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Political Daughters Step Into The Limelight This Election Season


Political spouses usually play a big role in party conventions, and this year, so do political daughters. Last week, Ivanka Trump introduced her dad. Tonight, Chelsea Clinton will introduce her mom. NPR's Asma Khalid reports.

ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: America first met Chelsea Clinton as a preteen with braces and a mop of curly hair when her dad became president in 1992. These days, she's a working mom with two young kids and a low-key public profile. This campaign season, though, she has been her mother's campaign surrogate and loyal ally. Here she is at a town hall in Florida this past March.


CHELSEA CLINTON: I grew up going to events like this. In fact, I don't really remember a time my life when I wasn't at an organizing event or a political rally or I was volunteering in a campaign.

KHALID: Chelsea was born into politics. And this morning on "The Today Show," she talked about what it will feel like to watch her mom accept the nomination for president.


CLINTON: I'm going to try really hard to not cry.

KHALID: She also said tonight she'll talk about how proud she is to be her mother's daughter.

CLINTON: I just hope that people understand even a little more when I'm done than when I started about why I love her so much and admire her so much.

KHALID: It's hard to ignore the parallel role Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton are playing at these conventions - two daughters, both young moms in their 30s, trying to humanize their parents. Both Ivanka and Chelsea also have influential roles in the family business, whether it's real estate, philanthropy or politics. Both are fiercely loyal to their families, who are suddenly on opposite sides of a political drama. But the two women, who have known each other for years, are still friends, as Chelsea admitted on "The Today Show."


CLINTON: And yet, clearly, Ivanka and I have very different views about who we think should be our president.

KHALID: Both Ivanka and Chelsea are trying to do the same thing during these conventions. Their parents are intensely polarizing figures, and they are trying to show a softer side that only family can see.

JOSH KENDALL: Fortunately for Chelsea, what makes the responsibility a little less daunting is that Trump really needed his family.

KHALID: That's Josh Kendall. He's a biographer who's written about presidential children. He says Ivanka Trump has a harder job.

KENDALL: I mean, every night, he was rolling out a family member 'cause Trump has so few political allies that he's so dependent on his children.

KHALID: Chelsea is a character witness for her mom, but she's not the only one.


CLINTON: I am very proud to introduce my hero and my mother, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.


CLINTON: Eight years ago, Chelsea introduced her mother at the Democratic Convention in Denver after Clinton lost the primary campaign. Tonight will be a deja vu moment for Chelsea, but this time, there's a new chapter and, she's hoping, a different ending. Asma Khalid, NPR News, Philadelphia. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Asma Khalid is a White House correspondent for NPR. She also co-hosts The NPR Politics Podcast.
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