17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sorry Mom, I'm 28, you can't tell me what to do.

In honor of the primaries in some states today...

Recently, I read this article about Chelsea Clinton.

A snippet from the article:

"Scholastic News "kid reporter" Sydney Rieckhoff was in pursuit of a story as she questioned presidential candidates last month on the campaign trail in Iowa, according to The Associated Press.

Approaching Chelsea Clinton, she reportedly asked, "Do you think your dad would be a good 'first man' in the White House?"

But Clinton wasn't talking. "I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you're cute," she said, according to the AP."

My impression of the article was that Chelsea's parents forbid her to talk to the media, not that she had made that decision herself.

I am the same age as Chelsea Clinton. I cannot under any circumstance imagine not being permitted to speak my own mind to any one if one of my parents were running for President. I cannot imagine prohibiting my daughters from speaking to the media if I were running for president. I can imagine receiving training on talking to the press, guidelines on what subjects or questions to avoid or providing that training for my daughter if I were running for president.

I find it hard to believe that the offspring of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton is a shy violet, but if she is then I would understand her not wanting to grant interviews, but wouldn't it be different if a 9-year-old girl asked you a quick question or two? Why couldn't she have just replied: "Yes, my dad would make a great First Man...Isn't that something? He would be the FIRST, FIRST man...." or something like that.

What gives?


  • I think Chelsea made the right decision. If she had answered the question, newspapers and other media outlets would be sending kids her way all the time to ask her questions.

    Chelsea has always been very private. I don't think her parents forbid her from speaking to press, I think she values her privacy and has made the decision to avoid media questions. It's also seems presumptuous to assume her parents can forbid her from doing something she wants to do.
    posted by Anonymous MKC at 3/04/2008 03:08:00 PM  

  • I have to second MKC. I don't think it's fair to assume Chelsea is under her parent's thumb.

    Then again, people who run for president are very careful about familial ties. You see what happened to Huckabee when word got out about the one valid mistake his son made? Chelsea is VERY wise not to talk to the media, whether her parents forbid her to or not (and I still think they don't).
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 3/04/2008 04:08:00 PM  

  • Chelsea's never talked to the press, even before Hilary announced her candidacy. I think it's her own decision, not her parents' decision.
    posted by Blogger Melinda at 3/04/2008 08:37:00 PM  

  • Yeah, I have to agree.... I didn't get the impression from the article that her parents "forbid" her to talk to the press.
    posted by Blogger beth at 3/04/2008 08:53:00 PM  

  • First, the correlate of "first lady" is "first gentleman," not "first man."

    Second, I think we have to be careful of judging whose decision it was.

    When one of my daughters was in high school, she chose not to watch a fairly violent unedited film for a history class. She turned the permission slip back to the teacher, saying that with her moral standards, she didn't feel comfortable watching the film. The teacher insisted that she take the permission slip home, "...because maybe your parents will make an exception for something of this quality."

    That's when my daughter kinda lost it, and it frustrated her that the teacher would not respect that it was HER decision.

    Also, I am not sure how much time Chelsea actually spent with her high-achieving parents, to have been shaped by them.
    posted by Anonymous Naismith at 3/05/2008 04:59:00 AM  

  • naismith,

    Thank you for the first MAN clarification, I think a 9-year old is excused for not knowing, but perhaps not me. Thanks for the anecdote too, and that last sentence made me laugh.

    I do wish we could get to know her a bit better, I think that would really help the young people get on Hillary's side a bit more. I wish she would talk! But as my friend HK emailed me, she received a lot of harrassment as a young girl moving into the white house and since then has been really protected. I just question is it OVER protected?
    posted by Blogger Kage at 3/05/2008 07:16:00 AM  

  • As a "first child", Chelsea Clinton has almost no privacy, given that she will have Secret Service Protection for the rest of her life. I have no problem with her basically saying 'Buzz off' to the press, which can be a bunch of soul sucking leeches. If Chelsea Clinton can carve out even a remoitely normal existence for herself with her parents being so high profile, I say more power to her. And part of the normalcy is not getting involved with the press.

    And why does Chelsea need to talk in order for us to make an informed decision about her mother? We're not voting for Hillary based on her mothering skills, nor should we.

    I applaud Chelsea for keeping her mouth shut. Heaven knows where she inherited THAT trait.
    posted by Blogger Heather O. at 3/05/2008 07:53:00 AM  

  • I have to agree with the rest of the commentors - I didn't get the impression that she has been forbidden by her parents to talk to the press. I think it was a smart choice to make or else should would constantly be followed by members of the press hoping to get something "good" out of her about her parents. While she is involved with the campaign - she is trying to at least have some sort of a "normal" life.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/05/2008 08:34:00 AM  

  • So far, the media TRIES to be respectful of candidate's and politician's children. Candidate's and their spouses are considered ok to go after, but going after a president or candidate's child too aggressively is still a little off limits. It is hard enough to be a top politician or candidate's child.

    If Chelsea breaks this silent agreement that she is off limits, she will be hounded for the REST OF HER LIFE, and she will hurt future daughters of future presidents. I think she is being respectful of kids like her and what their experience will be and trying to protect them. Good for her.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3/06/2008 04:43:00 PM  

  • I think in politics things get so crazy so fast--even because of seemingly harmless comments people make. I think it's smart she's not involved for her sake and that of her parents. Even if her parents did ask her (or tell her) not to talk to the press, I don't think that's out of line either. experience.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 3/07/2008 03:05:00 PM  

  • umm, I meant to delete "experience." as it made more sense with the REST of the sentence that I deleted. :)
    posted by Blogger Katie at 3/07/2008 03:07:00 PM  

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