Chelsea Victoria Clinton (born February 27,
1980) is the daughter and only child of former U.S. President
Bill Clinton and current New York Senator and former 2008
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Chelsea Clinton was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her name
was inspired by her parents' fondness for Judy Collins's
recording of the Joni Mitchell song "Chelsea Morning".
Chelsea was described as a precocious child: as a toddler, a
family friend reports, as an example, that instead of saying, "I
have to get a shot", she would say, "I have to get my
immunizations." While in elementary school, Chelsea skipped the
third grade. Her parents encouraged her academic excellence,
with Bill keeping a miniature desk for his daughter in the
governor's office when he was Governor of Arkansas.
In Little Rock, Clinton attended Forest Park Elementary School,
Booker Arts and Science Magnet Elementary School and Horace Mann
Junior High School.
Throughout her childhood, she enjoyed volleyball, cards, ping
pong and movies. Chelsea became a vegetarian when she was 11
years old for health and ethical reasons.
Teenager at the White House
Clinton moved into the White House on the day of her father's
first inauguration on January 20, 1993, when she was twelve
In Washington, D.C., she attended Sidwell Friends School. She
was a National Merit Scholarship finalist in 1997. Having taken
dance classes since she was four years old, Clinton began taking
ballet courses at the Washington School of Ballet in 1993. She
played the role of the Favorite Aunt in the Washington Ballet's
1996 production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Chelsea Clinton
is also a veteran of the Model United Nations.
In August 1998, a few days after President Clinton's address to
the nation in which he admitted to an 'inappropriate'
relationship with Monica Lewinsky, the teenage Clinton was seen
walking between her mother and father as they approached the
Marine One helicopter to take them on their family vacation. On
February 5, 1999, just before the Senate vote on impeachment,
People ran a cover story on Chelsea Clinton. The cover story
irked the First Family, as well as the Secret Service. Chelsea's
Secret Service cryptonym was Energy.
She assumed some of her mother's White House hostess
responsibilities when Hillary Clinton was running for the Senate
in 2000, continuing until the end of her father's presidency on
January 20, 2001.
Life after the Clinton presidency
Clinton attended Stanford University. She had declared a major
in chemistry with an interest in medicine before switching to
history after two years. The 2004 film Chasing Liberty was said
to be inspired by a photograph of Clinton at a Stanford
basketball game, trying to blend in with other students. In
2001, she graduated from Stanford; her undergraduate thesis
topic was her father's mediation of the 1998 Belfast Agreement
in Northern Ireland. She went on to earn a Master's degree at
University College, Oxford, in international relations.
In 2003, Clinton joined the consulting firm McKinsey & Company
in New York City; she was the youngest person hired in her
class, hired alongside those holding MBAs. In the fall of 2006,
she left McKinsey and went to work for Avenue Capital, a hedge
fund run by Marc Lasry, a donor to Democratic causes and
supporter of the Clintons. She serves on the board of the School
of American Ballet. She has also served as co-chairperson of a
fund-raising week and for her father’s Clinton Foundation.
In 2005, Clinton took up residence in the Chelsea neighborhood,
on the west side of Manhattan. During the November 2006 mid-term
election, in which her mother was running for re-election to the
Senate, attention was drawn to her residence when it was
discovered that an error at her 20th Street polling station had
resulted in her name not being in the voting book. Clinton was
allowed to vote via a paper ballot.
Campaigning for her mother
Until Hillary Clinton began her presidential campaign, Chelsea
had never publicly commented about any of her parents' policies
or public statements. But she did begin to rally support for her
mother and speak publicly on her behalf. In May 2006, Hillary
publicly apologized to her daughter for critical remarks she
made about young people's work ethic, after Chelsea privately
took exception to her mother's comments.
In December 2007, she began to campaign for her mother's bid for
the Democratic presidential nomination in Iowa before the
January caucuses, greeting potential voters in Des Moines. Since
then, she has campaigned for her mother extensively across the
country, largely on college campuses. By early April 2008 she
had spoken at 100 college campuses on behalf of her mother's
candidacy.During the campaign, Philippe Reines, Hillary's press
secretary, often shadowed Chelsea during her public appearances,
attempting to deflect "...hangers-on, swooning frat boys and,
mostly, looming trouble in the form of microphones, cameras and
Chelsea's blanket refusal to speak to any media members has been
noted. In December 2007, she refused to answer a question from a
9-year-old “kid reporter” named Sydney Rieckhoff from Scholastic
News who asked whether she thought her father would be a good
“first man.” Chelsea replied, “I’m sorry, I don’t talk to the
press, and that applies to you, unfortunately — even though I
think you’re cute.” Controversy arose when MSNBC’s David Shuster
said that Chelsea was being “pimped out” by her parents for the
campaign. Shuster was later suspended for his remarks. Chelsea
introduced her mother on August 26 at the 2008 Democratic
Chelsea is currently studying at Columbia University's Mailman
School of Public Health in Washington Heights, New York.