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Punch Drunk: Tuesdays With Terry



On our morning radio show last Tuesday, Melissa Chase and I had the inexplicable opportunity to interview Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. I say inexplicable because the only time we discuss anything even remotely political on 103.7 Play’s “Mornings With Melissa and Jack” is if a state delegate impregnates a teenager or an area neighborhood association is up in arms over a pet pig. (By the way, save Tucker.)

The governor’s advance man told us that McAuliffe had no agenda and simply wanted to reach a segment of the population that he normally doesn’t when he appears on the hard-news talk circuit. Cool. That makes sense, right? We reach a decidedly less politically wonky type of crowd, but an important crowd nevertheless. A crowd with brains and money and stylish soccer-mom minivans.

So being the diligent Taylor Swift aficionados that we are, Melissa and I prepared a list of softball questions. Such as: “Syracuse, the home of your birth, is still in the NCAA tournament. U.Va. is still alive as well. There’s a solid chance that they could meet in the Elite Eight. Who wins it all? Be honest. And remember, Virginia has a one-term limit, so you’re good.”

Or: “Governor, you recently vetoed a bill that would allow the sale of high-proof, clear, odorless grain alcohol in state liquor stores. Why? Because now I’m gonna have to go back to making it illegally in my bathtub and honestly, it doesn’t taste that great.”

His response: “I know you’re a bartender, Jack, so I won’t hold that against you.”

And, “Kanye’s recent Twitter rants — your thoughts?”

Hard-hitting stuff.

Of course before the interview, the governor’s aide then hit us with a list of talking points that mainly highlighted what the governor sees as his economic victories during his first two years in office — and not, as we hoped, his penchant for the Jonas Brothers.

Aside from an odd Chris Brown versus Trey Songz question that the befuddled governor didn’t answer, and honestly should never have been asked, I think we managed to do fairly well. OK, maybe Melissa’s monorail question wasn’t that great either, but you just assume that everyone watches the “Simpsons,” right?

Some of the highlights of our chat included his utter refusal to commit to a post-governor career path:

“When I finish this up, and I don’t mean this disrespectfully, you couldn’t pay me to be a United States senator. I’m more the executive type. … People ask me if Hillary wins, would you go in the Cabinet? I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think I’d be good in the Cabinet. I’ve never worked for anyone in my life.”

His rightfully being proud of his hand in Virginia’s recent economic and jobs growth:

“No question I ran for governor on jobs and economic development. If you look at the results, we’ve done about 630 economic development projects since I’ve been in office, about $10.6 billion of capital investment — nearly double any governor in the history of the Commonwealth. We have knocked the cover off of the ball. Our unemployment rate is now 4.1 percent, the lowest of any state in the Southeast.”

And those jobs?

“We’ve created about 134,900 jobs since I’ve been governor and I’m just warming up.”

On the last concert he’s been to:

“I love concerts but I’m a big sporting fan. I love Squirrels games, I love going out there and you know, we’re working hard, we gotta make sure the Squirrels stay here. But the last concert I saw. Umm. That’s a good question. Oh, I went to a U2 concert!”

We won’t hold that against you, Terry.

On the perks of being governor:

“Today I will be in Roanoke for a major, major announcement about a brewery that is coming to Virginia.”

I advised that he take an Uber.

“I actually get my own driver now, thank goodness.”

Afterward, his advance man let us know that this was the governor’s first foray into untraditional, nonnews-talk radio, and that we were a trial run, which we took as a compliment — especially considering that our biggest interview coup before this was one of the Hanson Brothers (I forget which one).

It also really makes me wish that we asked the Kanye question. I mean, economic development and job creation is awesome. Really, it’s just super for Virginia. But does it compare to Kanye’s enlightened thoughts on Kanye’s genius?

I think not. S

Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at jackgoesforth.

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