Alex Massie

Her mother’s daughter, right enough

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The Clintons: a ghastliness that keeps on giving. Here's Toby Harnden reporting from Iowa

Speaking of Chelsea Clinton, it seems there’s no way she’s going to talk to journalists. "I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately," Chelsea said tartly when asked a question about her father Bill as "first man" by reporter Sydney Rieckhoff in Vinton.

Perhaps catching herself on, she added: "Even though I think you're cute." As the AP reports, Sydney, a "kid reporter" for Scholastic News, is nine years old.

Does she really think that if she cuts one nine-year-old some slack every news organisation is going to hire its own nine-year-old? (Actually, we might...)

Toby also has lots of examples demonstrating that, as I've also suggested before, Hillary's claim that her experience as First Lady gives her the necessary foreign policy chops to be President is balderdash. Contemporaneous accounts of her overseas travels do indeed show that she spent most of her time drinking tea.

As I wrote before, Hillary's own autobiography does not support her campaign's interpretation of her White House years:

In light of recent events - both in Pakistan and Washington - it's interesting to return to Hillary's account of her trip to the Sub-Continent in 1995. Now, clearly, security issues were not then what they have since become. Nor were they the focus of Hilary's visit to Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Nonetheless, it may be worth noting that her memoir- published in 2003 remember - makes only one brief mention of Wahhabism or Osama bin Laden in relation to her trip to Pakistan. Nor, for that matter, is there any mention anywhere in her memoir of Kashmir...

Instead Hillary concentrates on the position and what she would doubtless term the emancipation of women in south asia. Fair enough, even if, nice though positive (from a western perspective) developments on this front would be, they're scarcely the most significant issue from the point of US national interest today. (This isn't to say these issues are unimportant, merely that they're not the most pressing - as, in fact, they were not in the mid-1990s either)

Still, there are some interesting passages in which we can see Hillary preparing her fortifications in advance of her run for the Presidency:

At the luncheon she hosted for me, Benazir [Bhutto] led a discussion about the changing roles of women in her country and told a joke about her husband's status as a political spouse. "According to newspapers in Pakistan," she said, "Mr Asif Zardari is de facto Prime Minister of the country. My husband tells me, 'Only the First Lady can appreciate it's not true.'"

And, er, that's more or less it.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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