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Friday, October 28, 2016

To discover what Chelsea Clinton is doing with her life – and why – shouldn’t pose much of a challenge to any reasonably industrious journalist. In recent months, after all, she has stepped into the spotlight to advance the causes that excite her. Yet the political press still seems far more inclined to ruminate over her supposed ambitions rather than report her real concerns.

Which according to her include, among other things, an unshakeable obsession with diarrhea.

Speculation over the potential political future of the former First Daughter erupted Tuesday in Politico, on the CNN website, and on the political blog The Fix, which published “Where Chelsea Could Run” – a close analysis of residency requirements for a New York City Council seat and her obvious lack of credentials to seek the New York state attorney general’s office (she isn’t a lawyer).  It is true that she gave an opening for such stories by responding candidly to a question from CNN and the BBC, saying that she has no current plans to run for office but might consider entering politics “someday.”

“I’m … grateful to live in a city and a state and a country where I really believe in my elected officials, and their ethos and their competencies,” she said. “Someday, if either of those weren’t true and I thought I could make more of a difference in the public sector, or if I didn’t like how my city or state or country were being run, I’d have to ask and answer that question.”

She went on to explain: “I really felt like I could make a difference and then I should make a difference. And I had very much led a deliberately private life for a long time, and now I’m attempting to lead a purposely public life.”

As both news outlets noted, her response was exactly the same answer she has given to the same question in past interviews. Still the Post blogger insisted, “it’s also clear she is leaving that door open.” Yes, perhaps, but so what?

Comically enough, this flurry of pointless prognostication coincided with her latest trip to Africa, where she demonstrated precisely what she means when she mentions a public life – namely, her role as the Clinton Foundation’s vice chair and, increasingly, as its public face and spokesperson. She spent nine days with her father and a large contingent of foundation donors and press (including me) on a fast-paced, exhilarating, and occasionally grueling tour through Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, and South Africa, touching down at the sites of health clinics, agricultural projects, youth service organizations, and other efforts to improve the lives of Africans.

The tumultuous welcome received by the Clinton delegation at every stop suggested the impact of the foundation’s work, from life-saving AIDS medications and quality health services provided to millions across the continent to pioneering agricultural support for small farmers to major renewable energy projects – as well as a newly announced initiative to produce and manufacture fortified foods in six African countries with the aim of ending child malnutrition on the continent.

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  • FT66

    We understand you Chelsea your ambition. It is in your DNA. Can you please put it at an halt at the moment until we are done with making your Mum the first ever US Woman President?

  • elw

    The Right and the Press are obsessed with anything Clinton. That is why nothing they say about any of the Clintons will ever really be valid. For the Right a Clinton running for office is the next great political disaster for them, because they cannot compete against anyone who is articulate and rational. So their response to Chelsea, who has grown into an elegant, bright, articulate adult is pure fear. But, as a person with a Masters in Public Health and many decades of experience working for the public good, I can tell you no one goes into Public Health for the money and the work itself is far more gratifying than any political position. Nothing is better pay than to see how what you have done is helping an actual person. If Chelsea was really interested in politics as a career, she would have become a lawyer. And as far as ambition goes, an obsession with diarrhea and the problems connected with it can take a life time to solve and will take far more ambition than running for public office. After all, you need real brains (not just money) to solve a problem as big as diarrhea diseases and the pain and suffering they cause in the world. You go girl, the world need you.

  • Allan Richardson

    Being raised around politicians probably taught her a lot about diarrhea. That was the joke, but seriously, what is for most Americans an “inconvenience” most of the time can be life-threatening under certain circumstance. And those circumstances are much more common in third world nations, where well equipped emergency rooms are rare.

    Her mother tried to make both emergency care and routine medical care to avoid the need for emergency care more affordable in this country, and was pounded by the fictional Harry and Louise ads (did I get the names right?) for her efforts. And the same big bucks interests are trying to stop Obamacare in the name of “freedom” (meaning freedom to choose between dying and going broke) from being put into action.

    Maybe Chelsea is reasoning that, if you get ONE sanitary well in ONE village, and teach the population of that ONE village how to avoid and treat the dehydration caused by diarrhea, she can make a bigger PERCENTAGE impact than trying and possibly failing to get an entire country to take better care of its poorest citizens.

    • erma652

      as Bradley replied I’m alarmed that someone able to profit $8750 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you look at this website w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • Oarboar

    Actually covering what Chelsea is doing in Africa would require NY/DC insider journalists to acknowledge that there’s life outside New York and DC, let alone America. That world confuses and frightens them.

    Go Chelsea, go!