As I wrote earlier, Governor Terry McAuliffe made an engaging appearance last night at former Senator and current Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle's annual chili cook-off. He greeted and spoke with all who approached him, sampled the chili and awarded the judges' winners their awards. One of the awards was to Republican activist Wayne Ozmore, whose "Scorpion and Ghost Pepper Chili" easily won the award for the hottest chili. I have braved Wayne's chili in the past and bravely finished the cup-size serving. This year, he outdid himself. One spoon and it was no mas for me and most others. He detailed his recipe to me. All I can remember is that it was loaded with every type of blistering spice known to man and topped with brown sugar to effect a delayed heat explosion, obliterating your taste buds well past any point of recall. It took a hamburger size roll, two bottles of water and about 15 minutes to recondition my tongue and try another contestant's chili.
But the governor must have iron taste buds. When Wayne approached to accept his award, T-Mac boasted that he ate his entire cup of "Scorpion and Ghost Pepper Chili," and asked if any other governor had ever done so. (I don't recall too many governors attending the event.) Wayne responded with a Quote of the Day to a room full of laughs:
We've never had a governor who could take the heat!
The governor ate it up quicker than Ozmore's chili went down. Whether that turns out to be true in a political sense remains to be seen — or, conversely, how much heat he'll be able to exert on resistant Republican lawmakers, especially on Medicaid expansion. After all, it's pretty apparent that Governor McAuliffe, in his previous life as a highly partisan mega fundraiser, has probably sampled some pretty exotic foods. But it may require more sweetness on his part, especially after his slash and burn campaign. Delicious desserts were on offer last night, too, and he probably had his share of them as well as chili. They're certainly part of the fare at the big money bashes to which he is accustomed while campaigning for the Clintons and Obamas.
My friend Wayne's remark was a very humorous, spontaneous line. I complimented him on it and he told me he didn't mean it, that it just came barreling out of his mouth. No problem. We'll get used to that over the next four years.
From left, Virginia Beach Sheriff and former Senator Ken Stolle, award-winning chili cook Wayne Ozmore and Governor Terry McAuliffe. Ozmore's line gives us rare multiple Quotes of the Day.