COLUMNS

First Kids: Now and Then

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • September 07, 1999

by Karen Feld

More than her position as First Lady and the campaign dollars raised, First Daughter Chelsea, 20, may prove to be Hillary Clinton’s greatest asset in her New York senate race. After all, Chelsea not only stuck by her parents during their marital troubles, but she has handled herself with grace and dignity as the public has watched her mature into a sophisticated young lady. And speaking of the Clinton legacy, don’t count Chelsea out as the Clinton who may leave the greatest legacy in the future. Not only did she exhibit warm people skills on trips with her mother to India, Israel, Egypt, and beyond, but she got raves at the New York State Fair and on her solo visit to the Skaneateles Library. Keep your eye on her!

And it looks as though John Kennedy Jr.’s legacy is going to live on; publishing giant Hachette Filipacchi isn’t about to let “George” fade quietly. Insiders hope another high profile editor, perhaps Clinton adviser-turned TV correspondent George Stephanopoulos; controversial writer Chris Buckley; Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter; or veteran “George” executive editor Richard Blow — may boost chances of survival for the publication that was the professional passion of John Kennedy Jr. In the meantime, Hachette raised the cover price of the October commemorative issue $2.

And some won’t let the past slip away — Ben Jones just can’t seem to let his 80’s TV role of the shady mechanic, “Cooter Davenport,” go. Or is it the celebrity that has the appeal? TV’s “Dukes of Hazzard” actor-turned-Georgia Congressman has now opened Cooter’s Place, a museum and gift shop in Sperryville, Va., near the Shenandoah National Park and former Presidential candidate and Senator Gene McCarthy’s home. It’s a far cry from Hollywood and Washington, and other than Jones himself in his hayseed persona of Cooter, the main attraction is a replica of the General Lee, the 1969 Dodge Charger well known to “Hazzard” fans. A reunion episode of the series begins production this fall. Could a cruise ship museum from “Love Boat” actor-turned Iowa Congressman Fred Grandy be far behind?

Actor Warren Beatty isn’t a stranger to politics but he is an unlikely candidate in the presidential sweepstakes. It was actually the ambitious and conservative columnist Arianna Huffington who initiated the buzz about recasting “Bulworth” as a possible challenger to Al Gore. This is the same Warren Beatty who advised his buddy presidential candidate Gary Hart to “get real,” when talking to the press after he was caught on “The Monkey Business” with model Donna Rice.

Expect New Yorkers opposed to Hillary Rodham Clinton for Senate to look into Terry McAuliffe’s background, specifically some real estate deals involving government leases. He’s the Democratic fund raiser who so very graciously offered to co-sign the Clinton’s mortgage note on their $1.7 million house in Chappaqua.

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