His wife has yet to give up the fight for her party's 2008 presidential nomination, but Bill Clinton is already offering a back-up plan to ensure that the family name occupies high office in America long after his own tenure as president. What's wrong with President Chelsea Clinton, say in 2016?
It may be nothing more than paternal affection or perhaps he wants to give his daughter a pat on the back in return for the hard work she has put in this year on behalf of her mother. In any event, he made the startling suggestion to People magazine.
There is little doubt that Chelsea has been an asset, taking leave from her job to travel the country, championing her mother and even repeatedly suggesting she would make a better chief executive than her father turned out to be. Her particular task: to rally young voters who might otherwise be drawn to Barack Obama.
Mr Clinton said: "If you asked me before Iowa, I would have said, 'No way. She is too allergic to anything we do.' But she is really good at it. She realised her mother lost Iowa 100 per cent because of younger voters. She was upset, went to her employer and said, 'You got to... give me an indefinite leave of absence; I'm not letting my mother go down like this'."
But Chelsea's debut as a political figure has been a fraud. She has resolutely refused to accept questions from the press. Any reporter who has dared to approach her has found the path instantly blocked by a minder.
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