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What They Are Saying About: Chelsea Clinton

Post by Jesse Russell on 2/12/2008 12:20am

chelseaclinton021208.jpgWe haven't done a "What They Are Saying About..." in a long, long time and the stop by Chelsea Clinton to the UW-Madison campus seems like a better place than any to bring it back. "What They Are Saying About..." is a feature where we troll the blogs and traditional media to see what is being discussed concerning Madison or Wisconsin issues. Chelsea Clinton hosted a Q&A session on campus for her mother, Hillary Clinton, who, in case you are living under a rock, is campaigning to be the Democratic nominee for President. Wisconsin votes on February 19 along with Hawaii. Thankfully, we have more delegates then the island state so the politicians are braving our frozen tundra instead of hosting rallies on beaches in the Sun. As Bessie Cherry noted on dane101 Sunday sending Chelsea to woo the student vote in Wisconsin is a smart idea because "in the 2004 presidential election, Wisconsin boasted the second highest rate of youth voter turnout in the nation." Below is what the blogs and MSM are saying about Chelsea:

The best coverage of the event came from the UW-Madison College Democrats. Oliver Kiefer live-blogged the whole thing and provides a solid write-up for those of us who couldn't make it.
Part One: Social Security and Renewable Power
Part Two: Iraq War and Redeployment
Part Three: Veterans Healthcare and LGBT issues
Part Four: Superdelegates, NCLB, Free trade, and Lambeau Field

Keifer summed up the event thusly:


All told, she answered questions for about an hour. She was honest, approachable, and handled the tough questions with class. She represented her mother well and helped to connect with a younger generation of voters.

Something Verbose also has a solid round up pointing out that the First Daughter had to deal with a number of hecklers and she handled it with grace (he also provides video):

Chelsea's self-effacing humor and calm in the face of some pretty testy questions went over well with the crowd. She definitely had a good grasp on the issues, but was by no means an excellent or even what I would describe as a very good speaker.

Writing for Isthmus, Nathan Comp also captures the heckler moment and Chelsea's clever retort:

She took a question from the heckler who moments earlier had implied her mother is complicit in the deaths of Iraqi civilians, asking if Clinton has ever expressed remorse for war casualties. Calm, composed, collected, Chelsea didn't miss a beat, explaining, albeit somewhat perfunctory, that her mother had initially voted to put weapons inspectors back in Iraq, but supported the war based on the evidence presented to her. He lamented that she should have anticipated a high death toll.

"Maybe you had clairvoyance, and that's amazing," Chelsea chided.

A well discussed story Monday had to do with Chelsea's breakfast with Marquette junior Jason Rae. Turns out Rae is the youngest superdelegate in Wisconsin and possibly the country "one of the 796 free agents who can back any candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination." This breakfast wasn't missed by one Madison audience member. Judith Davidoff wrote for The Capital Times that Chelsea received some flak for calling superdelegates on behalf of her mother:

Chelsea got a little flak from an older woman in the audience who took her to task for calling super delegates -- those who have the freedom to cast a vote for whichever candidate they want despite how the state votes in Tuesday's primary -- on behalf of her mother.

Chelsea disagreed that such lobbying was "unethical," as the woman charged, and insisted that she is motivated to reach out to voters because she is so proud of her mother.

Jesse Russell


Jesse was born and raised in Connecticut, began blogging in 1997, and moved to Madison in 2003. In 2005, he co-founded dane101 along with Kristian Knutson and Shane Wealti. In addition to helping nearly a dozen contributors run this website he's helped launch various events in the city including What's Your Damage?!, the MadPubQuiz of Awesomeness, the Fire Ball Masquerade, Dane101's Freakin' Halloweekend, and more.