Chelsea Clinton Speaks for Family and Raises Her Profile

"There will be pressure for her to run," one Democratic strategist says.

January 2, 2013, 4:52 PM

Jan. 4, 2013— -- While Hillary Clinton was in the hospital it was daughter Chelsea -- not the secretary of state or the former president Bill Clinton -- who spoke for the family.

She, along with the State Department, doled out what little information the family wanted to share in a series of tweets and when her mother was released from the hospital, it was Chelsea who delivered the thanks on behalf of her parents, tweeting her gratitude to the doctors as well as those who kept her mother in their thoughts while she recovered from a blood clot.

When Hillary Clinton leaves office, possibly at the end of this month, it will be the first time since 1982 that a Clinton will not be holding a public office.

The watch will be on whether Hillary Clinton makes another run for the White House in 2016, but almost inevitably people will also be watching to see if Chelsea Clinton decides to run for office, too.

"Americans always look for dynasties: Bush, Kennedy, Cuomo, Clinton … it's some kind of continuity. There will always be pressure on her to run for public office," said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political strategist in New York.

"She's learning from the two best politicians in recent American history and she understands when to hold them and when to fold them," Sheinkopf said.

That sense of dynasty could also present a significant hurdle.

"She's got to A, demonstrate that she has the charisma of her father, or B, demonstrate that she has the policy chops of her mother. And I think like most people she is somewhere in between," a former Hillary Clinton aide from her 2008 campaign said. "People are judging her through each of her parents and it's an impossible standard."

Chelsea Clinton, 32, has inched towards a possible political career in recent statements and has become more politically active.

In an interview with Vogue published in August she was more open to it than she has been in the past, telling the magazine, "Before my mom's (presidential) campaign I would have said no," but "now I don't know."

"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."

Clinton also spoke of a change in her private to public life:

"Historically I deliberately tried to lead a private life in the public eye," she told the magazine. "And now I am trying to lead a purposefully public life."

Besides her work as a special correspondent with NBC, Chelsea Clinton has taken on high profile roles with her father's Clinton Global Initiative. She sits on several corporate boards and has both moderated and sat on panels discussing both women in politics and childhood obesity, among other issues.

She has also worked toward making same-sex marriage legal in New York last year, as well as gay marriage referendums in Maine, Maryland, Wisconsin and Washington state, all of which were successful in November. She has also been active in superstorm Sandy recovery, most notably delivering aid to the devastated Rockaways with her father.

Chelsea Clinton Raises Profile and Speculation

"She is incredibly busy," a current Clinton aide said. "She's doing a lot with the foundation, she's doing a lot with the Clinton Global Initiative. She's doing a lot of (teaching at) NYU. She's really busy, but I do think you can start to see there's a common thread to everything she's doing."

"She was great to work with," said Brian Ellner who worked with Chelsea Clinton on the same sex marriage issue in New York. "She is enormously enthusiastic and supportive on the issue, but in addition, she wanted to do real work. As opposed to just making appearances, she actually came in a couple of times and did phone banking, making calls all around the state urging New Yorkers to support marriage equality and to call their state representatives."

Ellner said the younger Clinton "is enormously popular and has really come to represent her generation of young Americans who feel strongly on this issue and many others."

"Whether it is pursuing elected politics or increasing her role at the foundation or doing other things because she is right on all of the issues, she's working extraordinarily hard to help people," Ellner said. "I think she really represents her generation extraordinarily well."

During her mother's 2008 presidential campaign, Chelsea Clintoncampaigned throughout the country stumping on her mother's behalf.

It was one of her first public roles and although she didn't answer press questions at the events she got the experience of wooing crowds, as well as taking questions in town halls, not the easiest thing for even the most seasoned politicians to do.

The 2008 Clinton staffer said Chelsea Clinton became an "active member" of the campaign, something she would likely repeat if her mother decides to run in 2016.

"It gave her a taste of what it means to be a public figure in the more traditional sense," the former aide said.

Not everyone is convinced she is bound to run for office.

"It's not a given that she will have a public life in elected politics," the former staffer said. "I would tell you, I don't think she's going to. I think she would end up being a reluctant candidate at this point in time."

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