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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 01/20/2011

Terry McAuliffe schmoozes Richmond

By Fred Kunkle

Terry McAuliffe, the once and (likely) future gubernatorial candidate who has been trying to buy a paper plant, build energy-efficient cars and lay the groundwork for a second possible run at the governor's mansion, has been prowling the halls of Richmond talking to anybody who wanted to talk this week.

Like this man right here -- Mr. Barry Isenhour, who scooted across the lobby of the General Assembly Building on Tuesday and grabbed McAuliffe's hand as if he might never let go, announced that he's a player in the Richmond Tea Party and announced that he's always -- always! -- been an admirer of Terry's.

McAuliffe's face, which looked a little tanned, seemed to grow a shade redder at the words "Tea Party," but, hey, as he himself said, he'll talk to anybody.

McAuliffe asked Isenhour: What was the one salient point that the Tea Party hoped to promote in the Virginia General Assembly?

Isenhour replied that, basically, their mission is all about putting the federal government back in its cage.

"We just see this assault coming from the feds," Isenhour said, before illustrating his point with a convoluted riff on Chinese drywall.

"Yeah," McAuliffe said gamely.

But McAuliffe's face seemed to redden some more. After all, McAuliffe spent a long time helping people like Bill Clinton get his fingers on the federal levers of power. As a matter of fact, McAuliffe was wearing on his wrist a brand-new Arnold & Son wristwatch that had been a Christmas present from the former president. (One of many watches Clinton has given him, McAuliffe noted.)

As Isenhour's Chinese drywall anecdote wound down, McAuliffe deftly tried shifting the conversation back around to his new venture of making energy-efficient hybrid cars.

"Now, you see, that's where we do different," Isenhour says. "I'm one of these guys that's like, 'Drill, drill, drill, baby.' They can drill in my back yard.''

The two did find common ground, however, as McAuliffe further explained his efforts as chairman of WM Greentech Automotive Corp. to build a global business making affordable hybrid cars, and manufacturing them in depressed areas of the United States.

Squeezing in some schmoozing between a state luncheon for China's President Hu Jintao and a speech to the Virginia Interfaith Center, McAuliffe also talked about his crisscrossing of the commonwealth, bumping (awkwardly) into one of his former primary opponents, Sen. Creigh Deeds ("I gave him $25,000!" McAuliffe said), and mending fences with Brian Moran, his other former opponent, who is now chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia ("We sat down before he became chair, put everything on the table and he said he supports everything I'm doing and he's never running for office again.'')

"We've got a unified party," McAuliffe said. And then he was off.

On Thursday, he's penciled in a noon meeting with Democratic legislative aides, then a get-together with Ken Hutcheson, president of Virginia Alternative & Renewable Energy Association, and some face time with Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond), who has also made some noises about running for statewide office. Then on to a meeting with Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody and more renewable energy with lawmakers.

On Saturday, it's basically all Democrats all day: He's scheduled to grace the Southside Democratic Women's Club with his presence, then a Democratic Connections Meeting, and the 4th Congressional District Donkey Call in Sussex County and, whew, a meet-and-greet in Richmond.

-- Staff writer Anita Kumar contributed to this post.

By Fred Kunkle  | January 20, 2011; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle, General Assembly 2011, Terry McAuliffe  
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Mr. McAuliffe would do well to 'stick to his knitting' of having a hand in every pie to make a quick buck and stay out of politics. We don't want anyone with the personality of a sheister such as he running for public office. Jefferson and Washington would not approve either. McAuliffe lacks the integrity and steel to run our fair state.

Posted by: Stevedoro | January 20, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

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