McAuliffe’s open invitation and open, upgraded bar are part of a broader effort to win over Republicans who knew the former Democratic National Committee chairman only through attack ads and media accounts.
The governor will need to get along with the GOP if he's going to achieve some of the goals he laid out in the campaign. Most notably, expanding Medicaid under Obamacare will require Republicans in the legislature to sign off, and they've not been particularly receptive to that idea so far.
Based on the early response, he might be making general headway with the charm offensive, though. Republican State Sen. Thomas Garrett offered some kind words to the Post after spending an evening with McAuliffe.
“He’s got a sense of humor, nice fella,” Garrett said. “Everybody’s more charming after a few drinks.”