Chelsea Clinton: Hillary's Secret Weapon?

Chelsea Clinton has changed dramatically from her days as an awkward teenage first daughter.

Now the poised, well-spoken former White House dweller is on the campaign trail, stumping for her mother, Sen. Hillary Clinton, as a powerful surrogate who knows the Democratic presidential candidate's policy positions inside and out.

One thing that hasn't changed since her White House days is that she remains extremely private, not granting any interviews with the press or talking on the record.

However, in the last three months, Clinton, who turns 28 today, has gone from silent daughter to confident campaigner. She has visited more than two dozen states since December and has visited 50 college campuses.


The strain of it all is getting harder to hide.

"Forgive my voice. I've been working hard for my mom. Unfortunately, I'm not as practiced at this as some are, so my vocal chords are a bit out of whack," she told students at Texas Tech University.

Despite the weak voice, she spent more than an hour arguing passionately for her mother, speaking of the senator in the way only a daughter could.

"My mom has been making positive change in people's lives for longer than I've been alive," she told the crowd at Texas Tech.

She knows her mother's stand on the issues, sometimes better than the staff who accompany her. She's fielded questions on everything from health care to net neutrality, becoming a consummate politician.


Putting Her Life on Hold

If Clinton is bothered that she's had to put her life back in New York on hold, she never lets it show. She's on leave from what she jokingly calls her "geeky" hedge fund job, where she reportedly pulls in more than $200,000 a year.

Occasionally, back in New York, she is spotted at a Starbucks, sipping on an iced espresso, or with boyfriend Marc Mezvisnky.

"Chelsea and Marc lead a pretty quiet life," said New York Magazine's Lloyd Grove, who wrote a cover story profiling Clinton this week. "The one thing Chelsea does here is she is on the board of the American Ballet school, couple of galas and such she is involved in — Marc will come to those, but he is careful when the paparazzi is there to keep his distance. The two of them don't like to pose for pictures together."


Tight-Lipped Around the Press

Clinton's no-interview policy was a decision she made in order to maintain some level of privacy. The logic is that if she opens the door even an inch, it will open a mile and she will become a public persona and will have to talk to everyone.

According to Lisa Caputo, Hillary's press secretary when she was first lady, it's an extension of what her parents began.

"When President Clinton was elected, he and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton made a decision to draw a line in the sand around Chelsea and her zone of privacy," Caputo said.


Caputo was asked to help protect Clinton from the prying media. Her mother was acting on advice she had sought out from Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

"We talked about raising children in the public spotlight because she had done it with such grace and success," the former first lady told Barbara Walters in a 2003 interview. "She stressed how you could never let your child become kind of an object of all this public interest, because it would ruin them. You had to keep making sure they didn't feel entitled or indulged. And I took those lessons to heart."

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