In his memoir What A Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals McAuliffe explains how he pitched an alternative site for the Clinton Presidential Center in the Anacostia neighborhood of the District of Columbia. "I know you're from Arkansas and they've been great to you," he recalled. "[B]ut you know what? You've been such a leader of the African-American community and so strong on civil rights. Why don't you put the thing in Anacostia? It would be great for the community and the tourists would line up for blocks outside." The deal was sweetened by an offer of $30 million from Georgetown University, a large tract of land donated by Howard Milstein, and the prospect of revitalizing one of the district's more impoverished areas. Sometime after December 14, 1999, Bill Clinton responded to the proposal by saying, "I thought I owed it to Arkansas. I wouldn't have become president without them. Furthermore, I thought it would do more good down there because it's in the middle of the country."
McAuliffe became embroiled in a boycott by union construction workers who felt that the Clinton Presidential Center site should be one hundred percent a union job. Such an agreement violates Arkansas law. DNC spokesperson Maria Cardona noted, "Contrary to popular belief, Chairman McAuliffe does not have the power to resolve Arkansas's labor disputes. It's important to note that we have had an extensive relationship with labor, they've been generous donors, and we don't expect that to change."
- David M. Halbfinger, "With Latest Battle Resolves, Clinton Library Work Begins," New York Times, June 7, 2002.
- Terry McAuliffe, What A Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals (St. Martin's Press, 2007), 201-202.