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Chelsea Clinton, stumping for Mom, gets the Monica question

Back in 1992 when candidate Bill Clinton had the opportunity to tell intrusive questioners where to go when they asked about his underpants, he chickened out. And answered.

Not so, Clinton's daughter, Chelsea.

The only child of the former president and Sen. Hillary Clinton has been outA confident Chelsea Clinton campaigning for her mother Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Hillary Clinton of New York got an unexpected question about her father former president Bill Clinton from a college student in Indianapolis March 25, 2008 and tossed it right back on her own impressing crowds across the country in recent weeks stumping for her mom.  Presumably, the question had to come at some point. And presumably Chelsea was ready.

Tuesday it came. The Monica Lewinsky question. (Please note, it was not the media that inquired.)

There she was in Indianapolis talking to a crowd of maybe 200 students at Butler University, seeking votes for the state's May 6 primary. It was near the end of the session when some guy asked Chelsea if her mother's credibility had been injured by the infamous sexual relationship her father had with the White House intern.

"Wow," said Chelsea, "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.''

Then, she fired: "And I do not think that is any of your business."

The reply drew loud applause. Then, she added, "And I also don't think that should be the last question."

She fielded one more, on global warming, and wrapped it up. Quite neatly.

--Andrew Malcolm and Mark Silva

--Mark Silva writes for the Swamp of the Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau.

                                                                                                         Photo Credit: Reuters

Comments () | Archives (93)

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I wish the media and the Obama's supposedly 'ethical' campaign learn from Chelsea. This is old news and it only shows jealousy, pettiness, nosiness, and desperation when it gets dragged up again. How about the new news that the main stream media is studiously avoiding to cover the Rezko and the fact Obama is refusing to answer these questions:

1. why do you stay for 20 years?
2. why do you still appoint Wright your adviser even though you remove him from the big event of announcing your candidacy?
3. why do you still let your children go to the church to hear Wright's anti-white and anti-american preaching?
4. why do you not wear an American flag pin any more more?
5. why do you pick a new pastor who also believes in Wright teaching?
6. why do you do throw your grandma under the bus with a 'typical white person'
7. why do you incite the Blacks and throw them under the bus by making it sound like all Blacks believe in Wright teaching?
8. why do you contribute large sum of $ to Wright?

Chelsea rocks.

In January, Chelsea talked about her mother’s record on Darfur to Stanford University students, saying that she was “really proud that her mom was the first Democratic senator to call Darfur conflict genocide in May of 2004, and put a lot of pressure on the Bush administration to recognize it as genocide.”

As it turned out, the first senators who actually called Darfur genocide were Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and Sam Brownback, R-Kansas.

Hillary Clinton’s first press statement referring to Darfur as “genocide” wasn’t until March 16, 2006.

Original story at:\

It is too bad that BIll did not have her judgment. Then he would not have committed perjury. Which made it our business at the time.

But in a way, the messy Clinton relationship, including Gennifer, Paula, et al do matter even now. Hillary got on television and played her emotional card and said I did not know. What. "That woman" watches everything and after 25 years and scores of girls, I find it a little incredible.

So, if she knew, then she lied to the American people and does not deserve to be in the highest office. Especially in view of her pattern of continual lies, from Bosnia, Northern Ireland and China to missing records. If she did not know, then she is so out of touch with the world and people around her that she certainly does not need to be in the White House.

I personally would not want my daughter serving as a White House intern if the Clintons were in office.

How can Chelsea say that it's none of our business about the affair her father had? My children are suppose to look up to the President - how do I explain that the man LIED to the American people and she stood by his side? That is NOT the family values I want being taught to my children. I would have respected Chelsea had she answered with a proper answer. I lost respect for her as well with this interview.

While it was hardly an especially pertinent or insightful question, the "none of your business" reply seems ridiculous to me... the question was phrased in a respectful, non-personal way. Hillary knew at the time there was a 'vast right-wing conspiracy' responsible for outting Monica (and in the end she was essentially right about that); so where are those conspirators now, and why did she go silent about it? Chelsea is an adult, and actively campaigning. And this was no personal question.

Of course it is our business. She was not asked, "Did you mother scream at your father and make him sleep on the couch after finding out about Monica?" That is personal. But to ask her if her mother's CREDIBILITY was injured because of her father's actions is totally the voters' business in that credibility refers to what others think, not what the Clintons think.

3. why do you still let your children go to the church to hear Wright's anti-white and anti-american preaching?

Why do you assume you can speak for Wright's history of sermons when all you know is part of a sound bite shown on YouTube and on the news? Can you back it up with concrete evidence? People in the know claim that Wright's vast body of sermons wasn't incendiary like this. Unless someone shows me concrete evidence to the contrary, I'll accept that.

4. why do you not wear an American flag pin any more more?

I'm a patriot. I served this country in the armed forces during wartime and have the medals to show for it. I don't wear an American flag pin on my clothing. Why should Obama? Are you that superficial and simpleminded that you need to see visual proof of lemming-like proclamations of patriotism?

Hillary Clinton, in her remarks on Obama's relationship with Rev. Wright said, in effect, you can't choose your family/relatives, but you can choose your pastor. It seems legitimate to ask if the topic of Hillary's choosing to stay with Bill Clinton is off limits. She could have disowned him and didn't. Some might find a degree of loyalty to people who badly disappoint you admirable. Discussion welcome.

Hillary's rep is damaged! She lied about "dangerous arrival in Bosnia in 1996 under sniper fire." If that was Sen. Obama - it would be front page, top of the news every hour. McCaine don't have that propblem, Sen. Obama don't have that problem. Hillary Clinton was a Barry Goldwater-Girl what that means? Look it up. Hillary knew Bill was a womanizer before they left Arkansas.

Dear "vote4thebest"

I believe Obama has answered every one of your questions. In short Obama is a Christian who has shown his love for America through his actions and not just his words or a pin.

I'm sorry if you think "the blacks" should not support Obama because he acknowledged the anger and hurt of a certain generation of African-Americans while saying that it also fails to acknowledge the progress that has been made. Perhaps you need to read a little harder. Although for most of us these answers are very clear. Now please tell me when Hillary plans to explain the indiscretions of her past, her delusional memories, and her fear of releasing documents to the public.

Thus far, every possible issue has been raised in this campaign. So anyone who is campaigning must be aware that in this campaign, the level of scrutiny is extreme. The issues, while mostly petty, reflect that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. To say "that is none of your business" is an evasive answer that she chose and she had the right to choose that evasive answer. To ask the question is reasonable as well as the answer that she gave.

Re: vote4thebest:
I've read a few stories about Rezko. At this point in the (seemingly endless) campaign, with the stakes being what they are, if there was more to report, it would be reported. I am sure every news organization is using whatever resources it has to mine for information and see if there is anything worth digging, but those things tend to take time. It probably hasn't been more of an issue because the Clinton campaign hasn't made it one of their talking points. After all, if they make a big stink about their opponents' ties to a developer, then they risk reminding everyone of the shady campaign contributions Bill received: the Lincoln bedroom thing, contributions from Chinese nationals, Whitewater (even though there was no wrongdoing in the latter according to the Starr Report), etc.

How is it "none of our business"??? If that is the case then Eliot Spitzer should still be governor!

the underwear question is the wrong question to ask and the daughter is the wrong person to ask. the right question to ask would have been do you believe bill told jennifer flowers, when she questioned his being married at the start of their relationship, hillary has had more women than me and thereby made it okay. still Chelsey is the wrong person to ask, the right one would be hillary as she is cast in a promiscuous light. i guess it's not necessary to ask who is more believable, bill or jennifer, but hillary should be given the chance to refute bill or fess up and go on from there, certainly not to the presidency but possibly to a long and non harmful career in the senate

Hillary Clinton recently commented that she would not keep a pastor like Rev. Wright as her pastor and that you can't choose your family/relatives, but you can choose your pastor. Therefore, it seems legitimate to me for people to raise the issue of Hillary's continued relationship with Bill (a family member, is he not?) in light of his badly disappointing and destructive behavior. Perhaps her loyalty is not that far off from Senator Obama's in condemning the words and actions of his minister without "disowning" him. This is not to say that embarrassing Chelsea Clinton in a student setting with a comment about her father's behavior is not in questionable taste, but it might not be off limits in light of Senator Clinton's own recent remarks. Surely Bill Clinton's earlier behavior has played a role in Hillary Clinton's subsequent behavior. [Sorry if this is a repeat comment, I may have had trouble with the "robo" posting test.]

I can completely understand why Chelsea refused to answer the question and I do not blame her. It is however "our business". The conduct of a sitting President and his wife when she runs for the office is the business of the American people, like it or not. Chelsea was not the person to be asked that question, however it is a valid question and one that should be directed at Hillary and her campaign. If I am going to elect someone to the office of President I want to know what their morals, and ethics are.

I was very impressed by the way Miss Clinto handled herself.

In all honesty and fairness, Chelsea Clinton's comment to that specific question demonstrates insecurity and a lack of morality. The voting public has every right to expect credibility and responsibility from their potential President of the United States of America. It is plainly obvious that when your own father literally gets caught with his pants down that it is indicative of the poor judgment and lack of maintaining public responsibility within the highest office of the land.

I totally disagree with Andrew Malcolm and Marc Silva. As has often been said. 7% is what you say and 93% is how you say it. It is clear by Chelsae's non verbal expressions that she was belittling the student. It was a question that I'm sure others have thought of and for her to say-it's none of your business-excuse me??!! the whole world and the media made it their business almost to the point of impeachment. Her response was not only arrogant but did not address the question- as they say, the apple does not fall far from the tree-Chelsae avoided the question but was crudely and obviously rude in doing so...she could have as easily said: "Thanks for asking the question, but I don't think so, she did not have anything to do with it..."thereby appropriately answering and addressing the issue and likely drawing a chuckle. It is the type of response Obama might have given- as has been seen with his most appropriate responses to delicate questions.

Oh please. Chelsea is fully engaged on the campaign trail stumping for Mom but the press is given a "strictly hands off" mandate just like she was when she was a twelve year old kid in the White House. It was OK back then but how old is she now? She also only answers warm and fuzzy questions from college students and will not respond to hard ball questions from the media. So finally a college kid asks her a tough question and she says "it's none of your business". Sorry Chelsea, it's time to grow up. You're an adult now so if you want to campaign for Mom you get the same scrutiny as every other ADULT on the campaign trail so you get to answer real adult questions. "None of your business" is a wimp answer. If you can't face the heat go get a real job and leave the heat to real adults..


Your questions 2-8 make sense, but you might want to avoid #1 when discussing the Clintons. It sorta reiterates exactly what Chelsea and mom don't want to discuss.

Though it is an interesting approach to the issue of voter consideration of candidate credibility.

Way to go. Hillary is a fighter. Bill too. And now Chelsea. I want my candidate to fight for me.

chelsea is chelsea. hillary is hillary.

Chelsea's father's actions in the White House would not constitute 3-rd party sexual harassment. However, my questions would be:

1. Does your Stanford University honors thesis regarding the Irish peace process support your mother's contention that she brought peace to Ireland?

2. Did you try to correct your mother's memory regarding the trip to Bosnia you accompanied her on?

GOOD FOR HER! She seems to have a bit more common sense and assertive intelligence than either of her parents at this point. It gives me hope that if her mother is elected, some good advice from her daughter might do the country well. a.g.

Bravo, Chelsea. Bravo.

Chelsea is dodging the question. And we the public have a right to ask her what her thoughts are on the matter. Inquiring minds want to know. Why didn't Hillary dump that philadering husband of hers after his affair with a white house intern became public. Hillary didn't dump him because she has a business arrangement with Bill, you be president first then I'll be president. Of course Bill's philandering and then lying about it ("I did not have sex with that woman Monica Lewinsky") hurts Hillary's credibility. But she decided to stand by her man becuase of her vast ambition, using his name and fame to get into the White House just like she parlayed first lady fame to get to be a New York senator.

Why are the Clintons still in this race? Hillary has at best a 5% chance of winning but in the meantime is destroying the Democratic Party. Perhaps she is looking to be McCain's running mate.

Chelsea said the right thing. And "vote4thebest" needs to learn how to use definite articles. Take an English class some time. Maybe you'll learn how to think while you're practicing your grammar. Imbecile.

Chelsea sets a great example for everyone on the campaign trail: stick to the issues of the campaign and to the candidates' experience, record, and their vision and concrete plans for how they are going to turn this country around.

Chelsea is a class act.

Chelse has grown up to be a pretty woman. And she is the smartest one out there!

Asking whether Hillary has any credibility left is a perfectly legitimate question. The answer is also clear, No she is a liar.


I'm so glad all these people are so upset by Clinton's oral sexapade, years later.

Have these same righteous people been so worried about Roosevelt, Eisenhauer, Kennedy, and Bush I's well doccumented mistresses?

Do they consider Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin unfit models for their known infidelities?

Or where is the outrage about Reagan's out of wedlock conception of his daughter with Nancy?

So Chelsea thinks she is above being vetted for her parents, eh? I thought that question was a fair one. Many clinton supportors - like her - desire to forget the Lewinsky affair, I don't see anything wrong in bringing it up;. Her lying and disgusting mother recently smeared Rev. Wright.. didn't she? The Clintons want the American public to foget about their disgraceful behavior in the White house... well we can't and we won't . It is an ignomious part of their history....
How can Chelsea think she is so "special" that members of the public can't dare to ask these types of questions of her.. Who does she think she is?. She is out there on her parents campaign trail for her parents... and if I was there, I would have asked the same question and much more about the scandalous way in which her dad demeaned the Pesidency of the United States, and place the American people in turmoil during theose years..And to stand there playing prima donna Chelsea, like... "I don't speak to the media, only to students, and nobody ask me anything about my parents... " attitude... is repulsive - as if everything is fine and dandy with mom and dad. She take her hypocritical behavior from her parents.. She too, is yearing to get back inthe White House...they think it is their right... She is a campaigner, isn't she. Also, why is the media covering Chelsea when she is "off limits to the press" and averse to the American public asking these types of questions about her parents behavior? It is the public's business; here's someone who wants media coverage, but doesn't even think she should speak to the media... arrogance!
Her parents nasty campaign-style, and their infamous conduct in the White House and the Whitewater affair.... so, hey, Chelsea, get lost, and stop pretending that you are a prima donna averse to anwering the tough questions.

I do hope more Lewisnky questions and Whitewater surface as the campaign progresses.

Vote4thebest (and everyone else that continues to ask):


THE REAL ANSWER TO THE QUESTION WHY OBAMA DID NOT LEAVE HIS CHURCH/PASTOR OF 20+ YEARS: Obama said Rev. Wright’s comments were not reflective of his feelings/thoughts about America and his reasons for reamaining with the church for 20+ years is BECAUSE Obama should have made it more apparent in his race speech regarding the influences of his early childhood experiences. I believe that for the lack of a father figure, Obama conscientiously chose Rev Wright as a substitution for what might had been had Obama’s real father stayed in his parent's marriage. It was the emotional tie and psychology behind Obama choice to stay in the church/pastor for 20+ years. Yes, Obama could have gone to another church, etc. but Obama probably viewed his father through Rev. Wright - both for what Obama says is the Rev’s intellect and biblical scholarship. Those feelings are evident in a quoted text: “Wright didn't mention Obama by name but nevertheless recounted the candidate's life story. The minister spoke about a biracial child using hope to overcome racism, go to an Ivy League law school and become a politician. "How many children of biracial parents can make it in a world controlled by racist ideology?" Wright asked. "But if you use your mind, instead of a lost statistic in a hate-filled universe, you just may end up a law student at Harvard University. In fact, if you use your mind, you might end up as the editor of the Harvard Law Review. If you use your mind, instead of [being] a statistic destined for the poor house, you just may end up a statesman destined for the . . . Yes, we can!" Wright said, without mentioning the White House, but using the Obama campaign slogan to bring the crowd to its feet.”

I think that Obama is going to have to tackle the Democratic Rednecks of this county. They are all through the north, south, east and west. The NASCAR folks, the fisherman, the WWF folks, and so on. Let me explain something, and let me be very clear, they may have been Democrats until now. With the Wright stuff and Obama's mean white people approach, it is impossible for him to accommodate these folks. They know the real story and remember what has happened. Affirmative action set the poor whites aside so the black folks could get in front of the line. And what is going on today. A National Black caucus. What? The have kept silent hoping to help the nation. In the past they have embraced the Democratic Party also in an attempt to vote against the corporate greed and inequalities. But now, with so many businesses in the dumps and so many factories closing, those thoughts are beginning not to hold water. Remember, these people are Democratic voters. Obama needs to bring out the truths about what has happened since the 60s and his wife the same, and get away from that white hating church. How dare he attempt to unify the Latin Americans and Oriental and Indian and Middle Eastern and Russian and European and African and the rest to all of us who make up America with those unhealthy statements and attitudes. Do you really hate us? Let's not destroy America.

It is none of our business because Bill is not running for president, Hillary is. Hillary did not have an affair, Bill did. Besides, it is for the voters to decide if Hillary's credibilty was tarnished by Bill's affair, there was no reason for Chelsea to comment on it. I commend her and think she is a fine role model for my daughters, just as her mother is. And there is no equating staying in contact with a questionable minister and staying with an adulterous husband, so don't go there. Spouses are family and Hillary and Bill had a child together. There are a heck of a lot of women out there, unfortuantely, who have made the same choice. And most of them will tell you that they did not know about the affair until they knew about the affair. I don't hold that against Hilllary in the least. In fact, I have always thought she handled the herself commendably in the light of her husband's shame.
And to put all my views in context, I am an Obama supporter. I just happen to feel that Bill's indiscretions have NO place in this campaign.

Why are the main stream media wasting their resources on stories like this one? What do you expect from the daughter of parents who are well known to lie, lie and lie and deny, deny and deny. For those Hilarry Clinton's lovers and admirers: if Clinton wins, rest assure you that she will be impeached within one year in office.

True : Bill did cheat on Hillary a few times.
Also true : Both Barak and his spouse Cheated on America for 20 years by subscribing to a sect of anti-white,anti-semitic and wost anti-America.Chelsea was
more than charitable in her answer to that Obama

Isn't it funny ... reading these posts I've learned that if I'm a democrat (which I am, life long) and I don't/won't vote for Obama (also true) then I'm a racist, redneck, destroyer of the party, and whatever other name I'm to be called for not being on the Obama team. I have news for you name callers ... I'm an individual who is going to question everything I see in this process and everything I don't see. And if that's irritating to you, if you think I'm standing in the way of the second coming (small caps in this case), then that's too bad. I don't believe in playing follow the leader. I want to think for myself. But keep it up, fellow democrats who would call me a name. I just might vote for John McCain in November. Never voted Republican in my life but this could be the first time ... just to get away from the rest of you.

To Joseph,

HERE HERE! I concur completely and could have not put it better. It IS our business.

This was a question of substance and deserved, at least, an attempt to answer it.
When you lie to the American people under oath, it then--unmistakably--becomes our business.
When figures enter the public life, I feel, it is expected that you lose some privacy. When your mother is campaigning for president anything that her husband did in office is free game. I don't care for these old politicians. I know Barack lacks in areas, but one thing is for sure that he is something new and fresh. And ladies and gentlemen, that is what I respect about the man.

To tjhe blogger named "GIRL WITH THE BUSHY AMRPITS":

Are you European? Maybe East-German or Russian? They have bushy armpits too.

I don't think she liked the question but it was fair. Her curt response was cheap. Her father's actions were an ambarrassment for the Clinton's which Hillary recognized as a threat to her ambitions and an embarrassment to the office of the President. Hiilary's response to the situation just continued the saga of her life long zeal to be in the political spot light at any cost. Now the cost is her child defending her associations, actions and words. Its time we American's try something else besides egotism as a qualification for public leadership positions.


> But keep it up, fellow democrats who would call me a name. I just might vote for John McCain in November. Never voted Republican in my life but this could be the first time ... just to get away from the rest of you.

Do you know the joke John McCain said about young teenager Chelsea?

Senator John McCain said "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.”

That joke is unforgivable from a Senator! There you go wandering to his side, self defeating Democrat that you are. I called you that name, self defeating!

Stand on your principles! No matter which Democrat wins, its likely Obama at this point. They both will be important figures dealing with Federal policies. One of them, Obama, should be in the White House!

There is no going over to the Conservative Republican's side! That's the group where Tom Delay influenced. Where lobbyists get powerful like criminal Jack Ambramoff.

Former Senator George Allen hangs around them doing stand up, his "macaca" joke cost him his job.

There is no joke, the misrepresentation that's occured with Bush in the White House.

He and his party have ruined image of this country internationally. His economic policies have devauled the dollar and more fraud than ever on Wall Street occured, because those investments banks put Bush in the White House.

You go on that side, forget you're a Democrat forever. That's a life decision moment you're about to do.

If you go to that side in Nov. Democrats don't want you back.

Copied from the article: "It was near the end of the session when some guy asked Chelsea if her mother's credibility had been injured by the infamous sexual relationship her father had with the White House intern."

When I first heard that a guy asked Chelsea the Monica question, my reactions were, (1) why in the world did he bring up a subject that has been beaten to death for so many years, and (2) leave it to a guy to bring up a sex question. Then I read the question and realized that the guy was asking for Chelsea's opinion.

I don't buy it that he thought it was a fair question, and I don't buy it that others commenting here also thought it was a fair question. He was asking her opinion. Since when should her opinion be OUR business? Monicagate has been over for at least nine years folks, and the voters who support or don't support Hillary Clinton have already factored that situation into their decision.

The young man said he is a Clinton supporter. By admitting that, he has already factored the Monica situation into his decision. His asking for her opinion was way out of line and very disrespectful of this fine young woman. Her answer was right on. Her opinion is none of his business.

From one of the comments above: "How can Chelsea say that it's none of our business about the affair her father had? My children are suppose to look up to the President - how do I explain that the man LIED to the American people and she stood by his side? "

To this commenter, I say that you probably know everything about that affair and have enough information to pass on to your children. Yet you think Chelsea's OPINION of how it may affect her mother's credibility is your business? Shame on you.

how bad has this election gotten? makeing a big deal about asking a daughter about her fathers actions. is this part of the change we keep hearing about? if Hill doesn't get the nomations there will be two more votes for McCain.

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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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