Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton made a careful foray into public life in New York City Monday, at a time of peak curiosity about the future of the Clinton dynasty. But her mother's ambitions for the presidency — and Chelsea's own involvement in politics — remained all but absent from discussion at the short, closely managed panel appearance.
Moderating a group of three leaders from the not-for-profit sector, Clinton, a special correspondent for NBC news, has yet to fully embrace the spotlight that she sometime seeks, and did not stray from the subject of childhood hunger — save to say that it was absent from the political conversation during this year's election.
"Our most vulnerable — our children — are not thought about in a coherent way, not only here in New York City, but in our national dialogue," said Clinton during her introductory remarks. "And that was something I felt this summer, in full candor, during our election season."
Clinton added, "In all of the conversations around what should happen with entitlement spending, what should happen with our national secruity, whether or not climate change was going to be on the agenda in any of the debates — very rarely did we hear a conversation about our nation's young people and our nation's children."
Clinton then directed questions to her three panelists — Josh Wachs of Share Our Strength; Erica Hamilton of City Year New York; and Rain Henderson of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative — whom she handpicked for the Association for a Better New York event.
After about 25 minutes of discussion, Clinton opened the floor to the audience, a group of about 200 non-profit leaders and business people from New York City.
When asked whether Clinton would be taking questions from reporters after the event, Clinton spokeswoman Rachel Adler said, "We talked to ABNY about it in advance. We just wanted to keep it to the panelists and not just have it be about Chelsea."