Hillary Clinton Says Derogatory Comments Reporter Made About Chelsea Are Part Of 'A Troubling Pattern'

MSNBC's David Shuster was temporarily suspended after making controversial remark; senator may bow out of network's debate.

Given that it's the 2008 presidential-election season, it's only fair that Senator Hillary Clinton get the nonstop media attention she's been receiving lately. But in recent days, her daughter, Chelsea, has been drawing some of her own headlines while stumping for her mom on the campaign trial — and now controversial comments made about Chelsea could result in the senator bowing out of a scheduled debate with Senator Barack Obama.

The 27-year-old Stanford graduate, who is usually very private, has been getting a close-up lately — in fact, late last week, Chelsea extended an invitation to MTV News to spend the day with the former first daughter and follow her as she told students across California why she thinks her mom should be the next president of the United States.

This week, though, attention focused less on her efforts and more on a controversy involving derogatory comments made by a correspondent on cable-news network MSNBC. Reporter David Shuster made a remark about Chelsea on Thursday's edition of "Tucker," after which he was temporarily suspended.

"Doesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?" he asked on the program.

Following that controversial comment, Politico.com published a tit-for-tat e-mail exchange between Shuster and a press aide for Senator Clinton showing that Shuster initially tried to defend his comment.

Shuster capitulated and apologized on "Tucker" on Friday, saying, "I used a phrase that was inappropriate. I apologize to the Clinton family, the Clinton campaign and all of you who are justifiably offended. ... All Americans should be proud of Chelsea Clinton, and I am particularly sorry that my language diminished the regard and the respect she has earned from all of us, and the respect her parents have earned in how they raised her."

On Saturday (February 9), Senator Clinton — who was to debate Obama on February 26 on MSNBC, although that event now seems in jeopardy — addressed the controversy at a press conference at the University of Maine. She said the comments were part of a "troubling pattern of demeaning treatment" by the network, according to The Washington Post. "There has been a troubling pattern of comments and behaviors that has to be held accountable."

Senator Clinton also wrote a letter to NBC News President Steve Capus in which she said, "I became Chelsea's mother long before I ran for any office, and I will always be a mom first and a public official second. Nothing justifies the kind of debasing language that David Shuster used, and no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient."

But that wasn't the only uncomfortable situation the youngest Clinton faced this week — she also drew some slight mockery from the ladies of "The View." After hearing that several of the morning-show co-hosts were on the fence about whom to vote for on Super Tuesday, Chelsea personally rang them up in hopes of swinging the vote for her mom. The next day, co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd and Joy Behar satirized the surprise phone calls they each received from the soft-spoken Clinton, making fun of her quiet voice. (The fourth co-host, conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, didn't initially receive a personalized call from Chelsea.)

While it remains to be seen whether Chelsea will continue to draw headlines in the coming days, it's safe to say that she would rather media turn the spotlight on her mother — and why she's the right presidential candidate for the job — instead.

Get informed! Head to Choose or Lose for nonstop coverage of the 2008 presidential election, including everything from the latest news on the candidates to on-the-ground multimedia reports from our 51 citizen journalists, MTV and MySpace's Presidential Dialogues, and much more.