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Long IslandPolitics

Does Chelsea Clinton have a future in politics?

Chelsea Clinton has a singular opportunity in American politics after introducing her mother to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. While the spotlight was on her mother, it could prove to be a step toward a career in public office for Chelsea. ( Click to see 14 photos of Chelsea Clinton through the years )

* Click here to see the photos of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton at the convention Tuesday night

* 56 photos of Hillary Rodham Clinton's fashion looks throug the years

"It wouldn't surprise me," said political consultant Joseph Mercurio. "Judging from her campaigning during her mother's presidential campaign, I'd say she's becoming a seasoned veteran at a fairly young age."

Mercurio, and others, were quick to point out that Chelsea has never expressed an interest in a career in politics or running for office. But for Chelsea, 28, who spent her adolescence in the White House, tonight is her first address to the entire Democratic Party from a national stage. By virtue of her poise on the campaign trail and growing up with political heavyweights for parents, a door is open to her that leads to a tradition of American political dynasties that pre-dates the Clintons, the Bushes and the Kennedys and goes back at least to President John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), son of President John Adams (1797-1801).

Sen. Clinton's press office did not respond to an e-mailed question asking if Chelsea was interested in a political career.

She made numerous campaign stops at college campuses and youth events in some 40 states for her mother. She addressed some 50,000 at the Texas state Democratic Convention in June.

She declined reporters' questions but took questions from students and other in the audiences at rallies. Given the attention and strong opinions her parents inspire, she drew friendly crowds and the occasional heckler.

When Sen. Clinton made a last stand in West Virginia in May -- an unpopular move to those who thought the race well over -- Chelsea introduced her. "End the dynasty!" an Obama supporter shouted at the former-first daughter.

During her appearances, she handled the inevitable question about her father's infidelity with poise, by making it very clear that it was none of anyone's business. She has withstood the media glare.

"She's grown up in the spotlight and she's come off as one of the more disciplined, more purposeful lives," Mercurio said. Many children of the wealthy or powerful "get such disrupted lives and become ski bums by comparison," he added.

Of course growing up in the White House and going on the campaign trail for her mother are a long distance from an active interest in becoming a politician.

"She never really come out and expressed an interest," said Democratic political consultant Evan Stavisky. "If she does she has a lot of pent up reservoir of good will for her family in New York."

* Click to see 14 photos of Chelsea Clinton through the years

* Click here to see the photos of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton at the convention Tuesday night

* 56 photos of Hillary Rodham Clinton's fashion looks throug the years


Famous First Daughters and their post-White House years.

Amy Carter, daughter of Jimmy Carter

She caught flack for reading a book at a state dinner and famously told her father at age 13 that controlling nuclear weapons was the most important thing the United States could do.

After: When Carter was in college she made headlines for getting arrested during protests against South Africa and the United States' policies regarding the apartheid government. She later went on to illustrate children's books written by her father.

Susan Ford, daughter of Gerald Ford

When her father was Vice President, she had Secret Service protection after the Symbionese Liberation Army listed her as a possible kidnapping target. Her senior prom was held in the White House.

After: Ford went on to become a photojournalist and novelist. Now Susan Ford Bales, she's chairman of the Betty Ford Center, an alcohol and drug treatment center founded by her mother.

Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy

Although her mother, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, tried to shield her and her brother, Jack Jr., from the media, iconic photos of the two children playing in the Oval Office are some of the most well-known images of the Kennedy White House.

After: Kennedy is an author who recently has been trying to quell rumors of a possible post in a Barack Obama White House. She is president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and co-founder the Profiles of Courage Awards. Most recently, she was on the search team that selected Joe Biden as Obama's running mate.

Compiled by Marlene Naanes.

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