Five times Terry McAuliffe admits he ditched his wife for politics

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
Font Size:

Terry McAuliffe, the colorful former Democratic National Committee chairman and close Clinton friend now running for governor of Virginia, won’t let a little thing like marriage get in the way of his political ambitions.

In his 2007 memoir, “What a Party!: My Life Among Democrats, Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, And Other Wild Animals,” the legendary Democratic moneyman writes of doing everything from wrestling an alligator to ambushing an unsuspecting donor to collect checks for the party.

The book is the focus of renewed attention now that McAuliffe is running for office again, particularly the his stories about leaving wife’s side to attend parties immediately before and after she gave birth to their daughter Sarah. In the memoir, McAuliffe admits he once left his wife Dorothy in the delivery room to attend a Washington Post party. He also tells a story about leaving his wife in the car on the way home from the hospital to attend a fundraiser.

“I was inside maybe fifteen minutes, said a few nice things about [the host], and hurried back out to the car,” McAuliffe recalled. “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.”

The Daily Caller combed through the manuscript and found that these aren’t the only examples of McAuliffe’s political ambitions inconveniencing his wife. Whether you find the stories endearing or disgusting, here are five times McAuliffe admits he ditched his wife for politics:

Ditched her to go golfing with Tip O’Neill

In 1983, while he was dating the woman who would later become his wife, McAuliffe took a trip with her to Cape Cod. But then-Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill invited him to go golfing once they got there. He was gone the whole day, leaving his girlfriend by herself the whole time.

“Dorothy, I’ve got to go golfing with the Speaker tomorrow,” McAuliffe recalled in his book.

“I think, for Dorothy, that day was the perfect precursor for what her life with me would be like,” he wrote. “She was just learning to love the ways of the Irish in Democratic politics. Eventually, she forgave me, but she still teases me about leaving her stuck alone the entire day while I was off having the time of my life.”

Thrown out of delivery room after debating anesthesiologist on healthcare

One thing is clear from McAuliffe’s book: he gets antsy when his wife is in labor. He recalls that when his son Jack was born in 1993, he and the anesthesiologist started debating about health care reform.

“We were making so much noise that we got kicked out of the delivery room by a nurse who made Nurse Ratched look like Mother Teresa,” he said.

Scuttles ‘romantic weekend’ after leaving wife in Puerto Rico to see Clinton

In 1995, McAuliffe and his wife had planned to spend some time in Puerto Rico after the Democrat completed some business down there. But the “romantic weekend” didn’t last long.

“No sooner had Dorothy arrived and the five of us had hit the beach and ordered up a round of pina coladas when a waiter came out and tried to talk to me in a heavy accent. It took a few minutes before I deciphered that El Presidente was calling for Mr. Magooloff,” he wrote.

President Clinton asked him to come back to Washington the next morning to attend a meeting.

“Dorothy wasn’t going anywhere, not with the Golden Door Spa at her disposal with all the amenities, so I left her behind with [another Democrat] in our beautiful suite overlooking the ocean.”

Forgot to tell his wife he loaned Clinton more than $1 million for new home

Right after McAuliffe famously loaned the Clinton’s more than $1 million dollars to help them buy their post-presidency home in New York, President Clinton asked McAuliffe what his wife thought of the arrangement.

He had forgotten to tell her.

“Holy cow!” I said. “I haven’t told Dorothy yet. Mr. President, can I borrow the phone again?”

McAuliffe recalls explaining this to his wife: “Honey, I want to prepare you…Be careful how you answer the phone today. We just lent the President almost a million and a half dollars to help buy their new home.”

Admits he spent more time with Gore in ’93 than his wife

McAuliffe admits he spent more time with a certain Democratic vice president than his wife one year.

“I spent more time with Al Gore than I did with my own wife in 1993, when I was chairman of the Business Leadership Forum, doing dozens of events with him all over the country to bring in young entrepreneurs as new supporters of the party,” Gore said.

Follow Alex on Twitter

Alex Pappas