05/06/2012 09:21 am ET Updated Jul 06, 2012

Kentucky Derby 2012: Mitch McConnell Becomes The Soul Of Graciousness

I picked the winner of the Derby, "I'll Have Another," but for shamefully accidental reasons. Everybody's having another here, juleps, Buds or whatever. So it seemed appropriate.

A certain welcome giddiness takes over during the Derby race. People sing "My Old Kentucky Home" and cry. People who don't like each other share the sagas of their respective dice. People almost forget what they do and who they are in the real world they inhabited before the call to the post -- and the world they will inhabit after they go home.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is known in Washington as a relentless and somewhat humorless partisan, became the soul of graciousness as the horses came out on the track. He retreated to the back row of the stands we were in so that my wife, who had never been to the Derby, could have a better view. McConnell made the same offer, and it was gratefully accepted, to Cathy Yarmuth, the wife of Louisville's Democratic congressman, John Yarmuth. "I've seen a lot of those so move up in front," he said. He forgot about politics and talked about sports. He was affable. It is what you do at the Derby. "I'm glad you're having a good time," he said, and even seemed to mean it.

And we were.