- Vogue/Mario Testino
Chelsea Clinton is featured in the current Vogue and her willingness to let a reporter spend extended time with her is a sign of her growing public presence. (It’s not exactly new. Don’t forget her high-profile role in her mother’s presidential campaign in 2008.) But the Little Rock-born daughter of the president and secretary of state admits to her interest in the Vogue article, quoted by Politico:
People around Chelsea have noticed a change in her, too. “As she’s been exposed to the foundation and to what her father’s doing with his post-presidential life,” says Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, “I think a light switched on: This is the legacy I’m going to inherit. To say it is an incredible one is an understatement. She now knows that in 20, 30 years, everything about her father’s legacy is in her hands. It’s going to be Chelsea’s responsibility to carry that torch. This is the core of what her grandmother encouraged her to do: embrace her inheritance.”
In many ways, she already has. Even the way she agreed to be interviewed — having a writer embedded for weeks — is the way she’s watched her parents do it for years. Let’s face it, she has their pace, if not yet their global platform. I ask her, Could you ever imagine running for public office? “Before my mom’s campaign I would have said no. Not because it was something I had thought a lot about but because people have been asking me that my whole life. Even during my father’s 1984 gubernatorial campaign, it was, Do you want to grow up and be governor one day? No. I am 4. And also because I believe that there are many ways for each of us to play our part. For a very long time that’s what my mom did. And then she went into elected public life. Her life is a testament to the principle that there are many ways to serve.” She pauses. “And now I don’t know. … I mean, I have voted in every election that I have been qualified to vote in since I turned 18. I believe that engaging in the political process is part of being a good person. And I certainly believe that part of helping to build a better world is ensuring that we have political leaders who are committed to that premise. So if there were to be a point where it was something I felt called to do and I didn’t think there was someone who was sufficiently committed to building a healthier, more just, more equitable, more productive world? Then that would be a question I’d have to ask and answer.”
Politico, naturally, focused on the political angle of what is otherwise an extensive and warm profile that touches on Chelsea’s childhood in Arkansas, her current role teaching health care policy in New York, her relationship with her family and even a late-night run to the Capital Hotel bar for a scotch after opening of the Clinton Library exhibit about her grandmothers. I admit a bias from knowing her as a friend of my daughter since Montessori school. She’s bright, speaks carefully and is well-schooled from, as she notes, being on the front page of the newspaper since the day after she was born. I still recall seeing her with her father when he made his final trip to Little Rock as president. Then 20, she greeted me warmly in the hangar at Central Flying Service. I asked her something casually about her plans. She responded: “Are you asking as a reporter or as Martha’s father?” We spoke off the record.