TIME Family

Meet the Clinton Baby’s Other Grandparents

Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky attend 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Opening Session at the Sheraton Hote in New York on Sept. 23, 2012.
Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky attend 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Opening Session at the Sheraton Hote in New York on Sept. 23, 2012. Janet Mayer—Splash News/Corbis

Or, as they're called in Yiddish, the 'machatonim'

Even before Charlotte Clinton Mevzinsky headed home from the hospital on Monday, we had seen the first photos of her with her “over the moon” new grandparents, Bill and Hillary Clinton. But where were the machatonim?

In case you’re wondering, machatonim is a Yiddish word that describes a relationship for which there is no equivalent word in English: the parents of your child’s spouse. And in the case of the Clintons, the machatonim are two longtime friends and allies: Marjorie Margolies and Edward Mevzinsky.

Marjorie is a women’s rights activist and former Congresswoman from Pennsylvania who served a momentous single term in 1993-95 after her deciding vote for the Clinton budget cost her her seat. She ran but lost in the Democratic primary this spring, despite vigorous support from both Clintons. Her former husband, Edward Mevzinsky, served two terms in Congress from Iowa — but also served fived years in prison after being convicted of fraud in 2001. They were divorced in 2007. So maybe their low profile is understandable.

“We are totally delighted,” Marjorie told TIME. What matters this week, anyway, is the relationship of the Clintons and the Margolies-Mevzinskys as machatonim — surely a more efficient way to put it than fumbling around awkwardly with phrases like “my daughter’s in-laws.” If Bill and Hillary are newcomers to their heightened status as grandparents, Marjorie and Ed are black-belt machatonim. Between their combined eleven children, they already have 18 grandchildren, thus presenting Charlotte with 18 cousins “who can’t wait to be part of Charlotte’s life,” Margolies says.

It’s often pointed out that the machatonim often become uncommonly close for two reasons: (1) their shared love for the same grandchildren, and (2) because they and the grandchildren are united by a common enemy: the parents.

So now begin the sensitive negotiations that are more than familiar to many grandparents. Which family will Charlotte (and, oh, her parents) visit for Thanksgiving? Or will they split the difference, Solomonically bolting after turkey dinner to commute to the Other Grandparents’ House for dessert? Who gives her the coolest presents? And, most terrifying, which grandparents does she says she loves the MOST? She will say she loves them all, of course. After all, at least genetically, all machatonim are created equal.

TIME 2016 Election

The Pros and Cons of ‘President Grandma’

Hillary Bill Chelsea Clinton Baby
Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, hold their granddaughter Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky after their daughter Chelsea Clinton gave birth in New York on Sept. 27, 2014. Jon Davidson—Reuters

The challenges and benefits of running for the land’s highest office as a grandmother

Hillary Clinton has had many titles: mother, First Lady of the United States, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State and, most recently, grandmother. In her last presidential campaign, it was her experience as a senator and, to a lesser extent, first lady, that were the selling points of her campaign. But if she runs again in 2016, she won’t just be touting her experience as top diplomat, she’ll also sports a different kind of distinction: the first viable presidential contender who also happens to be a grandmother.

There are pros and cons in politics to the title of grandma, some of them uniquely Clintonian. At a time when Clinton’s recent remarks about not driving a car since 1996 and struggling to make ends meet after Bill Clinton’s presidency made her seem out of touch with the populist times, being a grandmother makes her relatable.

“As we saw in 2008, she had a more difficult time relating to voters on a personal level,” said Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University. “Being about to tell stories about having a first grandchild might serve as one way to connect with the millions of Americans who watched Chelsea grow up and who are now grandparents’ themselves. Any benefit will surely be tiny, but it could drive up empathy a bit.”

If Clinton chooses to promote her grandmotherly status, it would be the opposite tack that she took in 2008 where she was so concerned about showing voters she wasn’t a weak woman that she buried the historic nature of her campaign. In that regard, Clinton is the opposite of most women running for office, who try to avoid mentioning their families because they don’t want to seem soft. Being perceived as tough “is particularly important for executive offices, where strength and toughness, and singular leadership, are valued most,” said Kelly Dittmar, a scholar at Rutgers University’s Center for American Women in Politics. “Of course, some of this will be very unique to Hillary Clinton, as she struggled in her last presidential campaign to empathize with voters and was often criticized for being too hard.”

Being a grandpa almost never hurt a male presidential candidate. Few remarked on Mitt Romney’s grandchildren except, perhaps, at the large number of them. Let’s face it: There will be a double standard for Clinton compared to any other male politician running for President. The image of a blue-haired granny is a tried-and-true American stereotype, and one that is antithetical to the image of the commander-in-chief with his finger on the button.

But again, Clinton’s previous campaign and life experience defies that contrast. “While it might be different for other candidates, particularly female candidates who are less known and still need to prove their competence, I think for Hillary Clinton it is a positive,” said Michele Swers, an associate professor in American Government at Georgetown University and author of “The Difference women Make.”

“Clinton spent years developing her persona of expertise and toughness,” Swers said.

But the biggest risk of being the grandma-candidate is that it does remind voters of Clinton’s age. On Election Day 2016, she’ll be 69, just months younger than the oldest U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, when he was elected in 1980. And it was Clinton’s husband Bill, who successfully painted the last President to be a grandparent in office, George H. W. Bush, as old and out of touch when he beat him in the 1992 election.

TIME People

See the First Pictures of Chelsea Clinton’s New Baby

Chelsea Clinton gave birth to a newborn baby girl, she announced Saturday morning. Here, see tiny Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, the world’s newest Clinton, meet her parents and grandparents for the first time.

TIME Family

See Chelsea Clinton’s Life in Pictures

From her first baby pictures to her pregnancy, here's Chelsea's very public life in pictures

TIME People

Bill Clinton Drops a Hint About Chelsea’s Due Date

Clinton Global Citizen Awards at 2014 Clinton Global Initiative
Chelsea Clinton, US Vice Chairman of the Clinton Foundation, walks onto the stage to make a presentation during the Clinton Global Citizen Awards presentations at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City on Sept. 21, 2014. Ray Stubblebine—EPA

The baby should be arriving in early October

President Bill Clinton is really looking forward to next week. Because by that time, he told CNN, he may be welcoming his first grandchild into the world.

“I hope by the first of October, I’ll be a grandfather,” Clinton said in an interview that aired Sunday. “I can’t wait.”

Chelsea Clinton announced her pregnancy in April, which should make her about eight months along if she followed the typical rule of waiting three months before sharing her pregnancy. Both the former President and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they are on “baby watch” over the weekend, in anticipation of their first grandchild. During a speech at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum on Friday, Clinton said she had been “thinking a lot about family because you know I’m on grandbaby watch.”

The Clintons will be in for another surprise when the baby finally arrives: Chelsea and her husband have opted against learning the sex of the baby before it’s born.

“They want to be surprised,” Bill Clinton said.

[CNN]

TIME

Presidents Clinton and Bush Unveil New Leadership Program

George W. Bush Bill Clinton Presidential Leadership Program
Former US President Bill Clinton and former US President George W. Bush stand to leave after speaking during the launch of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program at the Newseum in Washington on Sept. 8, 2014. Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images

Anyone can apply for the six-month training program

Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush unveiled a new leadership training program in Washington today. Clinton said the initiative will encourage Americans to “have vigorous debate, serious disagreements, knock-down, drag-out fights, and somehow come to ultimately a resolution that enables the country to keep moving forward.”

“We want people from all walks of life and different political persuasions,” Bush said. “We want people who have shown the capacity to succeed. People who work hard, and who work with others in a good way.”

The six-month training program, which will begin in February 2015, will be stewarded by Clinton and Bush, as well as former President George H. W. Bush. and the library of Lyndon B. Johnson. It will employ lectures, discussions and case studies from these four presidents’ terms to teach core leadership skills. Joshua Bolten, Bush’s former chief of staff, called the effort “the first collaboration ever among presidential centers in an ongoing initiative.”

Clinton stressed the importance of assembling a diverse class of future leaders, especially in today’s political climate. “I’d like to get some people from dramatically different backgrounds together with the charge to come up with something they can do together,” he said. “There’s a skill that is beginning to atrophy in America, which is listening to people who disagree with us.”

Though the two former presidents, both of whom are 68, are from opposite parties, they traded good-natured jabs and jokes about the life of ex-presidents. With mock seriousness, Bush kept touting the upcoming November release date of his book about his relationship with his father – which he described as “a love story.” This later prompted Clinton, who has become famously close to Bush Sr. in recent years, to say, “I learned a lot from him too, but I’m not making any money off it.”

George H. W. Bush wasn’t at the event, but he sent a letter from Kennebunkport, Maine, read by Bolten, that gently mocked both his son and Clinton: “Every former president is different. And that’s as it should be. For example, not all of us skydive. That’s not a judgmental comment, just a fact.” (The former president celebrated his 90th birthday this year by skydiving.)

Bolten began a question to the younger Bush by noting that he had no opportunity to attend a leadership training program when he was growing up. “Yea there was,” Bush cut in. “George H. W. Bush.”

Bolten’s final question of the morning was to Bush, asking him to give Clinton advice for becoming a grandfather (Chelsea Clinton is due to give birth this fall). “Be prepared to fall completely in love again,” Bush counseled. “…And get ready also to be, like, the lowest person in the pecking order in your family.”

TIME movies

How Lauren Bacall Got to Dine with President Clinton at a TIME Gala

Lauren Bacall seated on a bed
Mondadori/Getty Images

...and other memories of the stage and screen temptress who forged an indelible liaison with Humphrey Bogart

I’m at least 84% sure this story is accurate. Eighty-four percent because I was in the room at the time, the other 16% because I didn’t see what happened but only heard about it. Even if the anecdote is not red-check true, it provides tantalizing support to the domineering social legend that was Lauren Bacall, who died Tuesday at 89.

On March 3, 1998, TIME threw an amazing party for its 75th anniversary at Radio City Music Hall, across the street from the Time-Life Building. Tiers of tables, a hundred or so set on floorboards in the gigantic auditorium, held a glittering constellation of politicians, authors, scientists, athletes and artists, with each table of eight or 10 anchored by a TIME staffer. At table 38, which I hosted, the guests included Norman Mailer and his wife Norris Church, Tina Brown and Harold Evans, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Val Kilmer and a female agent from the Secret Service, ready to protect President Bill Clinton if necessary. Clinton, barely a month after the Lewinsky scandal had become public, was seated at table 1 with Toni Morrison, James L. Brooks, TIME Managing Editor Walter Isaacson and other luminaries. And at some table between Walter’s and mine sat Bacall.

But not for long. Clinton had come to Bacall’s table to speak with Barry Goldwater. When Bacall saw where Clinton was sitting, she strode down to table 1 and ordered a waiter to put another chair and place setting in that cramped circle. Voilà! She was sitting with the President.

(SEE: Barry, Bill and Bacall)

I relate this not to suggest that Bacall was a bully — though I know people who cringed and were singed by her hauteur — but because it illuminates the will power she thought she needed to demonstrate in the half-century after her early Hollywood stardom. In her 1978 autobiography, she paints an unflattering portrait of herself at 15: “tall, ungainly (I didn’t know I was ‘colt-like’ until a critic said I was), with big feet, flat-chested,… too inexperienced, shy, frightened to know what to do with a boy when I did have a date.” Yet by 18 the Brooklyn-born Betty Joan Perske had been a Harper’s Bazaar cover girl. At 19, she starred in her first film, To Have and Have Not. And at 20 she wed her 45-year-old leading man. Bogie and Betty, Humphrey Bogart and (her movie name) Lauren Bacall: a love affair for the ages.

Actually, their marriage lasted just 11½ years, ending with Bogart’s death from cancer in 1957. By then she was 32, and good starring roles eluded her. She moved back to New York, married actor Jason Robards Jr. — they divorced after eight years, in 1969 — and became the young doyenne of Broadway. The plays Goodbye, Charlie and Cactus Flower became movies, but with Debbie Reynolds and Ingrid Bergman, not Bacall. In 1970 she turned herself into a musical star and a Tony winner as Margo Channing in Applause, based on the movie All About Eve; and 11 years later won another Tony in Woman of the Year, a musical redo of the first film to pair Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. She continued to grace movies and TV dramas (usually supporting roles) and plays (as a star). But the Bacall that the world loved and lusted for was the teenager who taught Bogart the wolf whistle in her first film role.

Nancy “Slim” Hawks showed the Bacall Harper’s Bazaar cover to her husband Howard, director of such Hollywood classics as Scarface, His Girl Friday, Ball of Fire, Red River and Rio Bravo. Pleased with his reputation in discovering and nurturing female stars, from Carole Lombard to Rita Hayworth, Hawks imported Bacall to Hollywood and signed her to a personal contract. His studio, Warner Bros., wanted her teeth fixed and her hairline raised; Hawks refused. He liked her as she was, except for her already low voice, whose register dropped even further when she followed Hawks’ orders to shout out passages from a book (The Robe) into the canyons under Mulholland Drive. By the end she possessed that throaty voice that Tom Wolfe later called “the New York Social Baritone.” Smoking helped, too.

Bogart, in his third marriage (to Mayo Methot), paid little attention to Bacall at the start of the To Have and Have Not shoot, but he soon fell hard. In the movie’s famous early scene, Bacall stands at Bogart’s door and sultry-whispers, “You know you don’t have to act with me, Steve. You don’t have to say anything, and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” She leaves and Bogart whistles appreciatively. That scene could be a documentary film of the middle-aged star realizing he loved his leading lady. Bacall was still a virginal “nice Jewish girl,” and she had adopted her eyes-up, chin-down tilt — what would come to be known as The Look — because she was a nervous ingénue with a case of the shakes. See how she projected herself into Bogart’s and the moviegoers’ erotic dreams? Acting!

Bacall had only one stage credit, an ensemble role in the short-lived Broadway play Johnny 2 x 4. But she had It. She arrived on screen grown-up. No other young actress could project her feline seductiveness — part lynx, part minx. Those qualities served her well in the three other films Bogart and Bacall made together. Hawks’ The Big Sleep, from the Raymond Chandler novel (and co-scripted, like To Have and Have Not, by William Faulkner), Delmer Daves’ Dark Passage and John Huston’s Key Largo were taut melodramas that sizzled from the combustion of Bogie’s weary machismo and Betty’s precocious allure. By her early twenties she was Hollywood glamour on ice. Her lips suggested she knew her impact on the opposite sex and found it less empowering than amusing; her eyes lasered through a man’s ego and into his id.

She chafed at the enduring connection to the love of her life — that fans and the press alike couldn’t think of Bacall without Bogart. (Everybody could think of Bacall without Robards.) The title of her autobiography, By Myself , asserts that she wanted to be known for herself, not just as Bogie’s Baby. Yet he was her costar in her four best films of the ’40s; the one she made with a different leading man, Charles Boyer in Confidential Agent, was a critical and financial failure and for her a humiliating experience. After Key Largo in 1948, and still in her mid-twenties, she was often cast as the older “other woman”: the brittle sophisticate to Doris Day’s ingenue in Young Man With a Horn, or Patricia Neal’s in Bright Leaf. In the 1953 How to Marry a Millionaire, Bacall was the third-billed brunet between two sexy blonds, Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable.

She was felicitously paired with Rock Hudson in Written on the Wind, stood up to John Wayne in Blood Alley and took some of the starch out of Gregory Peck in Designing Woman. That romantic comedy opened in 1957, the year of Bogart’s death, and effectively ended her movie-star career. In the ’60s, like other Warners stars of the ’40s — Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Olivia de Havilland — Bacall went gothic in Shock Treatment, a tale of a lunatic taking over the asylum. She was the crazy one. A decade later, between Applause and Woman of the Year, was one of a dozen stars in Murder on the Orient Express. Her savoriest late role was as Barbra Streisand’s haughty mother in the 1996 The Mirror Has Two Faces. In a telling scene shared by two generations of Jewish movie queens — the ’40s cover girl Bacall and the ’60s “ugly duckling” Streisand — Barbra asks the still-resplendent Betty, “How did it feel to be beautiful?” And Bacall’s face softens into a glow: “It was — wonderful!”

Maybe it wasn’t entirely wonderful, being Mrs. Humphrey Bogart forever. Maybe that need to be her own woman not only spurred her through a long, versatile, accomplished post-Bogie career, but also gave her the gumption to move down to Bill Clinton’s table at the TIME gala. Still, 70 years after it began, she couldn’t control her legacy. She remained half of a smart, sassy, poignant love affair on-screen and off. Their warmth and electricity was the stuff of romantic legend; it outlived him, and now her, because it seemed the perfect, sexual and intellectual match. As Bernie Higgins sang in his 1980 ballad “Key Largo”: “We had it all / Just like Bogie and Bacall.”

TIME Terrorism

Bill Clinton Said The Day Before 9/11 He Could Have Killed Bin Laden

Listen to the audio

Chilling audio of former President Bill Clinton admitting that he turned down an opportunity to attack Osama bin Laden during his presidency was recently uncovered by Sky News Australia. The audio was recorded on September 10, 2001, one day before the 9/11 attacks which claimed nearly 3,000 lives and dramatically impacted the course of global history.

“I could have killed him, but I would have had to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children,” Clinton said. “And then I would have been no better than him.”

Sky News obtained this footage of the former U.S. President through former Australian politician Michael Kroger.

TIME politics

New Monica Lewinsky Essay in Vanity Fair Hints at a Comeback

The Masterpiece Marie Curie Party Supported By Jaeger-LeCoultre And Hosted By Heather Kerzner
Monica Lewinsky arrives at The Masterpiece Marie Curie Party supported by Jaeger-LeCoultre and hosted by Heather Kerzner at The Royal Hospital on June 30, 2014 in London. David M. Benett—Getty Images

She wants internet redemption after the Clinton scandal

Monica Lewinsky wrote another essay in Vanity Fair Thursday, and it was pretty much about everything except Bill Clinton. After her May bombshell in Vanity Fair about surviving the scandal, is this the second step in Lewinsky’s long road to internet redemption since the 1998 scandal.

If the essay is any indicator, that road may have a lot of twists and turns. She started off by discussing how she watches Orange Is the New Black, then stopped when she heard a nasty joke about her affair with the President. She goes on to discuss something she heard on NPR, then New Jersey teen who was body-shamed, then a Haruki Murakami short story about a monkey who is an identity thief. She was basically all over the place.

The piece was supposed to be about how to regain control of your public persona after your reputation has been smeared. And that’s pretty interesting from Lewinsky’s perspective. Here was a cogent moment:

But more and more I’m finding that those who have lost command of their public narratives, do the opposite. They shake off the assault or the slight, take control of their rightful place in their community or the larger culture, and use social media to return the salvo. They refuse to have their identities swindled or misshapen. Instead, they take charge. They turn the attack on its head and use it as an opportunity for self-definition, instead of just taking blood as they go down.

The example she chose was Carleigh O’Connell, a 14-year old girl who posted a selfie in a bathing suit to get back at social media haters who were making fun of her butt and calling her fat. O’Connell took a stand against body-shaming and has now become an ambassador for a few body-postive organizations, so Lewinsky is using her as a symbol of an otherwise non-famous person who was publicly shamed, and then had to regain a public standing she never had in the first place. That’s a narrative that should sound familiar to Lewinsky, now 41, who was just a 22-year old intern didn’t have a public reputation to defend until the Clinton scandal launched her to global infamy.

MORE: The Shaming of Monica: Why We Owe Her an Apology

But then the essay takes a weird turn when she talks about Murakami’s freaky monkey character who steals identities. She’s trying to use it as a parable for the Internet, which she calls a “shadowy medium that exists outside the physical world—that has allowed us, as Carleigh’s story proves, to begin to have the means of reclamation.”

Lewinsky ends the essay with another coy reference to Carleigh and internet redemption, calling her butt selfie “an online rebuttal . . . in all meanings. Sounds good to me.”

So does this mean we can expect some Lewinsky butt selfies coming soon? Probably not, but it likely means we may be hearing a lot more from her as Hillary Clinton prepares for a (possible) presidential run.

 

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: July 24

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the news: Gaza war; Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down; Air Algerie flight missing; How Hillary and Bill Clinton raised $1.4 billion; Report of Sen. John Walsh plagarism; The execution of Joseph Wood; What's prettier in print

  • New Push to Lure Hamas Into Truce [WSJ]
    • Civilians as Human Shields? Gaza War Intensifies Debate [NYT]
    • Obama wants Israel to limit casualties in Gaza. But he won’t say how. [TIME]
    • FAA lifts its ban on flights to Israel [TIME]
  • “Two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down Wednesday over separatist-held territory not far from the site of the Malaysia Airlines crash as international outrage over the tragedy has done little to slow the fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine.” [WSJ]
  • “Authorities have lost contact with an Air Algerie flight en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board…” [Reuters]
  • How Hillary and Bill Clinton Raised $1.4 billion [TIME]
  • “It’s becoming increasingly clear that Congress won’t address the border crisis until sometime after its upcoming August recess.” [TIME]
  • Senator’s Thesis Turns Out to Be Remix of Others’ Works, Uncited [NYT]
  • Inside the Efforts to Halt Arizona’s Two-Hour Execution of Joseph Wood [TIME]
  • Prettier in Print

A brief message from Michael Scherer, TIME Washington D.C. bureau chief:

We will hold an #AskTIME subscriber Q&A this Friday, July 25, at 1 p.m., with TIME’s political correspondent Zeke Miller, who covers the White House and national politics, and congressional reporter Alex Rogers.

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