Just about every politician has an origin story — the tale they tell over and over about a key moment in their life that spurred them on. It becomes part of their regular pitter-patter on the stump and often ends up as a line in just about every newspaper biography.
For McCarthy, it’s a story of how he was a small business entrepreneur at the tender age of 19, using lottery winnings to start a deli that he then sold to finance his way through college. While in college, McCarthy began working for a member of Congress whose seat he eventually won. Seven years later, he became House majority leader.
That’s a remarkably successful run in politics, but McCarthy often refers to his days running a deli.
For instance, in 2011, he told the Faith and Freedom Coalition Annual Conference: “It taught me about regulations; taught me about every person