, magazine. She was shocked to see me at the party. ‘Isn’t Dorothy having a baby today?’ she asked. ‘That’s right,’ I said, ‘but she threw me out the room.’ Marjorie just couldn’t understand how I left Dorothy alone. I almost told her about the night I was born and how my mother wanted my father to stay at home to watch Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, but decided against it. I went back to the hospital after the Washington Post party and at 3:33 A.M. little Sarah Swann McAuliffe was born.”
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