Clintons Might Be 'World's Greatest Parents,' Vogue Editor Tells CNN

In a fawn-fest over Chelsea Clinton with CNN's Ashleigh Banfield on Wednesday, Vogue magazine's contributing editor Jonathan van Meter slipped in some serious love for Bill and Hillary.

"I think one of the things the Clintons will go down in history for, it may very well being the world's greatest parents. I mean, they did such an incredible job of protecting her [Chelsea] from the likes of us, basically," van Meter admitted of the press. [Video below the break.]

Shortly before that van Meter slammed Rush Limbaugh as "disgusting" for a demeaning joke he made about Chelsea 20 years ago, that CNN decided to dredge up.

However, van Meter and the "Clinton News Network" had nothing but praise for Chelsea, calling her "incredibly lovely, fun," "remarkably articulate, poised, successful," and a "total fox" with a "big, throbbing brain."

CNN's love for the Clintons is no secret, and anchor Wolf Blitzer and former anchor Kyra Phillips have fawned over Chelsea before. Phillips, in fact, asked if Clinton has a political future and CNN continued that speculation by reporting she is "open to running for office."

"I hope Rush Limbaugh is watching this interview," jabbed Banfield, "And I hope he gets to see these pictures and see how poised, articulate and beautiful this woman has become."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 15 on CNN Newsroom at 11:22 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD: You know, Chelsea Clinton didn't necessarily choose to grow up in the public eye. She did so by default. She was born in a governor's mansion and she moved to the White House. Politics and public service, you could say, are pretty much in her DNA. So by no means is her life ordinary, but man has she been tight-lipped. We have heard hide nor hair of this girl. That is until now, because you're about to get a very revealing look at Chelsea Clinton, because she's opening up with a very exclusive interview in Vogue in the September issue.

You're going to buy it anyway because it's the September issue, but now one more reason to because this is fascinating. Vogue's contributing editor, Jonathan Van Meter, one of the best in the business, got incredible access to Chelsea and followed her for two months. Holy smokes, Jonathan, when I read this piece I thought this is not the girl that I remember. Transformation.

JONATHAN VAN METER, author, "The Last Good Time": Amazing.

BANFIELD: Just amazing.

VAN METER: You know one of the most amazing things about her is that we feel like we grew up with her, except we know nothing about her. So every word that she said was fascinating to me.

BANFIELD: First of all, I wanted to highlight right off the top one of the things that many of us may have forgotten, or didn't live through if you're young, and that is when she was 13 years old, and she recounts this today in her speech, something that happened to her with regard to Rush Limbaugh, a comment that he made about her. Again, she's 13! She's 13, and Rush Limbaugh said this.

(Video Clip)

RUSH LIMBAUGH: So you'll see who is the cute kid in the White House.

(Camera shows Clintons' dog)

LIMBAUGH: No, no, no, no! That's not the kid! That's –

(Camera shows Chelsea Clinton)

LIMBAUGH: That's the kid! We tried to –

(Applause)

(End Audio Clip)

BANFIELD: Wow. Well, if he could see her now.

VAN METER: He's disgusting. (Laughs)

BANFIELD: That was pretty horrible. But, you know, that changed things because people don't dare talk about those kids in the White House anymore.

VAN METER: That's true. I think one of the things the Clintons will go down in history for, it may very well being the world's greatest parents. I mean, they did such an incredible job of protecting her from the likes of us, basically, and it's an amazing thing that she's decided to step out finally and do this.

BANFIELD: I'll tell a couple of things that I read in the article that I loved. She talked about running and she said this about running: "It's one part of my life in which I fundamentally feel like the observer instead of the observed." My heart just sank.

VAN METER: Isn't that amazing? She's – one of her best friends from childhood basically said that she, as a little girl, behaved like a person who was always being watched. She grew up in a fish bowl, but somehow she's magically survived it and turned into this incredibly lovely, fun, easy-to-be-around person.

BANFIELD: And all that, yes. But then, on top of that, and this is what so surprised me. I suppose it shouldn't have surprised me with smart parents like those two. She is just remarkably articulate, poised, successful. She's on seven boards. She's actually a lecturer at the university. She's a graduate PhD student right now and I want to read this quote just so that you know how articulate this young woman has become.

She said, "I really wanted to work in the private sector. I felt as if I had no inherited understanding of that from my parents, but I didn't fundamentally care about denominating success through money. And think it's important to be in professions in which you care about the metric of success." Whoa.

VAN METER: (Laughs) It's amazing. And one of the things that I loved about her is that she has digressions that I described as frequent and lengthy where she'll be telling a story, she'll digress and you'll learn so much in these digressions because she's got this big throbbing brain. She's so smart. Huma Abedin said, she may very well be the smartest person I've ever met.

BANFIELD: Holy cow, 32 years old, too. I was thinking, yeah, she's probably 19 or 20. 32 years old, married and pressure from her mom, Hillary, to have grand babies. Jonathan, it's a great read. It's really, really terrific. It's so insightful and it's what you do best. I remember your Jennifer Aniston piece from a decade ago.

VAN METER: I wrote about you. I wrote about you.

BANFIELD: Now, let's not talk about that.

VAN METER: Remember when it was a scandal to wear glasses on television? Now, we're all doing it.

BANFIELD: Or dye your hair. Yeah, right. Oh, yeah, nice glasses. Mr. Van Meter, excellent work. By the way, you can read the entire interview with Chelsea Clinton on Vogue.com, as well. But I recommend that you get that September issue. It's awesome ballast because it is extraordinarily heavy. It's almost a thousand pages this year, right?

VAN METER: It's a cinder block, is what it is.

BANFIELD: And it hits newsstands, nationwide, on August the 21st. By the way, she is a total fox, so I –

VAN METER: She really is.

BANFIELD: – I hope Rush Limbaugh is watching this interview.

VAN METER: Yeah.

BANFIELD: And I hope he gets to see these pictures and see how poised, articulate and beautiful this woman has become. Thank you, Jonathan.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014