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Clintons decry magazine's feature on daughter

February 4, 1999
Web posted at: 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, February 4) -- President Clinton and his wife said Wednesday they "deeply regret and are profoundly saddened" by a decision by People magazine's editors to feature a story about their daughter, Chelsea, on its cover.

people

The magazine is scheduled to go on the street Friday with a cover photo of Chelsea with her mother Hillary Rodham Clinton and the headline: "Hillary & Chelsea -- Grace Under Fire."

People bills the eight-page story inside as "an intimate look at the deep bond of love that sustains the Clinton women through their painful family ordeal" in the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment of the president.

In a prepared statement, the Clintons said: "For over six years, the media has understood and respected the unique situation facing Chelsea as she grows up in the spotlight focused on her parents.

"Other than at public situations where she is an integral part of our family, Chelsea has not taken on a public role.

"We have been very grateful for the media's restraint in allowing Chelsea the privacy that any young person needs and deserves.

"Unfortunately, despite personal appeals with respect to her privacy and her security from her parents, People magazine has chosen to run the story. We can only hope that the media will continue its policy of restraint with respect to our daughter."

'She is a valid journalistic subject'

In response to the White House statement, Carol Wallace, People magazine managing editor, said: "We are certainly sensitive to the Clinton's concerns about their daughter, but there is a great deal of admiration for this mother-daughter relationship.

Clintons
The Clinton family at Chelsea's high school graduation  

"Over the years, we have written about the Clinton family in good times and bad. Chelsea is nearly 19 years old and a poised young adult. We feel that because she is an eyewitness to the family drama and historical events unfolding around her she is a valid journalistic subject."

Administration officials said they didn't believe there were any startling revelations in the magazine's upcoming issue, but that the Clintons were chagrined to see their daughter, who will turn 19 on Feb. 27, the subject of a cover story.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said the Clintons found fault with "more the concept than the detail" of the story.

The media tended to take a hands-off approach towards Chelsea while she was a high school student, but her move to Stanford University in 1997 generated a spate of news stories.

Nevertheless, administration officials said the upcoming issue of People crossed a line: "There's never been a cover story on Chelsea," said Marsha Berry, the first lady's spokeswoman.

Berry said the Clinton's statement was not intended to dispute any particular facet of the article. "It's just that it exists at all," she said.

People magazine is a unit of Time Warner, Inc., the parent company of CNN.


RELATED SITES

The White House Web Site

www.People.com


VIDEO

John King reports: White House distressed with People Magazine article (2-4-99) Windows Media: 28K | 80K



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