To say Terry McAuliffe is full of energy and enthusiasm would be an understatement.
“I pay attention to the positive. Everyday I'm out talking about things I would like to get done as Governor, the important things to move Virginia forward", he says.
But the Democratic candidate for Governor has never served in elected office in Virginia -- or anywhere for that matter. A native of Syracuse, New York, McAuliffe is best known as a confidant and strategist for both Bill and Hillary Clinton, chairman of the Democratic National Committee in the early 2000's, and as a premiere political fundraiser.
Critics say he's nothing more than an inexperienced, slick salesman. But McAuliffe believes it's his ability to persuade that would lead to success in Richmond: “I will immediately reach out to every single Republican legislator...breakfast, lunch, dinner, have a drink -- whatever it may be...to help rebuild a relationship because the only way we can get things done is in a bipartisan manner".
McAuliffe's business dealings have also come under scrutiny. His electric car company Greentech remains under SEC investigation, while investments with Rhode Island businessman Joseph Caramadre have raised ethical questions. McAuliffe says criticism on all fronts comes with the territory.
"Listen, politics is a contact sport. If these type of things bother you, then don't be in politics," he says.
The area where McAuliffe has drawn the sharpest distinction between himself and Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli is on social issues.
In speech after speech, ad after ad, McAuliffe attacks Cuccinelli as an anti-women, anti-gay ideologue, presenting himself as the polar opposite,
“Well this is how I feel personally. I believe in the marrow of my bones I want to protect women's rights," he says. And that strategy appears to be working, as some polls show McAuliffe has more than a 20-point lead over Cuccinelli with women voters.
Check back Friday on wjla.com as we profile Republican Ken Cuccinelli, and hear why he believes this election is a referendum on Obamacare.