Originally published May 02, 1997

She's made her first public decision.

And speculation sizzles throughout the land.

``The real reason Chelsea Clinton picked Stanford,'' a breathless informant told me yesterday on the phone, ``was because she's crazy about Marc Mezvinsky and he's a freshman there. ''

Aha!

We knew it wasn't because Stanford University has a great pre-med program or because California is as far from the Plague of the Potomac that you can get.

It was . . . a boy!

And a boy from here! The 19-year-old son of former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and former state Democratic party chief Ed Mezvinsky, who live in Narberth.

How lucky could we get?

And wait! Wasn't there something in the newspaper recently about 17-year-old Chelsea and Mezvinsky?

Yes, here it is, an item in the Jan. 22 Washington Post that Marc and Chelsea were seen having ``some cozy chats'' at this year's Renaissance Weekend, the New Year's Hilton Head Island retreat the Clintons have made famous.

Must be true. Drop everything. Make calls to friends of MMM.

``I haven't heard anything about that,'' mused a Mezvinsky friend about a romance between Chelsea and Marc.

``But if it's true, let's hope Marc doesn't do to Chelsea what Bill did to Marjorie. ''

Oh, you devil.

Mezvinsky, you may recall, sacrificed herself for her president - providing the deciding vote for the 1993 Clinton tax hike and losing her bid for re-election the following year.

Now, she's president of the Women's Campaign Fund - and mom of Chelsea's boyfriend?

Way cool.

But not so, she says.

``They're really good friends, just dear friends,'' says Mezvinsky.

Marc and Chelsea met four years ago at a Renaissance Weekend, she said, and share an understanding of the perils of public life.

Last weekend, when Chelsea was visiting Stanford, she spent ``quite a bit of time'' with Marc - although Mezvinsky, protective of her son's privacy, wouldn't dish on the details.

``Honestly, it's the nicest relationship,'' Mezvinsky said.

``They talk on the phone all the time. ''

Last week when Marc called Chelsea's private line at the White House, her father answered.

Marc asked for Chelsea. President Clinton said she wasn't home.

``So, what did you say then? '' Mezvinsky said she asked Marc.

``I told him to take it easy,'' Marc replied.

``You told the president of the United States to take it easy? '' Mezvinsky responded in mock horror.

Mezvinsky, a former TV reporter, raved about Marc as a sweet and sensitive soul who's protective of Chelsea's privacy.

When Marc applied to Stanford, for instance, he had to write an essay - a suggested topic was an interesting conversation he'd recently had.

``He told me the most interesting conversation he'd had in the last month or so was with Chelsea - about who are your real friends.

``But he said, `I don't want to write about a conversation with Chelsea because it sounds like you're just dropping names.'

``So he didn't,'' Mezvinsky said.

``He absolutely won't exploit the relationship under any circumstances. ''

Marc is a serious student and an athlete - he went out for crew at Stanford - and is friends with several girls in addition to Chelsea.

``It's something we didn't grow up with, this boy-girl real friendship,'' Mezvinsky said.

``My kids really have friends of the opposite sex and they're genuinely friends, and I think that's what Marc and Chelsea are. ''

Mezvinsky said she hasn't spent time with Chelsea outside of a few chats in Hilton Head - but that Marc says she's remarkably unspoiled, considerate and smart.

So, did Marc play a role in Chelsea's shocking decision to eschew the elite Ivies of the East Coast in favor of Stanford?

``I don't think so - I think she's too smart for that,'' Mezvinsky said.

``This is a real lifetime decision. The reason she went there is it has a very good pre-med program and a good dance program and it's a nice laid-back, very open place. ''

Hmmmmm.

Well, friendship can turn into romance, can't it? And Marc is going to be an intern at the White House this summer.

And after what Bill Clinton did to Margolies-Mezvinsky - pressuring her to fall on her sword for his tax bill - it's only fitting that he give her a wonderful daughter-in-law in return.

Stay tuned.