December 15th, 2008
03:01 PM ET
10 years ago

Kennedy to seek Clinton's seat

Kennedy is interested in Kennedy's Senate seat.

Kennedy is interested in Kennedy's Senate seat.

(CNN) - Caroline Kennedy, the 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy, has made it clear to high-level Democrats, including New York Gov. David Paterson, that she wants to be the next senator from New York, a source close to Kennedy has told CNN's John King.

Two other sources confirm her interest in filling the seat now held by Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton.   One source is a senior Democratic operative.

Kennedy's interest in the seat could mean the continuation of a family legacy in the Senate that began 56 years ago with the election of her father as the then-junior senator from Massachusetts.

Her uncle Ted has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 1963. Her uncle Robert served as New York's junior senator from 1965 until he was assassinated in 1968.

"Remember, this (Clinton's) seat in the Senate was once held by Robert Kennedy," CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider said. "Her other uncle, Ted Kennedy, is ill right now. If Paterson appoints Caroline Kennedy to the Senate, it means there could be a Kennedy staying in the Senate for quite a long time."

Before this year, Kennedy generally limited her forays into the public sphere to non-partisan activity, penning books on civil liberties and serving as the de facto guardian of her father's legacy.

But in January, she backed a political candidate for the first time, announcing her endorsement of Obama during the Democratic primary season with an op-ed in the New York Times that drew days of the kind of media attention she has spent her life avoiding.

"I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them," she wrote. "But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president - not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans."

"Apparently she has acquired a taste for politics," Schneider noted. "She wants to be part of this new regime in America, clearly playing a key role in the Senate if she gets that appointment."

Full story

- CNN's John King and Kate Bolduan, and Mark Preston contributed
to this report.

Filed under: Caroline Kennedy
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    Some things are just in a person’s blood. Though she has stayed out of the lime light in years past, it doesn't mean she will be unable to fulfill the roll of Senator. Caroline is a very smart woman that knows how to move through difficult waters. Do people honestly think Caroline would even consider the idea of being Senator if 'she' wasn't ready for the roll? People must have not learned much about underestimating people that don’t seem like they have a chance at getting it done.

    Caroline has done great things for the New York education system and has fought for causes that the people of her community care deeply about. Let's not forget she is a lawyer and has written several books, I believe one being about the constitution. And not to mention she will be able to hold her seat, when it is time for re-election; great networking system and access to mountains of funds. Not to mention, she would have the ear of the Obama Administration.

    Caroline...excuse me; Sen. Caroline Kennedy– that's sweet.

    December 15, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Matthew

    No to Caroline Kennedy!

    December 15, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. Soccer Nana

    You go girl!

    December 15, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. James

    Looks like Princess Caroline will get what she wants. Please explain to me how Democrats can reject Hillary Clinton because they didn't want anymore "dynasty politics" and ridicule Sarah Palin over her inexperience and still be excited over Caroline KENNEDY, who has ZERO public experience, getting a Senate seat that she doesn't deserve.

    It's yet another slap on Hillary Clinton's face by giving a seat to a person who did not support her in the election.

    December 15, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Rob Martin

    What are her qualifications besides being ultra rich?

    December 15, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I like Caroline Kennedy and I respect her. She has been in the public light all of her life and I think she is sufficiently qualified to fill the seat of Sen. Clinton. I support her bid and I think that Gov. Patterson should strongly consider Caroline Kennedy.

    December 15, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |

    Who wants another Kennedy in our government!
    Who the hell do you think you are.

    December 15, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Brian

    Celebrity vs. Substance...that's all I have to say about the new Democratic Party.

    December 15, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Kevin in Ohio

    For all you Palin-haters out there.... now THIS is an inexperienced person.

    December 15, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. heartlight3

    I think Caroline Kennedy would make a good Senator. I've heard a lot of questions about her qualifications, but she certainly is as qualified as many who run for Senator, maybe even more qualified, by her education and experience. For those who complain about dynasties and such, perhaps so many of the Kennedys have been members of congress for so long because they are good at it.

    December 15, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. empty vessel

    Beats the hell out of real work, oh wait a minute, these are the Kennedy's and NOT ONE OF THEM HAVE EVER WORKED DAY IN THEIR LIVES.

    Those good folks of NY who have been supporting NY and being GREAT politicians stepped aside when Hillary was "annointed" to her Senate seat because swell, she was "married" to Bill and NOW the good hard working folks are now going to be asked to AGAIN step aside as she is a "Kennedy" with NO experience at all.

    Come to think of it, 52 percent of you geniuses just elected a President based on NOTHING but teleprompted words, why uh, uh, uh, not have a Senator "by name only".

    The Illinois Governor, Chuck Rangel and Cold cash Jefferson were just the beginning.

    Keep up the good work.

    December 15, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. Chris

    What are her credentials, sure she's a Kennedy and has helped on some campaigns, but does she actually KNOW how to be a senator?

    December 15, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. HELEN

    I pray she get the seat. A+ woman

    December 15, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. MD

    New Yorkers are totally ignorant if this is what they accept. I had always thought that New Yorkers were more sophisticated than this. Apparently, they may just be at the cultural level of American Idol.

    December 15, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. Baze

    what are her qualifications other than being a kennedy?

    December 15, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Noel

    I want seeing more Kennedies in D.C.(maybe the White House???) My dad and I agree on that. If Caroline wants this senate seat it should be hers. If she wants to be a representative of what she says "a new generation of Americans" then this is the perfect way to do it.

    December 15, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. mw


    December 15, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Malcom

    Rob, to answer your question:

    She's a liberal just like Hillary. So she will fit into there without missing a beat.

    December 15, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. NY republican

    Hey – at least she lives in the state!! Seriously, Caroline welcome. I hope you get the nod!!!!!!!!!!!! You will be a great Senator as was your Dad and your 2 Uncles, it's in the genes 🙂 Please remember, there is more to NY state west of the Hudson.

    December 15, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    Let the catfght or dogfight begins, but I'm sure she'll get it. Look, folks, if W qualfies to be Prez, shequalifies to be anything she wants.

    December 15, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. obama-mama

    Welcome Caroline. Wish you a lot of luck.

    December 15, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Ian Minneapolis, MN

    I'm sorry, I'm sure she is a very nice woman, and god bless her father and all, but is she going to get that seat, if she does that is, only because of her last name? Being a Senator for one of the most highly-populated states in the country isn't a cake walk.

    December 15, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    Rep. Gary Ackerman, a Queens Democrat, said last week that he didn’t know what Ms. Kennedy’s qualifications were, “except that she has name recognition — but so does J. Lo.” I think this is ridiculous. Comparing Kennedy to J.Lo just shows how remarkably ignorant Rep. Ackerman is!!! Caroline Kennedy is qualifed to be senator and should fill the seat.

    December 15, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. FreeNLovIt

    Right now, if you can think for yourself and stand up for what is right, you're IN.

    December 15, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. lindsey

    Wow. I wish I could have a legendary last name built by my relatives, then avoid the public eye my entire life just to decide, well, I think I want to be a Senator today.
    Does she even have ANY experience beyond organizing fundraisers to save spotted owls? I guess the success of Obama proved mere name recognition with zero experience is enough to hold office as a Democrat.

    December 15, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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