Chelsea Clinton Has Arrived

The Clinton Global Initiative soldiered on this week amid controversy surrounding the dealings of Bill Clinton's former aide Doug Band. But one of the main stories of the conference is heir-apparent Chelsea (aside from all the celebrity appearances, of course). 

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The Clinton Global Initiative soldiered on this week amid controversy surrounding the dealings of Bill Clinton's former aide Doug Band. But one of the main stories of the conference is heir-apparent Chelsea (aside from all the celebrity appearances, of course). This isn't Chelsea's first major CGI appearance, but it's the first one where her first name appears in the title of the Clinton Foundation. And Chelsea said in August that she's now trying to lead a "purposely public life." So is Chelsea having a moment? We think so.

She's become a key leader of the foundation

One Clinton supporter told Politico, “It’s like watching someone as a child playing in their parents’ shoes, and then suddenly they’re giving orders." Chelsea, who's the vice chair of the foundation, admitted, "I've helped shut down things that we’re not particularly good at, which is a hard thing in the nonprofit sector." This week, she's "announced several philanthropic commitments... including efforts to provide clean drinking water and promote the health of women and children in Latin America." She's also led panels and done more solo interviews than ever before. Politico's Maggie Haberman reports that Chelsea is a "major player" in the effort to fundraise a $250 million endowment, which the Clintons hope will be completed in advance of 2016. Former Bill Clinton aide James Carville told Haberman, "I'd be surprised if [Chelsea] didn't, you know, do some things differently [at the foundation.] Obviously she's assuming more and more of a presence there."

Noreen Malone at The New Republic pointed out in August that Chelsea doesn't have the most dazzling demeanor, but that for "the daughter of two of the most polarizing politicians of modern history, it might count as a small act of rebellion to be so deliberately uncontroversial." Malone concluded, "her father is a former president, and her mother might be the future one, but I’d guess that Chelsea — if she isn’t already — will be the one really in charge of the Clinton family."

She's ready to go public

In addition to giving more interviews than ever before at CGI (including Time, The Daily Show, and the coveted Muppet interview at right), Clinton is now a special correspondent at NBC News. Her segments there haven't exactly been hard-hitting journalism, but that's not the point. Her increased presence in the media is all part of living that "purposely public life." Which, of course, is a hint that she may one day run for office. The idea is being taken seriously by some — in August, Aaron Blake at The Washington Post mapped out logistically where she could run.

She's committed to women's issues

The Clinton Foundation has always made feminist issues a priority, but Chelsea made a point to speak out about them at CGI this week. She hinted at her mother's possible presidential run this way: "Role models really matter. It's hard to imagine yourself as something you don't see." And despite the fact that she doesn't know whether or not she's a Millenial, she wants to encourage young people to be active on the issues. “I certainly feel that responsibility," she said at a civic engagement panel. "The invisibility of girls and women is staggering." And she's hip to the Internet: She praised the work of "young feminist bloggers who are trying to figure our how to create a safe space to take action on gender-based violence here at home."

Her dad thinks she could be president

Piers Morgan asked Bill the (honestly, dumb) question of who would make a better president this week — Hillary or Chelsea. He responded, "Day after tomorrow, my wife because she's had more experience. Over the long run, Chelsea. She knows more than we do about everything." At the very least, she could help her mom in 2016. There's "broad speculation" Chelsea could get the message out to a "younger generation that doesn’t remember the Clinton era of the 1990s."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.