Chelsea Clinton TV interview adds to speculation about Hillary's plans

Chelsea Clinton spoke to NBC's 'Today' program about whether she might ever run for office – and what her mother's plans for 2016 might be.

Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/AP
Chelsea Clinton speaks at the third day of the Clinton Global Initiative University conference at Gateway STEM High School in St. Louis, Sunday.
Marc Bryan-Brown/Women in the World/AP
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Women in the World Conference in New York on Friday. Her reemergence this past week after a two-month break brought out cheering supporters and renewed speculation that she may be a presidential candidate in 2016.

Chelsea Clinton’s comments Monday morning on NBC’s "Today" program about her political future – and her mother's – are sure to add fuel to the speculation about former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton making another run for the White House in 2016.

Chelsea Clinton, a special correspondent for NBC News, recorded the interview in St. Louis, where she appeared over the weekend with her father, former President Bill Clinton, at a Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI-U) event she helped run.

Dressed in a light blue CGI-U tee shirt, Clinton was first asked about her mother’s political future. “I deeply respect and appreciate all of the admiration and respect and gratitude for my mother's service,” the younger Clinton told NBC correspondent John Yang.  “As a daughter, I very much want her to make the right choice for herself, and I know that will be [the] right choice for our country, and I’ll support her in whatever she chooses to do.”

In the past week, there were several developments which Associated Press political writer Ken Thomas referred to as “a soft rollout of sorts” for Hillary Clinton’s political future, should she decide to have one. She gave her first two public speeches since leaving the State Department – last Tuesday at the Kennedy Center in Washington for the Vital Voices in Global Leadership Awards and a second on Friday in New York City at the annual Women in the World Conference.

This public reemergence came on the heels of word that Clinton would write a new book, slated to be published in June 2014.  As Jill Lawrence of the National Journal notes, the publication date results in “conveniently putting her on the road for a book tour right when Democratic congressional and gubernatorial candidates all over the country would welcome her help.”

Meanwhile, last Thursday prominent Democratic political strategist James Carville wrote to supporters of the Ready for Hillary political action committee, urging them to send funds to boost a potential candidacy. In his e-mail to the Hillary PAC, obtained by The Washington Post, Mr. Carville, a longtime Clinton family confidant, said: “It isn’t worth squat to have the fastest car at the racetrack if there ain’t any gas in the tank – and that’s why the work that Ready for Hillary PAC is doing is absolutely critical. We need to convert the hunger that’s out there for Hillary’s candidacy into a real grassroots organization.” Carville ran former President Clinton’s 1992 campaign.

While her mother’s political future absorbs Washington’s chattering class, Chelsea Clinton seems slightly more open to a political future of her own. On the "Today" program, she held out the possibility of running for office herself someday.  

“Right now I'm grateful to live in a city, a state, and a country where I strongly support my mayor, my governor, my president, and my senators and my representative,” the younger Clinton said. “If at some point that weren't true and I thought I could make a meaningful and measurably greater impact, I'd have to ask and answer that question.”

Those comments closely track one she made in an interview with Lynn Sherr of Parade magazine. In that interview, featured on the magazine’s cover, Clinton was asked whether she could describe the circumstances that would make her lean toward running for office. “No, but I’ve never thought too far into the future,” she said, showing a political pro’s skill at keeping her options open. 

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