Tanden knows from normal. Unlike most of Clinton’s top people, she comes from a childhood of hardship and turmoil unusual in the rarified upper levels of Washington politics. When she was in elementary school, her father – who dabbled in real estate — sold the family home in a Boston suburb and skipped out without giving Tanden, her stunned mother and older brother any warning. Her mother, a tough but untested immigrant from Andhra Pradesh near Delhi, took control — signing up for food stamps, welfare and Section 8 housing while taking job in a local travel agency — so her kids could remain in Bedford’s top-shelf schools.
“I remember being in the lunch line, and I was the only kid using the voucher back then for food stamps or reduced lunch,” Tanden recalled. “I paid 10 cents; everyone was paying like $1.50. And I remember being at the Purity Supreme, which is our supermarket, and my mom was using the food stamps, and everyone else was paying with cash. And I asked her like, ‘Why do we have to use the funny money?’”
Her mother, she added, “is very strong, a strong-willed person… she was incredibly resilient.” (Source)