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Valentine's Day Memories: When Arafat Kissed McAuliffe

Valentine's Day Memories: When Arafat Kissed McAuliffe

If Democrats and Terry McAuliffe are going to make an issue out of Ken Cuccinelli’s new book, in which he states (surprise!) his unabashedly conservative opinions, then turnabout is fair play. McAuliffe’s own book, What a Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals, is full of wonderful stories, political oddities, and colorful anecdotes, such as the following reminiscence:

When Arafat arrived at the restaurant, Hani had him sit right next to me. We talked about what was happening in the Middle East and Arafat had all kinds of questions about U.S. politics and of course about Bill Clinton. The dinner soon became somehow comical for me. Arafat would get very animated when he spoke and every time he was making a point, he would lean over and rub my leg under the table. He’d be saying something to the whole table full of people and then he would look right at me, emphasizing a point, and rub up and down on my leg. That is not something that men normally do to me when I sit down to dinner with them. I just couldn’t visualize my friend Ariel Sharon rubbing my leg when I talked to him. 

Dorothy spent the whole meal laughing at how uncomfortable I obviously was. She knew this was unique for me given my Irish Catholic heritage. What would the nuns at St. Ann’s think? As interested as I was in the conversation,after a while it started getting awkward having my leg rubbed so much and I looked forward to the end of the meal. Finally it was time to go and we stood up to shake hands, I thought, but Arafat laid a big ole wet kiss right on my lips. I wasn’t ready for that one. (250-251)

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