Former first-daughter Chelsea Clinton is the focus of an extensive profile by Jonathan Van Meter in September’s issue of Vogue magazine. In the piece, Van Meter asks Clinton if she might ever consider following in the footsteps of her parents and seeking public office.
The question was a familiar one, it’s something that has cropped up from time to time as Chelsea has tried on various hats, including a stint as a “reporter” for the NBC News program Rock Center. Usually, her response is to blow off the idea and note that there are many ways to serve the public without holding office. But it’s her answer this time that has people talking, as it’s clear the younger Clinton has now cracked open the door to a future in public office.
Clinton, who married investment banker Mark Mezvinsky in 2010, said that after the circus surrounding her high profile wedding, she realized that her status was either “something I could continue to ignore or it was something I could try to use to highlight causes that I really cared about,” she told Vogue.
“Historically I deliberately tried to lead a private life in the public eye,” she said. “And now I am trying to lead a purposefully public life.”
From the Vogue article:
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.”