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Chelsea offers a glimpse of the White House years

It's been rare to see or hear from Chelsea Clinton on the campaign trail. But she surfaced this past weekend and, in one exchange, provided a small bit of insight into how she was influenced by spending eight years of her early life living in the White House.

On Saturday in Iowa, as part of the effort by her mom's presidential campaign to distract attention from the major attraction in the state (the Oprah/Obama Express), the 27-year-old former first daughter was at Hillary Clinton's side. The pair, along with the candidate's mother, Dorothy Rodham, mixed with voters during stops across Iowa. In the best tradition of Camp Clinton, however, they spent no time chatting with the press. So the best bet for a reporter to glean any information was to lurk nearby as she pressed the flesh, which is exactly what The Times' Peter Nicholas did.

In Des Moines, he learned something about her tastes in entertainment. After hearing that one woman was in town to see the Rockettes perform, Chelsea offered: "I saw the Rockettes this week in New York!''

Most of the interaction was even more perfunctory, as would be expected. But in Madison County -- as in "Bridges of ..." -- one of her conversations proved more revealing.

A man smiled at her and said she was a role model who compared favorably to President Bush's twin daughters. He then made reference to some drinking episodes involving Jenna and Barbara Bush when they were underage by a few years.

You wouldn't do that, he said to Chelsea.

"No, but I ... '' she said, and hesitated. "I grew up with it'' -- an apparent reference to the fact that she was 12 years old when her father entered the White House and, thus, acclimated herself to the spotlight before she was inclined to sow some wild oats.

Later, she told another voter: "I'm also a control freak.''

-- Don Frederick

Comments () | Archives (5)

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Will Chelsea be President of the US after Jenna? With only two families running the government, we are becoming a super-sized Syria!

I signed up to receive email from "Friends of Hillary" two years ago; had been following her.

The way Hillary converses and brings in her connections including family, she is quite a "society lady". An article in the current Jewish "Forward" relates the story of her mentor for experience previous to her Yale trip, in which among a number of choices she choose to work under Melvin Laird, a chairman of the national Republican party. He was one of the most intelligent politicians of the time,; quite an operator but no progressive. He also had headed as CEO a major producer of laboratory instrumentation.

Senator Hillary Clinton has an All American,middle class background,with gifted intelligence she far surpasses all the other candidates.Her strengths and determination to overcome obstacles will make her one of the strongest leaders America has elected.
Chelsea Clinton represents the best of two very dedicated parents and makes us all proud.
The HATE HILLARY campaigns on FOX news,and MSNBC,Huff Post are disgusting and the American people see through the pettiness,and weakness of these shallow people throwing stones,and making up lies in order to promote the least qualified.
Senator Clinton will win and get this country going in the right direction.The economy,healthcare,educational improvements ,energy will be addressed day one, and getting out of this senseless war is a number one priority.
Pray for her and this country,STOP the Haters. She will select only the brightest and best to assist in this monumental task.

I think Chelsea has been the best first daughter. She never had any negatives and made us proud. I think like her father, she is a great asset for Hillary.
I agree with the above mentioned, MSNBC and Fox being card carrying Clinton bashers. Shawn Hannity hates all progressives and somehow I find that very comforting. I think Chis Mathews, who on his show declared Hillary the person who will win her party's nomination should try to remember that. He is very insulting and quite frankly, it's difficult to find a news show that is fair and balanced. CNN is just as bad with Blitzer. Howard Dean did not fall from grace because of incompetency, he fell because the press kept playing the scream. The Press has a responsibility to deliver news, NOT change our perception of news.

I think ALL cable news shows are biased and unfair. CNN has addded yet another republican to their staff Campbell Brown. The Situation Room with Wlf Blitzer has two repulicans analizing a democrat. There used to be one Democrat and one republican. Where is the news show which is fair and balanced?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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