With all of the recent chaos surrounding Emailgate and the GOP's insistence on dragging the tragic Benghazi incident past its expiration date, the road to the White House is going to be a long one for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. With barbed attacks already in place by her political opponents and biting talking points currently being lobbed around most major news networks and talk shows, it's a wonder that the former attorney and first lady has any steam left to push forward into the candidate arena. Luckily, it's likely Clinton won't be going it alone: with a vast network of loyal supporters and former colleagues already backing her bid, the only question left is whether Clinton's family will help out with the 2016 campaign and in what capacity.
Already, husband and former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea are deeply entrenched in their work and representation of the family's Clinton Foundation. With President Clinton traveling the globe to speak about the foundation's Health Access Initiative (which works to lower the cost of HIV/AIDS medications for communities around the world) and Chelsea, a Columbia University adjunct assistant professor, acting as Vice Chair, the likelihood of a second-round campaign tour for the trio is high — not that they're willing to talk about it at length.
"I can’t comment on the future," said Chelsea Clinton during a Q&A session at Harvard University Business School and the T.H. Chan School of Public Health on Thursday. When asked whether the Clinton Foundation was prepared for a busy future, with Secretary Clinton likely tied up in campaigning and press tours, the former first daughter cheekily replied, "You’re presuming a chaotic future."
But Clinton's avoidance at discussing the particulars of her mother's campaign doesn't necessarily mean that the new mom is unwilling to step in and defend her when needed. While fielding a question about Secretary Clinton's 1995 speech on women's rights at the United Nations' Fourth World Conference on Women, at which the then-first lady had declared that "women's rights are human rights", Clinton defended the need for leaders like her mother to continue the discussion.
"She said something that should not have been controversial then and should not be controversial now," said Clinton to the audience of students.
President Clinton too has been on the offensive of late: speaking to donors and press at a fundraiser two weeks ago, the former president pushed back at a March New York Times story which had painted him as an aging, volatile member of the Secretary's campaign circle whose "rash impulses" had to be reigned in by aides.
"Clinton’s advisers are once again grappling with how to deploy Mr. Clinton, a strategic imperative that was executed so poorly in 2008 that it resulted in some of the worst moments of her campaign," claimed the Times report, pulling from a handful of moments during the previous campaign in which the former president had supposedly stepped over the line and attempted to sway strategy in defense of attacks from the Obama campaign and other political opponents. At the fundraiser, Clinton called the piece "creative writing" at best.
If President Clinton's attempts at highlighting an obviously biased and sometimes-sexist political atmosphere that only serves to hamper the Secretary's White House bid were considered overbearing at the time, the question now is whether those valiant efforts will be perceived the same way this time around. Considering the public's reaction to high profile cases like the recent Ellen Pao gender discrimination lawsuit and the shift in opinion over the gender wage gap, President Clinton's aversion to obvious political sexism might actually help the Secretary carry a significant percentage of the women's vote, despite what some have predicted would be a disastrous strategic repeat.
Whether or not President Clinton and daughter Chelsea will be involved with Secretary Clinton's campaign at a higher or diminished capacity this time around is still up in the air. Spokespersons for both have not yet replied to Bustle with an official statement. But no matter what happens or doesn't happen, it's probably safe to presume that both will be there to cheer on the Secretary's 2016 run with a dose of hearty enthusiasm.
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