Clinton, Hillary Rodham, Health care, Presidential campaign (1972)
Harold M. Ickes was born on September 4, 1939, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Harold L. Ickes and Jane Dahlman. His father served as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s secretary of the interior. He attended high school at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., was graduated from Stanford University in 1964 with a degree in economics, and earned his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1967. He was a civil rights activist during his student years in the ‘60s, spending the summers of 1964 and 1965 registering African American voters in Louisiana and Mississippi. In 1966, he became involved in the Vietnam anti-war movement. He later practiced labor law, joining the law firm Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein in New York in 1977. He served as White House deputy chief of staff under Leon Panetta for three years during the Clinton administration; he was substantially involved in the Clinton administration’s push for health care reform. He has worked on several presidential campaigns, including those of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Ted Kennedy, and Bill Clinton; for President Clinton’s campaign he was the New York State campaign chair. He also worked on Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign in New York and later as the assistant to the campaign manager for her presidential primary bid in 2008. At the time of this interview, he was a registered lobbyist with the Ickes and Enright Group, a member of the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee, and president of Catalist, a progressive voter file organization.
Interview includes discussion of: Muskie presidential campaign 1972 and Ickes’ first encounter with Mitchell; being assigned to the health care brief and Whitewater damage control; why health care reform drafted by the Clinton administration failed to pass; Senator Mitchell’s attempt to get the health care legislation through; the White House’s relationship with key members of the Senate and House; the errors committed by the White House in not getting the input of Congress; the view the White House took of Mitchell and the belief that if he could not get the legislation passed, then no one could; Senator Moynihan’s role as chair of the Finance Committee; the Republicans’ effective strategy and how that differs from typical Democratic strategy through repetition and better focus; and Ickes’ impressions of Senator Mitchell.
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