The latest batch of newly released documents from the Clinton administration revealed that President Bill Clinton already had his eye on Chelsea Clinton’s future mother-in-law two decades ago.
As the Clintons were readying to make their healthcare push, the documents show the White House listed then-Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton’s future mother-in-law, as one of 42 “priority Democratic targets” who were “most important to target immediately.”
The list was revealed as part of more than 7,500 new pages of documents from the Clinton presidency. It was the third installment of documents released by the Clinton Presidential Library.
The list included Democratic lawmakers who were “1) big undecideds on Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce and Education & Labor, 2) those who, on tough floor votes, have difficulty supporting the President or 3) very tough districts.”
Also on their list of targets for healthcare–then-Rep. Rick Santorum, who was one of 19 Republicans described as those who are “occasionally independent but don’t hold your breath.”
Healthcare wasn’t the only issue the Clintons looked to Margolies-Mezvinsky for help on. In August of 1993, Clinton was one vote short from getting his budget passed by the House. And who did he convince to switch their vote? Margolies-Mezvinsky. After she changed her vote, Republicans started chanting “Bye-Bye Marjorie!” and it ultimately cost her her seat.
In 2010, Margolies-Mezvinsky used this experience to convince House Democrats to vote in favor of the president’s healthcare plan, even if it could jeopardize their political future.
“Dear wavering House Democrats,” Margolies-Mezvinsky wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, “I feel your pain. Eighteen years ago, I was elected on the coattails of a popular young Democratic president who promised a post-partisan Washington. A year later, with partisan gridlock capturing the Capitol, there was a razor-thin vote on the House floor over legislation that Democrats said would remake the country and Republicans promised would bankrupt it. I was pressed on all sides: by constituents opposed, my president needing a victory and Republicans promising my demise. I was in the country’s most Republican district represented by a Democrat. I had repeatedly said, ‘I will not be a ‘read my lips’ candidate,’ when asked if I would promise not to raise taxes. I voted my conscience, and it cost me.”
“I am your worst-case scenario. And I’d do it all again,” she added. “You could be Margolies-Mezvinskied whether you vote with or against President Obama. You will be assailed no matter how you vote this week. And this job isn’t supposed to be easy. So cast the vote that you won’t regret in 18 years.”