Be Witty for Terry McAuliffe!

He can’t seem to manage it himself.

Chatterbox has never particularly admired Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe. Like so many of his predecessors, he’s a slick, money-chasing hustler whose commitment to the party’s core ideals seems debatable at best. Still, Chatterbox, a Democrat, likes to believe that Democrats maintain an edge when it comes to the exchange of artful banter. Aren’t Democrats famously adept bullshitters? Isn’t Bob Strauss? Wasn’t Ron Brown? It was therefore with some chagrin that Chatterbox read, in Lloyd Grove’s Dec. 11 Washington Post column, about the following exchange on a White House receiving line before the recent Kennedy Center honors:

President Bush (greeting McAuliffe): Great to have you back. Just don’t steal the silverware!McAuliffe: I have no intention of doing that, sir.

It would not be too strong to say that Chatterbox experienced shame in reading McAuliffe’s humorless response to Dubya’s amusing jibe. The guy sounded as flat-footed as Dick Armey! Indeed, he was almost as socially inept as Richard Nixon! This is really too much to bear.

Chatterbox invites readers (Democrats, Republicans, whatever) to submit, in the spirit of staircase wit, a snappy comeback for McAuliffe. One Slate colleague suggests, “Fork you.” Another proposes, “I won’t steal it if you promise to use it.” These are both a little too nasty. Chatterbox trusts his readers to come up with something just as funny but more respectful toward the office of the presidency. Winning entries will be published in a follow-up item. Please send nominations to