WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Chelsea Clinton’s recent pregnancy announcement has opened the flood gates to speculation on whether it will help Hillary Clinton’s chances if she decides to launch a 2016 presidential campaign.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Spain Alan Solomont explained that becoming a grandmother will help to humanize her if she does decide to run again.
“The fact that she’s also going to be a grandma will help to humanize her,” Solomont told CBSDC. “There’s always the need for candidates in political office for them to relate to voters on a personal level and also have a sense of strong leadership skills and the sense of the direction for the country.”
Solomont, who is Dean of the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, said that people know Clinton as a distinguished leader, public servant and an outstanding secretary of state.
“Hillary is respected around the globe,” Solomont added. “She’s obviously generated an enormous interest in the prospect of running for president in 2016. She’s qualified and I think she would be excellent.
“I’m sure that the joy she feels over the prospects of becoming a grandmother is completely separate from what she’s thinking about in terms of running for president,” he noted.
In terms of comparing the future Clinton grandchild to that of England’s Prince George of Cambridge, Solomont doesn’t think that the baby will get the same kind of pomp and circumstance that the royal baby got.
“They did a great job of raising Chelsea while they were in the White House and letting her become the fine young woman she is and a leader in her own right,” Solomont said. “She is also someone who was able to grow up with all the right values in a certain amount of normalcy. I think they would do anything to prevent this from becoming some kind of spectacle and the last thing in the world that they want is to make a spectacle of their grandkid.”
Political expert Larry Sabato, who is the Director at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, agrees with Solomont that Chelsea Clinton’s child will not become a spectacle.
“This Clinton grandchild won’t be equivalent at all to the royal baby,” Sabato stated. “It won’t be a major factor in the election because it’s not how people vote and also not why people vote.”
Sabato doesn’t think that her grandchild will help her chances of becoming president in 2016 if she does run.
“This baby won’t help her none whatsoever if she runs,” Sabato said. “People vote for a candidate that reflects their values and positions on issues. I think that all of the electoral voting history shows that kids and grandkids don’t matter.”
Sabato referenced that Mitt Romney’s grandchildren didn’t play a role in 2012.
“My goodness the Romney family was enormous. There were cute kids in front of Americans and that didn’t make a difference in his election,” Sabato told CBSDC.
Solomont explained that he doesn’t think the country will be on the edge of its seat as the due date for the baby arrives.
“With all due respect, I think Americans are interested in reading about the Clinton’s grandkid, but they have other important issues on their mind,” Solomont said. “I doubt very much that cameras will be positioned outside of the hospital that Chelsea delivers the baby at.”
He noted that this is a happy thing happening to a public family.
“Americans don’t engage in the same kind of spectacularity like England did with the royal baby,” Solomont added.
Sabato shared that he’s seen the comparisons.
“I’ve seen the comparisons and think it’s absolutely absurd,” he said. “This stuff is driven by the usual celebrity media and they don’t have a single clue about politics. Americans won’t be waiting for Chelsea’s baby to arrive.”
Solomont reiterated that the former first lady is someone who is prepared to be president.
“I think that Hillary Clinton will present herself as someone who is prepared to occupy the most powerful office in the world,” he stated. “As she always does, she will talk to the American people about things that matter to them like economic and national security. Those are things that are important and what she will talk about. Not a grandchild.”
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