Chelsea Clinton on Thursday tried to lift the public veil on one of America’s best-known and most disliked politicians, telling the Democratic convention her mother, their presidential nominee, was “wonderful, thoughtful” and “hilarious”.
According to Reuters, in a 12-minute introduction received warmly in a packed Philadelphia arena, Chelsea Clinton countered criticism that her mother is an untrustworthy politician who struggles to show compassion in front of American voters.
“She’s a woman driven by compassion, by faith, by a fierce sense of justice and a heart full of love,” the only child of presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and former U.S. President Bill Clinton told the crowd.
Hillary and Chelsea Clinton at the Democratic National Convention
Hillary Clinton took the stage minutes later to become the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major U.S. party. Chelsea Clinton, a 36-year-old mother of two, was the last in a series of speakers at the four-day gathering who sought to cast Hillary Clinton in a familial light ahead of the Nov. 8 election against Republican Donald Trump.
Trying to soften a public image forged over decades of withering political trench warfare, Chelsea Clinton recounted a mother who read her “Goodnight Moon” and a grandmother who broke from politics to read “Chugga Chugga Choo Choo.”
“Whenever my mom was away for work, which thankfully didn’t happen very often, she left notes for me to open every day she was gone,” said the former first daughter.
She also recalled her mother, then in the White House as first lady, trying and failing to pass universal health care in 1994.
“I saw it up close. It was bruising. It was exhausting. She fought her heart out and as all of you know, she lost.”
“For me, then 14 years old, it was pretty tough to watch. But my mom, she was amazing.”
Chelsea Clinton went on to introduce “my mother, my hero and our next president” for a primetime speech, the high point of the four-day convention.
Chelsea Clinton, who has been in the public eye since her childhood in the White House, took a low profile after her father left office in 2001. She married investment banker Marc Mezvinsky and served as vice chair of the Clinton Foundation charity.
After her mother’s presidential bid she re-entered public life to hit the campaign trail, endearing herself to supporters with stories of Clinton as a mother and grandmother to her children, Charlotte, aged 2 come September and Aidan, born in June.
Donald Trump has also relied on his children to soften his image. His eldest daughter Ivanka spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week, depicting the New York businessman as “color-blind and gender-neutral” to counter critics who have called his comments about immigrants and women bigoted and callous. Both candidates’ children say they are friends, a relationship they struck up before their parents launched campaigns for the White House.