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Modern Parenthood

Chelsea Clinton considering politics: A look back on all the presidents’ kin

Chelsea Clinton tells Vogue she’s considering politics and kids, yet again stoking the public fascination with America’s royalty: all the presidents’ kin.

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But the fact is, White House kids – and the kids of those who aspire to the White House – are newsworthy. Any parent knows that their families are a reflection of them in some way – their tastes, values, and character are symbolic, fair or not. Fortunately the eyes of just our small civic circles are on us and our families - but a president simply can’t avoid public interest in his or her family. As a parent, I like  watching the first families – the Obama girls seem poised and worthy of holding up to my own daughter as examples of tasteful dressing (no bare bellies and bra straps there), Michelle Obama's anti-childhood-obesity campaign is a genial model for our household (we keep the McNuggets to a minimum); I liked Laura Bush's seeming calm through her kids' teen years (there's something soothing about literacy advocacy).

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Senior editor

Clara Germani is a senior editor for the Monitor, based in Boston. She handles in-depth projects, or cover stories, for the weekly print magazine.

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As Barbara Kellerman, a leadership consultant who wrote the book “All the President’s Kin” told me when I wrote that 1992 story: "We don't have a royal family, but this man and those closest to him are the focus of all the intellectual, spiritual, and political energies [for the nation]... The lines between political, rock, and Hollywood star roles are blurred, and the first family takes on the vestments of political stardom."

A president can, on the other hand, bring all his powers to bear on drawing a ring around the child. Often the press lays off – the press was generally soft on the Bush girls until they came of age and did what kids coming of age generally do.

Chelsea, it turns out, is quite newsworthy. Now an NBC news correspondent, granting a lengthy interview, and glamorous photo shoot, with Vogue is clearly a calculated publicity move – to what end, she has a long career ahead to show us.

For those who love to read about White House families, here are some links to some enlightening coverage of presidential families past:

* Chelsea Clinton: First Kid in America's fishbowl

Obama dog arrives at the White House

* Whatever happened to Amy Carter?

* Walking the campaign trail in parents' shoes

* Liz Cheney: More political dynasties?

* Political dynasties from the Bidens to the Kennedys

* Political kids: Legit news or tabloid topic


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