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Chelsea says parents disagree on NAFTA

From NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann
DURHAM, NC -- Asked yesterday how her mother's stance on NAFTA would correct economic problems without "contradicting" her father's engineering of the policy, former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton said that the trade deal is one area of disagreement between her parents.

"Well, we don't agree on everything as a family," she told the questioner at a Q&A session of North Carolina's Young Democrats in Durham yesterday. "My mother and father agree on most things, not everything," she added. "And what you're talking about is one example of that."

NAFTA is likely to be a major issue in the state for the presidential primary, as many residents blame the loss of textile and manufacturing jobs on the trade deal spearheaded by Bill Clinton's Administration.

Chelsea Clinton also delivered an impassioned defense of her mother's candidacy when a friendly questioner asked if she thought her mother has been mischaracterized by the press and the public during the prolonged nomination fight.

"I didn't really get how much sexism there was in this country," she said, citing examples of voters who had approached her with concerns about a woman's capacity to be commander in chief. She singled out gag gift figurines of her mother as a "nutcracker" ("not in anything that I'd consider a respectful posture," said Chelsea) as particularly offensive.

During the session, which lasted well over an hour, the former first daughter said that she feels compelled to campaign, not by familial duty, but by passion for her mother's cause.  "My mom never asked me to do this," she said. "My dad never asked me to do this."