December 15th, 2008
03:01 PM ET
6 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. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz

    I AM A HARD LINE DEMOCRAT !!!!!

    I AM SORRY BUT NOTHING I KNOW ABOUT MS. KENNEDY

    QUALIFIES HER FOR A SENATE SEAT. SHE HAS DEDICATED

    HERSELF TO HER PRIVACY, HER FAMILY & HER FAMILY NAME.

    SHE BRINGS NO KNOWLEDGE, NO DEDICATION & NO SERVICE.

    THERE ARE BETTER QUALIFIED & MUCH MORE DESERVING

    PEOPLE WHO HAVE SERVED NEW YORKERS FOR DECADES.

    December 15, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Ronnie Hernandez

    I don't see why people are talking about "qualifications". There is no set qualifiers to be a United States Senator except the following from the Constitution: Be at least thirty years of age, nine years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State for which he/she shall be chosen.

    So obviously, there is no say that you have to have "experience and certain qualifications to represent the people"

    I think Caroline Kennedy has sufficient experience as per having Ted Kennedy by her side, advising her after all the years he served, the Kennedy family have been serving for a long time. She most likely has more knowledge of what she would be doing than your ordinary new freshman senator from other states. I believe that if you want to help the people, represent the people, and do what is right, that would be a good politician already.

    December 15, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. Darth Vadik, CA

    Face it Republicans, you will neverget rid of Kennedys.

    It makes my heart so warm.

    December 15, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. Texas Teacher

    Kennedy is an attorney... she has grown up with the influence of the political figures in her entire family.... trust me, that means she has been involved in political discussions all of her life! She will make a wonderful Senator to fill Clinton's seat in the Senate. She has my vote! :)

    December 15, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  5. VOTED! OBAMA!!! VOTED! OBAMA!! VOTED!

    Like Caroline Kennedy but she should have got into the political arena years ago. I think there are more qualified people to fill that soon to be vacant seat.

    December 15, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. Charm

    Go Caroline!

    December 15, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. Charm

    Caroline has spent a life time surrounded by political discussion not to mention the all public service she has done. If a beauty pageant idiot like Palin can be governor, why not Caroline as a senator since she has real substance?

    December 15, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Matt

    Does she have any qualifications at all besides thinking her last name is a qualification?

    This is ridiculous to even consider someone so naive and inexperienced to be vaulted to so high of a position it would be insanity to think she should have the job.

    There are several hard working loyal to New York state senators to pick from first before even considering a done nothing daughter of a former president.

    The Govenor of New York only got his job by being next in line. Hoiw is Caroline Kennedy next in line? She has done not one thing ever for New York and has never run for office. And now she has the ego that says she should jump infront of every other elected official in New York and take one of the top spots without even a vote in her favor. Because of her last name!!?!?!? What a ego maniac.

    At least Cuomo has been elected and has served faithfully New York for years and deserves the position so much more.

    This isn't some country club Caroline where your last name and memories of your Daddy are going to get you in.

    December 15, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. gerri

    Im loving the next four years of Republican pain every time a new appointment is made and they cringe and squeal.Keep crying ,your making my day just watching your agony.

    December 15, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. yellow dog democrat

    I'm very sure that Caroline Kennedy will know what to do if she is selected to replace Hillary Clinton. I'm sure that Caroline is a "quick" learner and will do well – she certainly isn't phony nor seeking the lime-light – she is just as good as any to fill the seat until the election to fill the seat in the normal way comes up....by then NY will know what to do – far be it from me to tell NY what to do! If she is selected I wish her the best.....if not – who ever fill the position will be appointed so what is the gripe? We are just sitting in the peanut gallery – and believe me, nobody is going to ask us to do it! :)

    December 15, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. catherine

    Gov. Patterson, please have the courage and integrity to do what's right. Give it to someone who's actually QUALIFIED as opposed to a celebrity.

    Please explain to the Hyannis Port Veruca Salt that she's going to have to earn it like everyone else! This is not a monarchy and the Democratic Party does NOT belong to the Kennedys.

    To all the Obama supporters who ranted about perpetuating a Clinton "dynasty" and yet find giving a senate seat to an unqualified, untested and inexperienced Kennedy acceptable you reek of hypocrisy and double standards.

    December 15, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. Larry Houston, Texas

    If you look at her records as for the many things she has done in New York State, with all the fundraisers and all, she is more than qualified...

    Larry C
    Houston, Texas

    December 15, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  13. Michael B

    She's less qualified than Sarah Palin.

    December 15, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  14. paul (staunch Moderate)

    If there were any qualifications needed John Ensign would not be a US Senator right now. He was a Veterinarian before being elected to Congress.
    Come to think of it.... Could we use this to oust him in the next election? LOL!

    December 15, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  15. Michael B

    At least Obama was in the Illinois State legislature and Sara Palin is a Governor.

    If Caroline Kennedy wants to be a successful Senator, with her qualifications, she should do it the same way every successful Senator with her qualifications did it: from the ground-up. Start with a State position.

    If she gets the position, the Democratic party will become the silver-spooned party. And the "elitist" cred will be hard to shake.

    December 15, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. gregg

    stomp.. pause... stomp,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, wave,,, stomp... wave... look out amerika,,, u got what u voted for,,, hope your bills are paid on jan 22 2009

    December 15, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  17. JT

    How much will she pay for the seat?

    December 15, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. James

    Exactly colbey.

    This isn't an election! It's a selection.

    I find the comments trying to compare CK's experience to Hillary's experience when she RAN for the seat patently ridiculous.

    It's sad that few people know what Hillary has accomplished as First Lady of Arkansas and First Lady of the US. Read her wikipedia entry for starters. It's amazing how little credit people give her for her great public service. Instead, people are more interested in last names and celebrity status. Sad.

    If only all of Congress had the work ethic and ability of Hillary Clinton.

    I wish CK well when she EARNS it. When she runs her own campaign and wins the election. To be handed the seat based on popularity is a disservice to NY and the country.

    December 15, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. Daniel Wagle

    I think it would be better for Caroline to get in in a special election, however the governor must appoint the successor to Hillary. If elected, she is fine, but being appointed because of her name is questionable and wreaks of dynastic politics.

    December 15, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  20. Aika

    I wish her all the best, I don't blame her for wanting to be a part of a(n) administration (Obama) that, as of right now, is inspirational. It seems everyone is getting interested in their government again, for eight years we were told we didn't matter, & that the government belonged to the rich/lobbists etc., not to us. I wish her all the best.

    December 15, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. george cook

    PLEASE "OTHER KENNEDY?" She may be intelligent but aren't there other QUALIFIED people who could be Senator of NYS...Its' about time we got a GOOD one and one that is WELL QUALIFIED....for a change...We need a Senator WHO CAN GET THINGS DONE for the PEOPLE..Isn't that WHO they are supposed to represent or are they all Self Representatives ??

    George
    Rochester NY

    December 15, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. george cook

    REF DARK VADIK comment about the WONDERFUL Kennedys..Agree some of them are good and smart...but keep them out of Chapaquidick.

    December 15, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  23. george cook

    I AGREE, Caroline comes from a High Profile Name Family..but is she qualified...probably about as much as Hilary Clinton was when she moved to NYS to run for Senator as a door to the Demo Presidential Nomination but she has already been "Sacked" by Obama !!! And doesn't even know it.

    December 15, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. george cook

    IF MY LAST NAME....was KENNEDY....Could I run for the Senate Seat in NYS...why of course. WHo knows I MIGHT EVEN WIN!!!!!

    December 15, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. John

    Unfortunately for some, this senate appointment will be made on qualifications rather than popularity. Paterson might pick Fran Drescher.

    December 15, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
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