Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Monitor Breakfast: Terry McAuliffe

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Monitor Breakfast: Terry McAuliffe

Article excerpt

Selected quotations from a Monitor breakfast with Terry McAuliffe, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The Monitor invited his Republican counterpart to attend but the invitation was declined.

On the message of last Tuesday's elections:

"We won the 2 major governorships. We won the rural vote; we won the suburban vote. For the first time in six years, we now control more state legislative chambers than the Republicans. We won 32 of the 34 targeted mayors' races.... So I think the message that comes out of the election is that the people support the president 90 percent as he fights terrorism around the world - however they support the Democratic Party on our domestic agenda.

"We won all the elections we targeted. We did not win New York City, we did not win Virginia attorney general but besides that we swept the country.

"It was an historic win for us and it bodes well for us going into '02. Lets cut to the chase here - we won and we won all over America and much as the Republicans will try to deny any implications, we won. ... The big message coming out is that the people support the Democrats on their domestic agenda, their economic message, fiscal management, jobs, health care, education, public safety."

On why Republicans lost key races:

"I think for the Republican National Committee last Tuesday was one of the worst nights they have ever had. Somebody has to take responsibility but I am not going to blame it on (Republican Party Chairman) Gov. Gilmore. I am going to blame it on a lack of vision, a lack of ideas, bad candidates. Listen, they put up conservative candidates who are outside the mainstream of where America is."

On the political impact of the war on terrorism:

"There is no criticism and you can't [criticize the president on the war effort.] George Bush is the flag; you have got to remember it. We all support the commander in chief in these times. But there was zero impact; there were no coattails from the president. Lets go back to 2000 when he had 50 percent [approval ratings]. There were no coattails then. As you will remember we won 10 of 14 governorships, we knocked off 5 incumbent Republican senators ... In '01, he was at 90 percent [approval]. It didn't help any candidate out there. As we go to '02, I think he will be of no benefit to any Republican candidate in the country."

On the airport security battle:

"Listen, we are two weeks away from the biggest travel period. And bookings are 17 percent down - people feel reassured seeing the National Guard members standing there with their rifles - it helps them, it gives them some confidence. I don't think today they feel that same sense of confidence when they have their bags go through that screener. You just heard about the stun gun and what happened in Chicago. That terrifies people. …

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