Next week, Hillary Clinton will make her first appearance at a political event since leaving the State Department last year. Clinton is scheduled to headline a May 15 fundraiser for Marjorie Margolies, who is running for a House seat in Pennsylvania. Margolies, who held the seat in the early 1990s but lost it after she cast the tie-breaking vote to pass Bill Clinton's 1993 budget, is a Clinton in-law. Her son, Marc Mezvinsky, is married to Chelsea Clinton.
It's natural that Clinton would help Margolies. What's intriguing is the evening's host, Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a fierce and longtime critic of Clinton's former boss, President Barack Obama. De Rothschild, a billionaire CEO who runs a private investment company, backed Clinton in the Democratic primary in 2008 but became a leading anti-Obama PUMA activist (it stands for Party Unity My Ass) after Obama vanquished Clinton. De Rothschild claimed that Obama would ruin the country and went so far as to endorse Sen. John McCain in the general election that year. "What [Obama] offers may be, in substance and in spirit, a radical departure from the principles of the American Dream that has defined our nation over the last two centuries," she wrote in an op-ed. Since then, de Rothschild has ruthlessly attacked the president, calling him a loser, claiming he's out to destroy the American dream, and arguing that his success has more to do with his race than his actions.
During the 2008 campaign, de Rothschild's harsh criticism of Obama captured the attention of the cable news circuit. She made the rounds, claiming that she was defending the interests of middle-class voters against Obama's elitism. "The class war that Barack Obama would like to declare in this country to divide people is so wrong," she said during an interview with CNN, and she compared Obama to Adlai Stevenson—as part of the wing of the Democratic Party that thinks "they are grander than the rest of us." Even CNN's Campbell Brown pointed out that de Rothschild and her husband are billionaires who are hardly representative of modest middle-class interests.
Here are a few other highlights from de Rothschild's time as an Obama denouncer:
- In 2010 she went on MSNBC to attack Obama's record on unemployment: "My biggest disappointment is that this Democrat is messing with the sauce of American goodness, of American greatness. He's making us feel like our government needs to take care of us."
- That year, she wrote an op-ed for the Daily Beast titled "I Told You So" and claimed that all of Obama's bipartisan rhetoric was just a sham to get elected.
- She founded a think tank, called the Henry Jackson Initiative For Inclusive Capitalism, to defend capitalism after Occupy Wall Street. "What victory would look like is lower unemployment, higher growth and Occupy Wall Street saying, 'Hey, we've got jobs now, we're on our way to becoming the top 1 percent,'" she said about the project.
- She backed Jon Huntsman's presidential aspirations in 2011 and 2012. Rothschild claimed that Obama's success in the previous election had more to do with his race than his résumé. "The fact of his personal story of being half black and all that is a wonderful, inspiriting story," she said. "But it doesn't qualify him to be president."
- "[Obama] is lost," she said in a 2011 interview with Salon. "The man is a loser. The man is not listening to people who might help him. And four more years of Barack Obama will be devastating for the country." She told the website that she was more energized to defeat Obama in 2012 than she had been in 2008. "He is going to bankrupt America," she said. "He's so vain and he's so convinced of his own transcendence as a solution to everything that he's incapable of doing the right thing for the country." She also said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deserved the presidency more than Obama.