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. mw

    IT IS TIME TO SQUELCH ALL THE NEGATIVE. WE HAD ENOUGH OF THAT FROM BUSHIES. IF YOU HAVE NOTHING POSITIVE AND UPLIFTING TO SAY--SAY NOTHING. WHO ASPIRES TO BE A HATEMONGER LIKE LIMPBOY, HANNITY, COULTER AND THAT ILK.?

    December 15, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Hillary Clinton Supporter

    While I live in NC and not NY, so it really does not effect me, I sincerely hope that Carolina Kennedy does not receive the appointment. I thought we were through with dynasties in the US. If she wants the seat, she should do exactly what Hillary did. Campaign and work for it. I do not feel that a person should be appointed just because of a last name. How is this any different that the mess in Illinois over Obama's seat? Kennedy should get a seat just because of her name? Well, Blagojevich should be able to do what he wants with Obama's seat , then. He can give it to his lawyer because he likes his name. In my mind, it is the exact same thing.

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

    Sweet Caroline...this is wonderful news!

    All the bitter Clintonistas will be have plenty of lemon in their mouths over this, I'm sure...

    Remember, Clintonistas, Obama didn't have to give Hillary a cabinet job...Hillary would have spent the next four years as Senator going to town-hall meetings in Albany and Buffalo talking about highway grants and potholes....

    December 15, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. To empty vessel

    It was your genius Republican Party that nominated the 2nd reinvention of McCain and then worshiped his choice of Palin. If you want to know why we are dealing with a scholar as a president now... look no further than your own bobbleheads on the right!

    December 15, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. obama-mama

    Empty Vessel – You are empty.

    December 15, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. FreeNLovIt

    Her credentials are #1 She's an American #2 She DESIRES to change the world to make it a better place. This is all we need to know.

    December 15, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Matt

    As a big Obama supporter and a supporter of everything he claimed to stand for, I can't think of a worse person to put in Clinton's Senate seat. She'd be getting it for no other reason than her last name. She has ZERO experience negotiating the ins and outs of the political world and the rigorous nonsense of DC politics. Nepotism is the last thing the Dems need to be showing a proclivity for and she should be told to back off as soon as possible.

    December 15, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. Rob Smith III, Richmond, VA

    She will be a wonderful addition to the Senate. I have no doubt that she has earned the qualifications for such leadership. Our country is honored to have such a family be as involved in the public sphere as the Kennedys have been for the course of the latter half of the 20th century. Their triumph over tumult certainly underscores their dedication. Caroline, in all of her noted reserve in public, is running on principal alone for this potential nomination. I hope that Governor Paterson will choose her for the job.

    December 15, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. CMG

    Go Caroline.......The Hiliary supporters will never stop whining. If they are questioning your qualifications, then I must ask why they think Hiliary is qualified for the position of Secretary of State. I must have slept through all of her foreign policy experience. I think that you are an ideal choice.

    December 15, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. yo

    I like the way bill Schneider called the new generation a regime.

    People under 25 are going to have power in the obama admin.

    December 15, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. Noel

    For all you peoplw who are saying Caroline Kennedy shouldn't get that senate seat, you people sicken me. You guys are worse than John Hannity, and his criticisms of President-elect Obama(when he isn't even PRESIDENT YET!! What if she does a good job? You guys think that she's not going to do a good job when she's not even in the seat yet5? Look, I maybe liberal but I would use this same argument to defend a republican, no matter who it is? So, I have an opinion to make all you KENNEDY haters happy. Make a special election for the senate seat, and let Caroline try to run. If she wins, or loses, then the argument of whichever winning party can be "It's a democracy."

    December 15, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Matt

    That being said, you still can't compare her to Palin (@ Kevin). Palin is the kid for whom they put the sign up on the street corner so people won't run her over when she mindlessly chases the ball into the street. kennedy is smart, well-educated and, fo rthe most part, well-informed. She's jsut not a politician and shouldn't be considered a serious candidate just because of her family name.

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

    Can someone please tell me what the qualifications are for senator. Bush had plenty of "experience" and look where it got us. Someone fresh, not corrupt, honest and intelligent= Caroline Kennedy!!

    December 15, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. Audrey

    Do we really need another Kennedy family member in the Senate?? Sen. Ted Kennedy is ENOUGH! Does Caroline think that just because she is a Kennedy that she should be in office?

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

    Also, for the experience factor, I'll tell you what a teacher once told me in a discussion. I'm paraphrasing: "It's not how much experience you have, it's what you do in those years that matters." That's exactly what cost Mccain the election.

    December 15, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I think that questioning of Caroline Kennedy's experience is so much of a double-standard. There are a number of current and past senators who just picked up one day and said "I don't like the way things are in this nation and I want to change it"-this is the meaning of American public service! I am sure that no one who is currently senator was born knowing how to be a senator and that every one of them had to learn the job. Caroline Kennedy is smart and she is savvy and I have no doubt that she would make a great senator.

    December 15, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. Jeff from Denver

    Why not? We all know Kennedys are superior to any one of us regular people. I do think that Chelsea should have been asked first though because the Clintons are superior to the rest of us as well and the seat was held by her mother.

    December 15, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. The Bush Twins

    Hey, we think we are just as qualified as she is. We should move to NY.

    December 15, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. Charlie in Maine

    There is something about the Kennedys that you right wingnuts will never understand. They are rich enough that they "could never work a day in their life" yet they choose to serve the public anyway. It is what got you mad at FDR and at the first generation of Kennedys. It is why you hate Hollywood. You imagine what you would do if you had their money and you just can't picture using it for the public good. It is sad really but hey this is America and you can think what you want. I doubt the Gov of New York will see it your way but thats whats great about this country.

    You go Caroline!!!!!!

    December 15, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. Brian Horn

    If she wants the seat why doesn't she actually run for it??? There are probably too many people to list that have done great things for the people of New York....If she is appointed it might begin to look a bit like Chicago politics!

    December 15, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Scott in Atlanta

    Welcome aboard Senator Kennedy, While there are plenty of people out here that will just love to hate you even though they haven't taken the time to know you or you stances, there are still those of us that are looking forward to your tenure.

    Please don't be disheartened by these "Haters" out here. It's probably time they feel like the normal part of the world has felt for the last eight years.

    God Bless
    Obama 08

    December 15, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. sg

    Oh goody – Another Kennedy in Washington. I'm so glad I don't live in NY anymore. Unfortunately the Dem cancer followed me to VA.

    December 15, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Maria

    The Kennedy family is the epitomy of not only politics, but more importantly of STATESMANSHIP. Let's remember that this woman was born and raised in a family that asked "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. They didn't need the money. They thrived purely to serve their country. They did it because they are good old fashioned American Statesmen and Statewomen. Bravo Caroline. It's about time you "came out".

    December 15, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. gt

    bogus pick,,,,, give me a break ,,,not qualified

    December 15, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Mike H.

    Why do members of the Kennedy family think they have some devine right to public office?

    If her name were anything but Kennedy, her possible selection would be nothing but a bad joke. She has never run for elective office and has no qualifications whatsoever.

    I wonder how many phone calls Uncle Teddy made on her behalf. This isn't quite as bad as Illinois but it still stinks to high heaven.

    December 15, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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