Wednesday, April 2, 2008
On March 25, 2008 Chelsea Clinton was campaigning for her mother, Senator Hillary Clinton. The younger Ms. Clinton was making one in a series of campaign stops at college campuses at Butler College in Indianapolis, Indiana. A student journalist asked Ms. Clinton if Senator Clinton's credibility was harmed by former President Bill Clinton's involvement with a White House intern.
The younger Ms. Clinton responded to the question with remarkable poise and grace, "Wow, 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, and I do not think that is any of your business."
I am no fan or supporter of Hillary Clinton or former President Clinton. I believe that there are way too many unanswered questions about Whitewater, futures trading, and long misplaced files suddenly appearing on a table in the White House. Beyond that I am much more impressed that while Senator Clinton was practicing law and doing her "First Lady" gigs, Senator Obama was working with and for, and living among the poor and marginalized in Chicago.
Senator Clinton apparently "misspoke" about whether or not she was "under fire" in Eastern Europe, which seems odd to me, since I am quite sure that if you were for the one and only time in your life under fire in a combat zone I believe it would sufficiently impress itself upon your mind that it would be highly unlikely that you might "misspeak"about it years later, and only when campaigning for President of the United States. If, in fact, Senator Clinton did misspeak about being under fire, I would have serious concerns about her cognitive lapses.
Lastly, Senator Clinton's abrupt relocation to New York, a large state with a large Democratic voting block, seems to me to be a completely transparent attempt to position herself for a presidential campaign. Senator Clinton assumed that the Democratic party would enthusiastically embrace her and bestow the mantle of candidate upon her by default. Senator Clinton did not anticipate that Senator Obama wold be such a popular candidate.
But beyond all of that I am very troubled by how negative Senator Clinton has been in attacking Senator Obama, and we are still in the primary campaign.
So when the younger Clinton speaks with such grace and poise, is direct, makes no clever attempt to avoid or dismiss the question, and answers honestly with a tact far in excess of the question, I am very pleased. In fact, I want to know when Chelsea will run for something.
The student journalist who asked the question later defended the question by lamely claiming he was interested in Chelsea's response, principally to illustrate how Senator Clinton successfully negotiated a difficult time in her life. I think I can hear his nose growing now.
Regrettably, and amazingly, that has not been the end of it. Again on March 31, 2008 Chelsea Clinton was at North Carolina State University and was asked a similar question. The younger Ms. Clinton's response was equally tactful, poised, graceful, and direct.
It does make me question how truthful the American public is being when they consistently say that they don't like negative campaigning, since these inappropriate questions keep coming up and all the research indicates that despite our faint protests, negative campaigning works.