Jim McGreevey's Night Out With His New Constituents

Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey at last night's Books-a-Million event in Dupont Circle. He talked about the motivation for his memoir, and signed a copy for Jasson Soemo.
Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey at last night's Books-a-Million event in Dupont Circle. He talked about the motivation for his memoir, and signed a copy for Jasson Soemo. (Photos By Lucian Perkins -- The Washington Post)

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By Darragh Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 28, 2006

You see him on TV, all earnest with Matt Lauer, all plaintive and kind of creepy with Oprah.

And you think, Oh gawd. He's so slick, so self-promoting, so insincere .

Then you walk downstairs to the basement bookstore on Dupont Circle, and find about 80 people, most of them men, are waiting to meet Jim McGreevey, the 49-year-old former "gay governor" of New Jersey.

As it happens, McGreevey is not the only one here who knew he was gay but got married anyway.

Two years ago, after the governor found himself at the center of a scandal involving a male staffer who threatened to sue for sexual harassment, the boyishly good-looking politico confessed, "I am a gay American." Standing at his side in the glaring lights at the news conference were his mom and dad and his second wife. His was the only face not wearing a strange expression.

Now here he is, in a dark suit and booming, buoyant voice, facing all those men at Books-a-Million who want him to sign copies of his autobiography, "The Confession."

Chris Massicotte, a 31-year-old longtime political aide who now sells political software, hands McGreevey a book. He used to be married, too, he says. But he came clean two weeks after the governor's confession.

"You did?" McGreevey looks up from signing with a black Sharpie and stares at the guy in the light blue polo shirt. "You came out two weeks after I did?"

Massicotte nods. Then he hands over another book "for my friend who was married, too."

"I bought the book on Thursday," Massicotte continues, "and I stayed up the entire night reading it."

"What'd you think?" asks McGreevey.

"It was hard," Massicotte answers slowly, "to read the thoughts I had as a kid written right back to me."


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