CBS Lobs Softballs at Chelsea Clinton: She’s a ‘Reality Check’ for Her Parents

On Tuesday, the hosts of CBS This Morning swooned over Chelsea Clinton during a softball interview to help promote her new children’s book. Co-host Gayle King set the tone for discussion when she eagerly proclaimed “Morning Charlotte’s mom!”

After Clinton discussed the purpose of her book, King immediately admired “I love in the book, you have a letter that you wrote at the age of 5, 5 years old, to President Reagan....Because you were upset about a trip that he was planning to take. So, even at the age of 5 you were very aware. Tell us about that, this letter, and why you wrote it.” 

Rather than question the accuracy of her story, King continued to gush “[y]ou were 5 Chelsea” before she allowed Clinton to complain that Reagan never responded to her letter: 

So I wrote this and I also included my favorite sheet of stickers, rainbow and heart stickers as a gesture of good will to President Reagan, so he didn't feel like I was antagonizing him. And I never heard back and he still went. 

 As the softball interview continued, Norah O’Donnell praised Chelsea for her “direct and emphatic” e-mail to her mother after the earthquake in Haiti and proceeded to admire that she was a “reality check” for her parents: 

How much are sort of a reality check for your parents, like eyes and ears on the ground? I read that and I said wow, she's like a reporter on the ground for her parents, being like, we got to move on this, I’ve seen this with my own eyes. 

When the interview turned to the 2016 race, co-host Charlie Rose had an opportunity to grill Chelsea on her mother’s upcoming testimony before the House Benghazi committee but instead teed her up to defend the Democratic front-runner: 

Let's talk about the campaign and the Benghazi testimony which is coming up. What do you think your mother has to accomplish there? 

After Clinton punted on Rose’s softball question and stressed that she's “not a pundit. I'm a daughter” O’Donnell gave her another easy opportunity to promote her mother's upcoming testimony when she noted “your mother said on the campaign, they think the committee has become politicized.” 

King went even further in CBS’s easy treatment of Clinton and eagerly wondered what advise she gave her mother on the campaign trail: 

So, what advice are you giving her as she goes into the campaign, Ms. letter writer? Are you saying, if they ask you this, you need to say this, and if they go there, you need to go there. Because I'm sure you two talk about it. 

Not to be outdone, King ended the network's sympathetic questioning of Chelsea by fretting over how she handles her mother being scrutinized by the public: 

And I know it’s all politics but sometimes they say such unkind things in the political arena about your mom. And as her daughter and one of her staunch defenders, how do you take that in? Have you just developed a thick skin? Do you disregard it? What do you do? 

See relevant transcript below. 

CBS This Morning 

October 20, 2015

CHARLIE ROSE: Chelsea Clinton is here this morning with her own campaign. She is teaching kids how they can help solve the planet's toughest problems. We watched her grow up in the White House, she is now a mother, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation and a first time author. Her new book is called, "It's your world: Get informed, get inspired and get going." We are pleased to welcome Chelsea Clinton to Studio 57. Good morning. 

CHELSEA CLINTON: Good morning, Charlie. 

ROSE: It’s good to have you here. 

CLINTON: Morning Gayle. 

GAYLE KING: Morning’s Charlotte’s mom. 

--

KING: But I’m thinking, you were a different kind of a kid. I love in the book, you have a letter that you wrote at the age of 5, 5 years old, to President Reagan. 

CLINTON: Yes. 

KING: Because you were upset about a trip that he was planning to take. So, even at the age of 5 you were very aware. Tell us about that, this letter, and why you wrote it. 

CLINTON: Yes, and there are some spelling mistakes.

KING: It’s okay.

CLINTON: I sheepishly claim now. Well, the first thing I remember learning how to read was the newspaper. I loved reading the newspaper. This was back before there were websites or apps, it was the old fashioned kind that sort of ink stained our hands. And I loved reading the newspaper because it gave me access to what was happening in the world so I can make up my own mind about what I wanted to see more of, or what I wanted to see less of. What I wanted to change/ And my parents were really supportive of that and I read in the newspaper that President Reagan was planning a trip to Germany, and he was going to go to Bitburg Cemetery and I didn't think an American president should pay his respects to a place where Nazis were buried. 

KING: You were 5 Chelsea. 

--

NORAH O’DONNELL: I know you still write letters, and one of the things that came out when the State Department released all your mother’s e-mails was something you wrote about Haiti after the earthquake, and you were really direct and emphatic in that e-mail. You said if we do not quickly change the organization, thousands, management delivery paradigm on the ground, we could confront tens of thousands of children's deaths. How much are sort of a reality check for your parents, like eyes and ears on the ground? I read that and I said wow, she's like a reporter on the ground for her parents, being like, we got to move on this, I’ve seen this with my own eyes. 

--

CHARLIE ROSE: Let's talk about the campaign and the Benghazi testimony which is coming up. What do you think your mother has to accomplish there? 

CLINTON: Well, Charlie, I said before, I'm not a pundit. I'm a daughter. I think every opportunity my mom has she proves again and again why she should be our next president. I know I'm very biased. And I actually think I'm more biased now as a mom than as a daughter. Because I feel like I have a different stake in the future because of my daughter Charlotte. And so I have no doubt on Thursday she will be remarkable and that Americans will really see why I so strongly believe she should be our next president. 

O’DONNELL: But your mother said on the campaign, they think the committee has become politicized. 

CLINTON : Well, I think we will see what happens on Thursday. 

KING: So, what advice are you giving her as she goes into the campaign, Ms. letter writer? Are you saying, if they ask you this, you need to say this, and if they go there, you need to go there. Because I'm sure you two talk about it. 

CLINTON: We do talk. But we mainly-

KING: With what you want to share with us Chelsea at the table? 

CLINTON: We really mainly talk about Charlotte and our family I think because she has so many advisers who kind of know this terrain better than I do but she only has one daughter, and she has one granddaughter, and I want to create and protect that space for our family and I'm sure you've seen this Norah, I see my mother so much more now than I did before Charlotte. 

O’DONNELL: That’s good. 

CLINTON: Which is such a gift to she her as a grandmother and that’s how I spend most of my time and energy with her.  

ROSE: It’s fair to say your mother was wanting a grandchild very much? 

CLINTON: Oh yes, did she tell you Charlie? She told anyone and everyone who asked that question publicly and privately. 

KING: And I know it’s all politics but sometimes they say such unkind things in the political arena about your mom. And as her daughter and one of her staunch defenders, how do you take that in? Have you just developed a thick skin? Do you disregard it? What do you do? 

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential CBS CBS This Morning Gayle King Charlie Rose Norah O'Donnell Chelsea Clinton

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