From a “none of your business” reply to being surprised at the extent of “sexism in America,” Chelsea Clinton, daughter of the Senator and former President is learning Clintonian style politics first hand campaigning for her Mom.
Former First Daughter, Chelsea Clinton has been campaigning hard for her Mother, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, in what seems to many to be her Mom's futile attempt at being the first woman President of the United States.
Chelsea, who recently turned 28 years old, has graduated from Stanford University with an undergraduate degree in history and earned a Masters Degree in International Relations from Oxford University, leaving her well equipped to speak for her Mom.
Ms. Clinton debuted on the campaign trail in Iowa this past December where she chanted B-I-N-G-O with a little boy and made her way through lines of prospective supporters asking, “Is there anything we can talk about that would push you over the edge for my Mom?”
Later in the month, in Iowa still, a Cedar Rapids fourth grader and “kid reporter” for Scholastic News, Sydney Rieckhoff, approached Ms. Clinton. Nine-year-old Reickoff had previously posed questions to both Democrat and Republican hopefuls when she asked Ms. Clinton,
“Do you think your dad would be a good ‘first man’ in the White House?”
Brushing the question aside Chelsea replied,
“I’m sorry, I don’t talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you’re cute,”leaving the 9 year old Sydney looking a bit crestfallen. Fortunately for the Senator, Sydney’s Mom, Robyn, had already made up her mind to support Hillary, saying,
“I like her position on family values and health care. And I think it’s time we have a female president.”
By January Ms. Clinton returned to her Alma Mater, Stanford, for a one-day swing through campus in order to talk to young women. Chelsea hosted a round-table discussion and later hosted larger event “open only to sorority members in the Pi Phi lounge.” While some felt it was a success, many Clinton fans and undecideds were “left with a bad taste in their mouths” as the event was only open to members of the Inter-Sorority-Council.
As the Stanford Editorial Board said it,
“[Chelsea] was not a member of a sorority while at Stanford, so her appearance was not a homecoming for a former sorority sister,” adding, “Chelsea sought ‘accessibility’ for her mother’s campaign at a private event that, ten years ago, then-student Chelsea Clinton would not have been invited to attend.”
By February, the former First Daughter was enjoying a sit down breakfast with 21 year old College Junior Jason Rae, who also just happens to be a Democrat Party Super Delegate.
During the 30 minute breakfast, Rae says they discussed Hillary’s electability and mobilizing young people to get involved in politics as well as how the campaign's operations were going.
Just days earlier, MSNBC’s David Shuster came under fire and was suspended for his distasteful comment that the then 27 year old Chelsea’s reaching out to Super Delegates on her Mother’s behalf was “pimping her out.”
At a March event, Chelsea was approached by a Butler University student who worked on the College newspaper, who asked for her opinion
“on the criticism of her mother that how she handled the Lewinsky scandal might be a sign of weakness and she might not be a strong enough candidate to be president.”Evan Strange, the student and Clinton supporter who asked the question said he
“was simply trying to give her daughter an opportunity to show people what makes Hillary so strong.”
Evan said he wasn't expecting Chelsea to lash out at him with her reply,
“Wow, you’re the first person actually that’s ever asked me that question in the, I don’t know maybe, 70 college campuses I’ve now been to, and I do not think that is any of your business.”
Others present said the mood of the room after the question and reply was one of “shock.” On CBS’s Early Show, Evan said,
“I can see where she’d get a little defensive because of the question and hearing Lewinsky over and over again, I can see where she would have reacted that way. But I would like to hear her say something about her record or something else like that rather than dismissing the question.”
Saturday, March 29, Chelsea appeared at the Young Democrats of North Carolina convention, which normally only draws appearances for statewide races. Chelsea reminisced about a couple of isolated incidents on the campaign trail with,
“I didn’t really get how much sexism there still was in our country until I was at a rally with my mom in New Hampshire, and someone came up to me and said, ‘I just can’t see a woman being commander in chief,’” adding that at another New Hampshire rally, “some men stood up and said ‘Iron My Shirt’” while her Mom was giving a speech.
Chelsea explained that she didn't understand that sexism still existed because both the men and women have always supported her in her family. She said,
“I didn’t realize that that wasn’t expected yet in the rest of our country. I have been so profoundly more grateful than I have ever been over the past few months for my parents because of that.”
She also expressed dismay as to why some people find humor in a nutcracker doll that looks like her mother.
Explaining the differences between her Dad’s support of NAFTA and her Mom’s opposition to the trade pact, after a member of the audience said his Mom lost her job due to its passage, the young Clinton replied,
“We don’t agree on everything as a family. I agree with my mother on most things - not everything. I agree with my father on most things - not everything. My mother and father agree on most things - not everything.”
Chelsea appears destined for a life of politics as well. As we learned in the Army, “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your BS.” If nothing else, throw out your favorite ‘Victim Card.’
UPDATE: Chelsea once again ducks a Monica question. Why is it that character doesn't ever matter when a Clinton is running for office?