Another Clinton makes the news – but Chelsea's off to a rocky start

Her debut was described as displaying 'no charisma' and 'boring' by 'The Washington Post' critic

New York

In the past, proud parents Bill and Hillary might have watched their little girl on stage in the school nativity play, but this week they were able to watch her latest performance on the box in their living room. Long ago grown up and married, Chelsea Clinton turned in a poised if slightly wooden debut performance on Monday night as the newest national correspondent for NBC news.

The 10-minute segment on a the recently launched current affairs magazine programme, Rock Center, drew reviews that were about as mixed as the reaction to her being hired by NBC in the first place. Many journalists recall how she took to the campaign trail for her mother in 2008, actively wooing voters to back her against Barack Obama in the primaries while steadfastly refusing to talk to the press, ever.

"What was surprising to see on Monday night's show is how someone can be on TV in such a prominent way and, in her big moment, display so very little charisma – none at all," wrote Hank Stuever, a critic for The Washington Post. "Either we're spoiled by TV's unlimited population of giant personalities or this woman is one of the most boring people of her era." The Politico website called her "well prepared, though a bit nervous".

Certainly, the producers took no risks with Ms Clinton on her debut, assigning her to a feel-good story about a woman in Arkansas – the former first daughter's home state – who runs a charity giving a leg-up to under-privileged children.

Cub reporters trying to make it into the profession might grumble, but this is not the first time a political scion has jumped the queue because of who they are. Maria Shriver, the recently divorced wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger, built a career as an anchor for NBC in part because she also belonged to the Kennedy clan. Two regulars on the screen these days who do discuss politics include Meghan McCain and Ron Reagan, respectively the offspring of Senator John McCain and former president Ronald Reagan.

Quizzed in the studio by Brian Williams, the anchor of Rock Center, Ms Clinton admitted coming on television was a change for her. "For most of my life I did deliberately lead a private life and inadvertently led a public life," she said, adding that she had been inspired to step before the cameras by her grandmother, who died in early November. "She had been cajoling me and challenging me to do more with my life, to lead more of a purposefully public life," she said. "That being Chelsea Clinton had happened to me and that I had a responsibility to do something with that asset and opportunity."

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