Likewise, in 1993 when Chelsea became the first child to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since 1981 when another frizzy red-headed kid in braces, Amy Carter, left the White House, she was as fun to read about as Princess Diana was at the time.
A story I wrote at the time about the obsession with Chelsea quoted Bill Trice, a Little Rock attorney and a Clinton family friend whose son was close to Chelsea since preschool: "Chelsea is not newsworthy. Even positive press is, in a way, an intrusion into living a normal life."
But the fact is, White House kids – and the kids of those who aspire to the White House – are newsworthy. Any parent knows that their families are a reflection of them in some way – their tastes, values, and character are symbolic, fair or not. Fortunately the eyes of just our small civic circles are on us and our families - but a president simply can’t avoid public interest in his or her family. As a parent, I like watching the first families – the Obama girls seem poised and worthy of holding up to my own daughter as examples of tasteful dressing (no bare bellies and bra straps there), Michelle Obama's anti-childhood-obesity campaign is a genial model for our household (we keep the McNuggets to a minimum); I liked Laura Bush's seeming calm through her kids' teen years (there's something soothing about literacy advocacy).