The former First Daughter appeared on the long-running “Making a Difference” series, visiting a woman who runs afterschool mentoring sessions for at-risk teens in Arkansas and wove a heartwarming tale about children whose lives were seemingly saved by Annette Dove‘s program.
While the subject of the piece, Dove, was lively and emotional, Clinton stuck to a businesslike, even monotone voice at times, critics said — a surprising turn for the youngest Clinton, who is said to be extremely charismatic and charming in private.
“Rather, what was surprising to see on Monday night’s show is how someone can be on TV in such a prominent way and, in her big moment, display so very little charisma — none at all. Either we’re spoiled by TV’s unlimited population of giant personalities or this woman is one of the most boring people of her era,” one Washington Post critic charged.
Other critics pointed out that it was Clinton’s first time appearing on television — and she made it through without any fumbles.
“The former First Daughter appeared poised and well-prepared, though a bit nervous, delivering her report,” Politico.com wrote.
New York Times’ critic Alessandra Stanley called the segment well-done and likable, excusing Clinton’s less-than-network-TV voice as normal for a beginner.
“Ms. Clinton is a little self-conscious on camera and doesn’t have the kind of richly modulated anchor voice most television reporters acquire, but that actually gave her piece a more natural feel – like a video blog on Current TV,” she said.
In an interview with the show’s host Brian Williams, Clinton said she decided to go on camera for the first time in her very public life thanks to her late grandmother, Dorothy Rodham. She has often pointed to Rodham as her inspiration since NBC announced the deal in November.
“She recently had been cajoling me and challenging me to do more with my life, to lead a more purposely public life, that being Chelsea Clinton had happened to me and that I had a responsibility to do something with that asset and opportunity,” she said.
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