Marjorie Margolies’ Congressional campaign got a boost from the Big Dog today.
With the May 20 primary less than six weeks away, the race for Pennsylvania’s thirteenth district is still up for grabs. President Bill Clinton, whose daughter Chelsea is married to Margolies’ son Marc Mezvinsky, joined the campaign in Philadelphia today for a high-profile and highly-publicized event at the high-end Warwick Hotel.
“I want to get one thing out of the way,” Clinton joked. “I would be here if her son was not my son-in law.”
The event was not open to the public without a donation. For $1,000, donors attended an hors d’oeuvres reception featuring remarks by Clinton. And $5000 bought a private VIP reception and photo opportunity with Clinton. The campaign tells ABC News the event raised over $200,000.
Meanwhile, Margolies opponent Daylin Leach came out with an ad ”welcoming” Clinton to Philadelphia, featuring his daughter, Brennan.
“[Clinton] seems like a great guy, but everything he’s talking about happened in the past, way before I was born,” Brennan says. “My dad Daylin Leach is running for Congress to fight for the future.”
Clinton often looked to the past during his speech, arguing that Margolies’ record, including her votes on the Family Medical Leave Act and the Brady Bill, prove what she will do in the future.
“I know a lot of you are saying that was a long time ago, that doesn’t matter,” Clinton said. “I want somebody that’s in Congress that knows that history so they’ll stop making yesterday’s mistakes and start thinking about tomorrow.”
This isn’t the first time President Clinton has stumped on Margolies’ behalf.
In August 1993, Margolies, then a freshman Congresswoman, cast a controversial vote in favor of the Clinton Budget, which proposed an increase in federal taxes. After promising her constituents that she was against the budget, Clinton personally called to ask her to support his economic plan.
Margolies-Mezvinsky (she was still married at the time) broke her no-new-tax pledge to cast the decisive 218th vote to Republican chants of “Goodbye, Marjorie” on the House floor. They were right. The fallout from the vote cost her the seat, and hers’ became the textbook case of a career-ending vote. ABC News called her favor to Clinton “the most celebrated political debt of the year.”
“I said to the president, I think that if I vote for this, I fall on my political sword too. But I thought it was the right thing to do,” she said during her campaign for re-election. “Win or lose, I think I did the right thing.”
That’s when President Clinton stepped in.
“Marge Mezvinsky hadn’t voted for that budget, we wouldn’t be here celebrating economic progress or talking about entitlements,” Clinton said at a 1994 campaign event. “We’d still be back in Washington, throwing mudballs at each other.”
His words didn’t help her at the time, but today he tried again.
“If you send Marjorie to Congress, she’ll make you proud, she’ll vote right, she’ll take initiatives, she’ll do things that stand up when she needs to stand up and that cooperate when we need cooperation,” Clinton said today.
“I have an enormous confidence that Marjorie is the best-positioned to do the right thing for the future and that her record in the past is simply evidence of that. I’m not coming here to say, ‘I’m voting for her because 20 years ago she saved the economy and gave up her seat to do it.’”