For starters, there’s the time he left his wife, Dorothy, in the delivery room while he attended a fundraiser. As he writes in the book, “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.”
He finally admitted to Dorothy that “The Washington Post” was having a party for Lloyd Grove, who wrote the ‘Reliable Source’ column. He claims she told him to go, so he did. In fact, he “went flying out the door.”
But he’s a good guy. He called Dorothy to check on her. (I would have hung up on him.) At the party, he saw Marjorie Williams, who was writing a story on him for “Vanity Fair” magazine. Williams was “shocked” to see him.
“‘Isn’t Dorothy having a baby today?’ she asked. ‘That’s right,’ I said, ‘but she threw me out of the room.’” He adds that, “Marjorie just couldn’t understand how I left Dorothy alone.”
I have some issues with how he could leave her alone as well.
Apparently, for the birth of his son Peter, he was in the delivery room. It was the trip home that’s shocking. He, Dorothy, baby Peter, and an aide stopped at a fundraising party for the Democratic Party. McAuliffe left his wife and newborn son in the car with the aide while he schmoozed for 15 minutes at the party.
Dorothy “was in tears,” he admits in the audio version of the book, and the aide was “mortified” but that didn’t stop McAuliffe from being a husband behaving badly. “I felt bad for Dorothy,” he says. “But it was a million bucks for the Democratic Party….Nobody ever said life with me was easy.”
The hilarious childbirth stories don’t end there, either. At Georgetown Hospital, while poor Dorothy was in labor with their son Jack, McAuliffe got into “a heated argument” with the anesthesiologist and the obstetrician.
The anesthesiologist asked McAuliffe if he wanted socialized medicine. (I guess we can blame the doctor for starting this discussion.) In his book, McAuliffe writes, “‘Of course not,’ I said. ‘However, there are thirty-seven million uninsured people in this country with no access to health care. Is that fair?'”
He admits that he was “almost shouting” at this point. And a delivery nurse “who made Nurse Ratched look like Mother Teresa” kicked him out of the room. He claims his son Jack “is still proud to this day that as he came into the world his father was down the hall fighting for the little guy.”
McAuliffe has five children; I guess the other two had uneventful births.
Yet despite telling these stories in his book, McAuliffe told Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” on Feb. 4, 2001: “At the end of the day, Tim, I would rather not have to leave my family and travel around the country to ask people for money.”
Diana Reese is a journalist in Overland Park, Kan. She’s been through labor twice. With her husband at her side. Follow her on Twitter at @dianareese.