Terry McAuliffe's Hearty Party

Former National Democratic Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe along with family, friends and special guest Senator Hillary Clinton participate in a book release celebration for McAuliffe's new book at the Park Hyatt Washington hotel
Terry McAuliffe with daughter Sally, wife Dorothy and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at his book/birthday bash at the Park Hyatt. (John McDonnell -- The Washington Post)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, February 9, 2007

Everything's great! The glass is always half full! Hillary's going to be the next president!

No naysayers allowed at last night's book party for Terry McAuliffe, the exuberant, peripatetic author of "What a Party!: My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals." Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted the soiree at the Park Hyatt hotel for a few of McAuliffe's friends (roughly 1,000 -- but who's counting) and presented him with a cake -- today is his 50th birthday.

"The bottom line is that you gotta have fun in life," McAuliffe said. "You gotta love every single day, you gotta be passionate about what you do."

The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee is passionate about his family, politics, the Clintons and (right now) electing the first female president -- he's chairman of the Hillary for President Committee, utterly convinced she can and will win. "She is winning," he claimed, and started reciting poll numbers until we made him stop. "It's her turn. That's my message to her every day, 'Go out there and have fun.' "

And what's more fun than a party? Bill Clinton hosted the NYC book launch for McAuliffe last month, and invitations to last night's bash were quickly snapped up -- all the better to schmooze with other Dems, Republicans and other FOTs like James Hoffa, Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame.

"Everyone's a friend, whether a Democrat or someone to bring back from the dark side," said McAuliffe's wife, Dorothy.

The newly renovated hotel laid out a lavish spread -- raw bar, roast pig, gourmet chocolates, vintage cognacs and open bars. Topic A: Will Hillary ever start showing voters that "spectacular" sense of humor McAuliffe insists she has? Last night she was the earnest politician ("Terry McAuliffe loves his country"), not the Marco Polo-playing, sausage-eating, belly-laughing Hillary he describes in his book.

"You haven't lived until you've seen a 5-year-old order Hillary Clinton around in a swimming pool," McAuliffe told the crowd.

Truth is, smarts and substance only go so far. "People gotta like you," he said earlier in the day, describing the "Beer Test" that every presidential candidate must take: "Who would you rather have a beer with?" Al Gore and John Kerry failed, he said; Hillary passes. Really ? He's so confident that the entrance of Barack Obama into the presidential race doesn't worry him a bit. In fact, he predicts the junior senator from Illinois will so energize and excite Democrats . . . that they'll eventually vote for Hillary. "There is no downside for him running."

Alas, Clinton didn't jump out of McAuliffe's birthday cake. (Now, that would have been fun.) Everybody got a free book, but McAuliffe promised a sweet perk to anyone heading for the bookstore: "Buy 100 books -- get to hold the Bible at the next inauguration."

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

  • Gilbert Arenas and Tony Parker breaking bread together at Oya restaurant Wednesday night after the Wizards lost to Parker's San Antonio Spurs, 110-83. No hard feelings! Then again, Gil scored 29 points compared with Tony's 20. Both cleaned up -- Arenas in sport coat and jeans, Parker in dress shirt and jeans -- before they walked in with two men and a woman (presumably our spies would have recognized Parker's fiancee, Eva Longoria). Other diners whispered and stared but no one approached. They chowed down on filet, roasted chicken, sea bass and sushi, including Arenas's special-order faves -- California rolls and cream-cheese rolls fried in tempura batter. Ewww?
  • Antawn Jamison towering over the lunchtime crowd in the line at a Potbelly's sandwich shop in Chinatown yesterday. The Wizards forward, hobbled by a knee injury these days, wore his team warm-up gear and carried a leather duffel; apparently he wasn't in the mood for deep-fried cream cheese.
  • Tom DeLay graciously holding the door open at a downtown Starbucks yesterday for a group of people he may not have realized were reporters.

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