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August 24, 2007

Hillary Clinton Unplugged

Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.

Photo Credit: Brian Ach/Wire Image

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JC: What were the things that went?
HC: Going to dinner with friends — that was the casualty. For the early years of her life, which go by so fast, we just made the decision that we were going to cut back on all that. But let me say one thing — it is important that women support each other. Most of us will at some point get married and have children, and how you balance that really depends on the quality of your friends and whether your friends are there for you. It also depends on what the policies are in your workplace. I always supported the women I worked with having time off to go to parent-teacher conferences and doctors' appointments or bringing their infants into the office. I'm a huge supporter of on-site child care. You need much more sensitivity in the workplace to the challenges young women go through in trying to do two very difficult jobs well.

JC: Meanwhile, we've got Paris going to jail, we've got Britney having a public breakdown. How do we bring up our kids in a culture of tabloid heroines?
HC: Well, you have to fight against it, to be honest. Frankly, I see a lot of little girls dressed in ways I think are not very appropriate. It's too much too soon, and it causes a lot of cognitive dissonance about who they are — are they an 8-year-old, or are they a miniature fill-in-the-blank-celebrity? Parents have to draw the line. We used to make up chores for Chelsea to do. We lived in the Governor's Mansion, but she was expected to make her bed and clean up after herself — things you would do in any household. You have to inculcate those values; you can't assume that somehow they will be transmitted to your children. It's also important, particularly for privileged kids, to involve them in charitable activities. Bill and I give our two young nephews a certain amount of money every month, and out of that they have to contribute $25 to a charity. Then they have to write a letter telling us why they've contributed it. One week it's Save Darfur, and the next week it's Save the Whales. It's a way of raising consciousness for your kids so they don't get totally sucked into the materialism and celebrity culture.

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