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How To Ask Chelsea About Lewinsky

April 2, 2008

I couldn’t help but notice that there has been a considerable amount of media attention given to these Lewinsky-related questions that are being posed to Chelsea Clinton by college students lately.   It came up again today:

Student: “Right but I, because fortunately or unfortunately he is the president, or was president at the time so as American people, I feel that it is our business.”

Clinton: “Well sir, I respectfully disagree. I think it is something that is personal to my family. I’m sure there are things that are personal to your family that you dont think are anyone else’s business either… but also on a larger point, I don’t think you should vote for or against my mother because of my father.”

That, of course, is a dodge. 

I suppose Chelsea can continue to evade the question with the “none of your business” angle as long as she wants, and if the amount of press coverage stays the same every time it comes up, it’s likely that she’ll be dodging it in this manner a couple more times.

Putting aside any reference to the old “vast right wing conspiracy” gaffe, my suggestion to those who would want to pin Chelsea into a position where she would have to at least address the issue would be to preface the question with something that Hillary said a short while ago:

“We don’t have a choice when it comes to our relatives,” she said. “We have a choice when it comes to our pastors and the churches we attend. Everyone will have to decide these matters for themselves. They are obviously very personal matters.”

If Wright were her pastor, she said, “the choice would be clear.”

Emphasizing that she was saying only how she would have dealt with a minister such as Wright, Clinton added: “I don’t think that’s negative.”

So, Clinton brought what she described as “personal matters” into the political discourse,  stating outright out what her decision would be.

Now, I can see a few different ways to use this, but the first narrative that comes to mind would be to make the connection between the perceived importance surrounding the judgement with regards to leaving a church and …leaving a marriage.

The question would go something like this:

“You mother, Hillary Clinton, recently stated that she would have left a church that featured Rev. Wright’s controversial sermons, and said that the issue was obviously a very personal matter.   But if it is acceptable for Americans to discuss a decision such as this, why wouldn’t it also be acceptable to discuss a decision to not seek a divorce after proven dishonesty and infidelity?”

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7 comments

  1. I am really confused in why anyone should be questioning Chelsea about past problems between her parents? Ask them! I don’t care whether she is campaigning for her mother or not. That line of questioning is inappropriate and irrelevant.

    At the time I never thought Bill should have been asked about Monica under oath. Nobodies business!

    The Bill and Monica scandal involved nothing that was illegal so let’s just so forget about it. Why are we still talking about that and not the real issues our nation faces?

    Sorry, while I think the Rev. Wright controversy was much to do about nothing it can’t be directly related
    to the Lewinsky scandal. The Rev. Wright made public comments that were questioned and he was Obama’s pastor so it becomes news worthy. That is different then prying into the personal relationships and sex lives of people. We need to draw the line somewhere for gods sake!


  2. Sorry MJ I’m gonna ruin your day and AGREE with the cotent of your last para.I’d only add that given the little time journalists or citizens of any stripe can actually toss questions at politicians and their allies people should focus on some quality ?’s


  3. The Bill and Monica scandal involved nothing that was illegal so let’s just so forget about it. Why are we still talking about that and not the real issues our nation faces?

    I have to agree with that. I’m just posting that if you’re going to ask Chelsea about it and you don’t want a dodge, this would be one way to do it.


  4. And this would be how she might answer it…

    “Had my dad not stopped screwing around and had he not acknowledged that what he did had deeply offended people and was inappropriate then my mom would not have felt comfortable staying with him.”


  5. Red Pill-

    Interesting. I suppose that’s plausible, and it would relate the 2 issues other ways:
    Obama: Had Wright not retired, I’d have left church

    and

    In 1992, Clinton Conceded Marital ‘Wrongdoing’


  6. I would ask Chelsea:

    “Can you give us an idea of how you were feeling during this time in your life and can you tell us if this period of your life made you stronger as a woman? What were your lessons learned?”

    Of course, I don’t think any of the Clintons are going to take the time to bash the right wingers right now. Why? They want to get back into the White House! See?


  7. Look, Hillary is the one running for President. Hillary is the one that made the Rev. Wright comment. Hillary is the one who decided to stand by her man. Why go after Chelsea for any of this?
    I think she should respond to these attacks by saying, “I love my parents and I stand by them.”
    End of discussion.



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