Clinton speaking during a campaign stop in Philadelphia (2008)
|Born||Chelsea Victoria Clinton
February 27, 1980
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
|Alma mater||Stanford University
University College, Oxford
|Spouse(s)||Marc Mezvinsky (m. 2010)|
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Chelsea Victoria Clinton (born February 27, 1980) is the only child of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is a special correspondent for NBC News, and works with the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative.
Clinton was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, during her father's first term as Governor of Arkansas. She attended public schools there until her father's election to the Presidency of the United States, at which time she attended and graduated from the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. She received her undergraduate education at Stanford University and also earned master's degrees from University College, Oxford, and Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at University of Oxford. She has worked for McKinsey & Company, Avenue Capital Group, New York University and serves on several boards including that of the School of American Ballet, Clinton Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, Common Sense Media, Weill Cornell Medical College and IAC/InterActiveCorp.
Between December 2007 and the end of the 2008 primaries, she campaigned extensively on American college campuses for her mother's ultimately unsuccessful Democratic presidential nomination bid, introducing her at the August 2008 Democratic National Convention.
On July 31, 2010, Clinton married investment banker Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, New York.
Chelsea Victoria Clinton was born three weeks early on February 27, 1980, in Little Rock, Arkansas to Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hillary described the birth of her daughter as "the most miraculous and awe-inspiring event in my life". In the first days of her life, Bill Clinton took Chelsea for father-daughter "bonding" walks about the hospital singing to her, rocking her, and showing her off. Chelsea was their only child, and the first grandchild for both sets of grandparents. Bill's mother happily did "a lot of babysitting" as did the Rodhams when they visited. At the age of two, Chelsea accompanied her parents as they campaigned by car throughout Arkansas for the gubernatorial office.
Hillary has written that Chelsea's name was inspired by a visit to the Chelsea neighborhood of London during a Christmas 1978 vacation. She said that upon hearing the 1969 Judy Collins recording of the Joni Mitchell song, "Chelsea Morning", Bill remarked, "If we ever have a daughter, her name should be Chelsea."
Chelsea attended Forest Park Elementary School, Booker Arts and Science Magnet Elementary School, and Horace Mann Junior High School, which are public schools in Little Rock. She skipped the third grade.
White House years
Twelve-year-old Chelsea was given the Secret Service codename "Energy" when she moved into the White House with her parents on January 20, 1993, the day of her father's first inauguration. The Clintons wanted their daughter to grow up as normally as possible given their circumstances, and, to that end, hoped to shield her from the media spotlight. Hillary followed Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' advice on raising children in the White House, and asked the press to limit coverage of Chelsea to her participation in public events such as state visits. The Clintons were supported by Margaret Truman who wrote a Letter to the Editor of The New York Times in March 1993 about the damage that could be done if the press made Chelsea a subject of intense coverage. The press complied, but in 1997, following Chelsea's high school graduation, media speculation regarding her choice of college resulted in heavy press coverage. Chelsea ultimately chose to attend Stanford University. In sum, Chelsea received 32 stories in The New York Times and 87 network news stories during her father's two terms of office (1993–2001). Of all presidential children, Chelsea has received the most television coverage.
The Clintons' decision to send Chelsea to Sidwell Friends, a private school in Washington, D.C., provoked questions, but her father, in a 1993 CBS This Morning town meeting, said that the decision had been made because Chelsea did not like "getting a lot of publicity" and would have "more control over her destiny". Her mother argued that "if [Chelsea] were to go to a public school, the press would never leave her alone". The criterion affecting their decision was privacy, they did not "reject the public schools". The school and its students remained silent regarding Chelsea, declining to discuss her publicly and thereby giving her the privacy the First Family sought for her. Chelsea graduated from Sidwell in 1997; her father spoke at the graduation ceremony.
The matter of Chelsea's privacy was debated in the press, and most media outlets concluded that she should be off-limits due to her age. But when Clinton was 13 her appearance became a matter of ridicule for some satirists and commentators, including comments by Rush Limbaugh and the comedy writers of Saturday Night Live. In 1995, freelance writer Tom Gogola released a tape of songs purportedly recorded by Clinton which commented upon notable people and included lyrics like "let's inhale", the tape proved to be a hoax. Gogola defended the tape, saying "None of it had to do with being mean to Chelsea. Satire is satire." During this phase of Chelsea's life, her father said, "We really work hard on making sure that Chelsea doesn't let other people define her sense of her own self worth... It's tough when you are an adolescent... but I think she'll be ok."
Though her father is a Southern Baptist, Chelsea was raised in her mother's Methodist faith. She attended Foundry United Methodist Church on 16th Street, NW in Washington and met with other teens on Sunday mornings to examine questions of faith and philosophy, and teen concerns such as dating, parents, and friendship. Her parents joined her at the church's parent-teen round tables. An adult group leader thought Chelsea "a terrific kid" and observed she was treated as an equal in the group. Away from church, Chelsea's social activities included visits to a Planet Hollywood restaurant with friends and sleep-overs in and out of the White House. President Clinton sometimes joined Chelsea and her sleep-over friends for breakfast.
Clinton began dance classes at four years of age in Arkansas, and was a student at the Washington School of Ballet for several years. She was cast in the role of the Favorite Aunt (1993) in the Washington Ballet production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.
In early 1999, the Clintons learned of an article in the works at People that examined the First Family's relationships in the wake of the scandals and impending vote on President Clinton's impeachment. Notified about the article by the First Lady's office, the Secret Service contacted the magazine with their own concerns that the story could complicate Chelsea's security. The decision had been made to run the story however, and Bill and Hillary issued a statement expressing their regret and sadness. Carol Wallace, People managing editor, affirmed the magazine's sensitivity to the Clinton concerns about their daughter, but felt 19-year-old Chelsea was "an eyewitness to family drama and historical events" and thus "a valid journalistic subject". The article, entitled "Grace Under Fire", was published on February 5, 1999 with a cover photo depicting Chelsea and Hillary.
In 2000, the last year of her father's presidency, Chelsea assumed some White House hostess responsibilities when her mother was campaigning for the U.S. Senate, traveling with her father on several overseas trips and attending state dinners with him.
Education and academic life
The week before she arrived on campus, her mother wrote an open letter in her syndicated column asking journalists to leave her daughter alone. Chelsea arrived at Stanford in a motorcade with her parents, Secret Service men, and almost 250 journalists. For her security, bullet-proof glass was installed in her dorm windows and cameras placed in hallways. In addition, Secret Service men dressed as students lived in her dorm. Other than an occasional tabloid story written about her, Chelsea's four years at Stanford remained out of public view.
Clinton graduated in 2001 with highest honors and a B.A. in History. The topic of her 150-page undergraduate senior thesis was the 1998 Belfast Agreement in Northern Ireland; her research included interviews with her father. At the time of Chelsea's graduation, President Clinton issued a statement saying, "Hillary and I are grateful for the friendships and great learning experiences Chelsea had at Stanford, and we are very proud of her on this special day."
University College, Oxford
In July 2001, President Clinton revealed at Wimbledon that Chelsea would attend University College, Oxford in the fall – the same college where he studied politics between 1968 and 1970 on a Rhodes Scholarship; Chelsea did not apply for a Rhodes. The Master of University College, Lord Butler of Brockwell, said he was delighted she was attending: "Her record at Stanford shows that she is a very well-qualified and able student. The college is also pleased to extend its link with the Clinton family." The university implemented security measures upon the recommendation of British and American advisors, and fellow students were asked not to discuss her with the press.
Arriving at Oxford just after the September 11 attacks on the United States, Chelsea was drawn to other American students who were also feeling the emotional after-effects of the trauma. She told Talk magazine:
Every day I encounter some sort of anti-American feeling. Over the summer, I thought I would seek out non-Americans as friends, just for diversity's sake. Now I find that I want to be around Americans – people who I know are thinking about our country as much as I am.
However, people who met Clinton at that time described her as charming, poised, and unaffected, and she appeared to successfully adjust to life abroad. During her time at Oxford, Chelsea adopted a more sophisticated look, reportedly assisted by family friend Donatella Versace, whose couture shows she attended in early 2002. Geordie Greig, the editor of Tatler, ranked her No. 5 on the magazine's 2002 "Top 10 Girls" list.
Columbia University and New York University
Starting in 2010, she has served as Assistant Vice Provost for the Global Network University of New York University, working on international recruitment strategies. She is the co-founder of the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership at NYU and serves as its co-chair.
Clinton received an award from the Temple of Understanding for her "work in advancing a new model of integrating interfaith and cross-cultural education into campus life," together with Imam Khalid Latif and Rabbi Yehuda Sarna.
In 2012, Clinton started teaching graduate classes at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.
In 2003, Clinton joined the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in New York City, and she went to work for Avenue Capital Group in the fall of 2006. She served as co-chairperson for a fund-raising week for the Clinton Foundation, and serves on the board of the School of American Ballet. In 2011 she was elected to IAC's board of directors.
In November 2011 NBC announced that it hired Clinton as a special correspondent, reporting feature stories about "Making a Difference" for NBC Nightly News and Rock Center with Brian Williams. It was a three-month contract and allowed her to concurrently continue working for the Clinton Foundation and pursue her education. Clinton's first appearance was on the December 12, 2011, episode of Rock Center. Although she received some critical reviews for her work, Clinton's contract with NBC was renewed in February 2012.
Hillary Rodham Clinton 2008 presidential campaign
In December 2007, Clinton began campaigning in Iowa in support of her mother's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. She appeared across the country, largely on college campuses. By early April 2008, she had spoken at 100 colleges on behalf of her mother's candidacy.
While on the campaign trail, Chelsea answered audience questions but did not give interviews or respond to press questions, including one from a nine year old Scholastic News reporter asking whether her father would be a good "first man." She replied, ""I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you're cute." Philippe Reines, her mother's press secretary, intervened when the press attempted to approach Chelsea directly.
When MSNBC reporter David Shuster characterized Chelsea's participation in her mother's campaign as "sort of being pimped out," the Clinton campaign objected. Shuster subsequently apologized on-air and was suspended for two weeks.
The first time a college student asked about her mother's handling of the Lewinsky scandal at a campaign stop she responded, "I do not think that is any of your business." But as she became a more experienced campaigner she refined her response and deflected questions on the issue with comments like "If that's what you want to vote on, that's what you should vote on. But I think there are other people [who are] going to vote on things like healthcare and economics."
After this appearance she returned to New York City and her private life.
On July 31, 2010, Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky, an investment banker in New York City, were married in an interfaith ceremony in Rhinebeck, New York. The venue for the nuptials was Astor Courts, an estate overlooking the Hudson River which at that time was the home of Hillary Clinton supporter Kathleen Hammer, once a producer at Oxygen Media, and Arthur Seelbinder, a developer and businessman.
Mezvinsky was born December 15, 1977, to former Pennsylvania Democratic Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and former Iowa Democratic Congressman Edward Mezvinsky. He was raised in the Conservative Jewish tradition.
The senior Clintons and Mezvinskys were friends in the 1990s and their children met on a Renaissance Weekend retreat in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. They first were reported to be a couple in 2005, and became engaged over Thanksgiving weekend in 2009.
After their marriage, the couple first lived in New York City's Gramercy Park neighborhood and in March 2013 they bought a $10.5 million condominium on Madison Square Park in the Flatiron District of Manhattan.
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