MIDWAY: Dream world
Amid the euphoria, spare a thought for the president-to-be’s daughters, 10-year-old Malia and seven-year-old Sasha.
Asked in July in a made-for-TV family interview what she thought growing up in the White House would be like, little Sasha replied: “It would be very cool.” “My most excitement about it is that I get to redecorate my room,” added Malia. A large delivery of Beyonce posters is anticipated.
But just how cool will it be for these youngsters?
Not cool at all if Curtis Roosevelt, grandson of Franklin Roosevelt, is to be believed.
In his new memoir, Too Close to the Sun, he makes it clear that growing up in the White House — he, elder sister Eleanor and their mother moved in after his parents’ divorce - had serious drawbacks. He has talked of “a life which is highly controlled”, yet at the same time makes no demands.
“It was a life in which no one ever said that I had to do anything . . . You have got people who will run and pick something up if you drop it.”
The result? “I became addicted to a dream world.” Amy Carter was nine when father Jimmy won the presidency, and was so damaged by the experience she refuses to discuss it — no bittersweet memoirs from her.
The Carters tried to make her upbringing as ordinary as possible but she was hounded by the media, who jumped on her every faux pas.
Once, she was caught reading a book during a state dinner, an act seen as discourteous to the visiting dignitary.
The Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea — 12 when her father became president — was mocked for being gauche, dismissed as ugly on Saturday Night Live, and made the subject of a cover story in People magazine in 1999 that her parents said compromised her security.
“We don’t get paid, but we sure get criticised,” complained Luci Baines Johnson, who was 16 when her father Lyndon Johnson entered the Oval Office.
“When my grades weren’t so good, complete strangers scolded me. And when they got better and we leaked the news about my B average, people said I was bragging.” First Daughters just can’t win.