WASHINGTON— Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton say they are “blessed, grateful, and so happy” to become grandparents.
Their daughter, Chelsea, gave birth Friday night to her first child, Charlotte.
Chelsea Clinton announced the news on Twitter and Facebook early Saturday, saying she and husband Marc Mezvinsky are “full of love, awe and gratitude as we celebrate the birth of our daughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky.”
“Chelsea is well and glowing. Marc is bursting with pride. Charlotte’s life is off to a good start,” the former president and first lady said in their statement on Saturday.
The Mezvinskys live in New York City, but the family did not say where the child was born or provide additional details on the birth.
The news comes as Hillary Clinton deliberates whether to run for the White House in 2016. She is the leading Democratic contender to succeed President Barack Obama, her 2008 campaign rival, and has said she expects to make a decision around the beginning of next year.
The baby has been eagerly anticipated as Hillary Clinton considers her political future. She has called the prospect of becoming a grandmother her “most exciting title yet.” She even has picked out the first book she intends to read to her grandchild, the classic “Goodnight Moon.”
She has said she didn’t want to make any decisions about another campaign until the baby’s arrival, pointing to her interest in enjoying becoming a grandmother for the first time.
Bill Clinton canceled a fundraising visit Saturday to Denver for Democrats running for the Senate and governor, but he called in to an event for embattled Democratic Sen. Mark Udall to deliver his 11-minute speech by speakerphone.
“I hope I get an excused absence,” he told the crowd. “You all know my family just got a little bigger, and I figured I should stay home where I’m really needed.”
Clinton has been eager to become a grandfather. During an event with former President George W. Bush in September, Bill Clinton’s cellphone rang on stage and he joked that only two people had the number “and they are related to me,” musing that he hoped he wasn’t becoming “a premature grandfather.”
“Every day I get up and I say, ‘You have to remember whose child this is. Do not interfere. Be there when you are welcome. Be loving but not judgmental,” Clinton said to laughs in an interview with CNN at his annual Clinton Global Initiative, only days before the baby’s arrival.
The 34-year-old Chelsea Clinton said in an interview with Glamour magazine last year that she and her husband had hoped to make 2014 “the year of the baby.” She announced her pregnancy in April at the end of a forum in New York on female empowerment.
“I just hope I will be as good a mom to my child and, hopefully, children as my mom was to me,” she said at the time.
Even in her late stage of pregnancy, the younger Clinton helped preside over the family’s annual conference last week, conducting interviews on stage and announcing efforts to promote community service and stop the killing of elephants and trafficking of ivory. An advocate for elephants, she warned her child “could grow up in a planet without elephants.”
Chelsea Clinton grew up in the public eye as a teenager in the White House, later graduating from Stanford and Columbia universities. She worked in finance in New York and in public health, earning a doctorate from Oxford University.
She serves as vice chair of her family’s foundation, which was renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, and helps direct the organization’s humanitarian and philanthropic efforts around the globe. She recently departed NBC News, where she served as a special correspondent.
The new parents, who married in 2010, were friends as teenagers in Washington and both attended Stanford. Mezvinsky is a hedge fund manager and the son of former Reps. Majorie Margolies of Pennsylvania and Edward Mezvinsky of Iowa, longtime friends of the Clintons.