By Enrica Nicoli Aldini
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Clinton family made a fashionably late appearance Saturday night at Washington High School, in the state’s second-largest city. A mere hour after the Des Moines Register gave Hillary Clinton a slight lead over Bernie Sanders in the polls and 45 minutes after the scheduled time, she held one of her three rallies for the day here.
But this rally was different, as the former secretary of state enjoyed the introduction on stage of husband and former President Bill Clinton and not-so-visibly pregnant daughter Chelsea.
“The main reason I’m proud to support my mom is because these are the first elections I get to vote as a mother,” said Chelsea, a mother since September 2014 who is expecting her second child in the summer.
Chelsea’s pregnancy, still in its early stages, was a chance for her to champion her mother’s policies as the reason why a woman and a mother would support Hillary. “She believes in and fights for early-childhood education, health care and gun control,” she said, adding that Hillary “could not be a better grandmother.”
Chelsea always referred to Hillary and Bill as “mom and dad,” adding to the attendee’s perception that they were witnessing a family reunion more than a political rally. After Chelsea stepped off stage — “because I’m pregnant and tired and I need to sit down”—it was Bill’s turn to put a good word in for his wife.
Bill harkened to his own times in Cedar Rapids when he was first running for president in 1992 and described Hillary as a change-maker who, unlike the other candidates in the race, does not just talk about change but actually gets the job done.
“She’s the single best change-maker I’ve ever met. Everything she touches, she makes better,” he said, before tossing in an anecdote about his marriage with Hillary: this March will mark the 45th anniversary of when they first met, when they were both students at Yale Law School.
“She’s a sticker, someone who does not quit on you,” the former president said of his wife. “She can stand her ground and she’s the best at that.”
After Hillary took the podium, Bill and Chelsea sat just behind her, off-stage. Bill was spotted checking his phone—perhaps to catch up on his wife’s Snapchat story—while Chelsea nodded and applauded at every peak of her mother’s speech.
Rumors from the backstage have it that Charlotte, Chelsea’s 16-month-old daughter, got to say hello to Grandpa Bill before her grandmother and presidential hopeful started speaking.
“Chelsea asked her, ‘Do you want to say bye to Pop?’” Sue Dvorsky, former Iowa Democratic Chair who’s leading Clinton’s campaign in Coralville, Iowa, told us anecdotally. “I don’t know how they do this every day.”