- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 10, 2001

There are thousands of stories about the September 11 terrorist attacks that chronicle the human condition from every angle. But for now, public attention has focused on just two, and they do not jibe.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, have opposing accounts about that day, prompting online news gatherer Matt Drudge to bill the phenomenon "Mother-Daughter conflict in Chelsea Clinton's terror day tale."
"Curious confusion swirls around former first daughter Chelsea Clinton's upcoming essay for TALK magazine describing exactly where she was on Terror Day in New York City," Mr. Drudge wrote yesterday at his Web site (www.drudgereport.com).
Miss Clinton narrated with much deft introspection and detail her own disquiet after the attacks, calling her fear "subtle and corrosive," in the December issue of the journal.
She offered sequential details about her experiences that day, starting in a friend's apartment near Union Square in Manhattan. The friend called her to deliver news that an airliner had hit the World Trade Center. Miss Clinton wrote that she tried to call her mother, but the connection failed, leaving her to stare "senselessly at the television."
She then left the apartment for the streets, where she later heard the rumble of the tower as it collapsed.
Outside Grand Central Station, she met "hordes of people running out of the station. "
"We all were crying. We all thought we were literally going to have fire rain down on us. For a brief moment, I truly thought I was going to die."
Miss Clinton ran and prayed.
Mrs. Clinton's Sept. 17 account on NBC's "Dateline" does not entirely match up with her daughter's. Anchorman Tom Brokaw prefaced the interview between Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, and host Jane Pauley by saying, "Jane, the attack hit home very close for her."
Miss Pauley agreed, noting that the "tragedy reverberates on so many levels now even for a United States senator, it began on a very, very personal level."
A voice-over narration ensued: "Tuesday morning, Senator Hillary Clinton's first thought when the second plane hit was terrorists. Her next thought was Chelsea, who was not only in New York, but staying downtown."
The screen showed the now too-familiar disturbing shots of the attack itself.
"She'd gone on what she thought would be a great jog," Mrs. Clinton said. "She was going down to the Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers. She went to get a cup of coffee and and that's when the plane hit."
"She was close enough to hear the rumble," Miss Pauley suggested.
"She did hear it. She did," the senator replied. "And to see the smoke."
"In person, not on television," Miss Pauley continued.
"No," Mrs. Clinton said. "Of course, Bill was in Australia and, you know, he was so upset by what he was seeing on television that I didn't want to tell him that I couldn't find her until I found her. I, I told him that, you know, 'Everything's fine. Don't worry,' but I couldn't do it with the level of assurance that I needed until I could find her a couple of hours later."
Mr. Drudge observed yesterday that the story went on to become "a media sensation." He then got down to some bare-knuckled analysis.
"In her own words, Chelsea does not mention a jog. Does not mention her plans to go to Battery Park, around the towers only to be stopped by a coffee break. In fact, Chelsea writes that she was at her friend's apartment on Park Avenue South miles from Ground Zero when she learned of the attacks."
Around the immediate media "campfire" of TV and Internet, these minor inconsistences between the two accounts haven't gone unnoticed.
A sharp account in the New York Press criticized Miss Clinton herself for writing the account, and Talk magazine for publishing it.
If anything, the hubbub is a signal that time has moved on, and Miss Clinton has truly entered the public arena.
Now a graduate student at Oxford, she came under the British Broadcasting Corporation's microscope after remarking in the Talk magazine story that she was pining for America and Americans and felt the pressure of "anti-American" sentiments. The British news organization interviewed several of her fellow students yesterday, who did not mince their words.
There was no "anti-Chelsea Clinton things going on," one young woman said.
"There's been some surprise here that she's found any anti-Americanism," added a BBC analyst.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide