December 15th, 2008
03:01 PM ET
9 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. jfs Memhis, Tn

    For those of you interested and READ........
    Caroline is a LAWYER.....yes......unlike Palin who took seven years to get a LIberal Arts Undergraduate from the University of Idaho ( ie NO MATH, OR SCIENCE,OR ECONOMICS ,OR ACCOUNTING) This SMART young women not only finished her Education at "Hard Schools ", she has sucsessfully owned and managed her own businesses. Unlike many of the politicians from Southern Areas in the past 6years she has excellent credentials that will prove her to be an INTELLIGENT individual that could serve the state of New York. This country ,until recently, has missed on picking the brightest stars in the sky. NOW WE AS A COUNTRY ARE NOT ASHAMED OF THE WELL INFORMED. Go CAROLINE.

    December 15, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. al

    i wonder whtat her controversary will be, an affair? a drunk driving murder? only time will tell, looks like we can't keep the kennedys away for long

    December 15, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Free Speech for Mccain

    What a waste, shes an Art Critic who grew up a celebrity... I would rather see real people take this position.. not a liberal fantasy of Camelot.

    December 15, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. Sherrol in Canada

    @Obama-Mama 3:17 pm.............

    Haven't you heard the phrase – 'Empty vessels make the most noise'

    December 15, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Joyce

    Kennedys have a tradition of serving the nation...and have done very well at it. i think Caroline would carry on the tradition and I wish her well.

    December 15, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Judith Benfari

    It's a sad day to see Caroline Kennedy make a grab for Hillary Clinton's seat when the Kennedy clan did everything they could to disrupt Hillary's run for the the presidency. Those who know Hillary's personal/political history know that she and the Kennedy's are like oil and water. Hillary worked long and hard to win that seat and she served her constituents well. Now, here comes another Kennedy legacy kid - just say your a Kennedy and it's yours for the taking. I'm sure this is a bitter twist of irony for Hillary.

    December 15, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. To Maria

    If you really believe that the reason the Kennedys have held positions in office is because they "wanted to serve the public," you are dead wrong.

    They wanted power. They wanted fame.

    We don't need another Kennedy to make this country a better place. And the senate seat shouldn't be hers just because she wants it.

    The Kennedys are the last people on Earth who can understand and related to the average American.


    December 15, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Matt

    @ Maria

    Thank you for proving my point regarding nepotism. It's sad that in this day and age people still think a family name has anything to do with...well...anything.

    December 15, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. sunshine

    this is wonderful news, we need caring people in these positions, i hope caroline will be the next senator of new york.

    December 15, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Pat F

    Caroline has about the same qualifications as Obama – which is zero – so it will be status quo. Maybe he can teach her how to vote "present".

    December 15, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Matt

    @ NY Republican

    It sickens me to agree with you, but yes, this is not "change we can believe in." Change would be giving the seat to a qualified, experienced politician with a track-record of zealous advocacy and ethical service. Change is NOT giving someone a US Senator's seat because of their last name and, whether that is truly the case here or not, it is PRECISELY what is going to be perceived. Sometimes the integrity of the system depends entirely on perception.

    December 15, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Randy-San Antonio, TX

    NY would be fortunate to have Caroline Kennedy as a Senator or candidate for the office. She brings a lot to the party not the least of which is her ability to raise money.

    December 15, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. ran

    She would be a great Senator. Hopefully the Gov. of NY will appoint her.

    December 15, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. rachel

    Uggh not really someone I want to see as a senator, if Pattersn caves into the kennedy's I hope she gets voted out in 2010

    December 15, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Lauren

    Politics at its best.

    Here is a lady who had spent most of her adult life, trying to stay out of politics. But now, out of the blue, here she comes wanting to be another Obama supporter.
    She will get the job, why? Simple, she has the name. Which is crap.

    She has avoided the scene, nowt she wants the job and bang, you know she will get it. What does she stand for? What does she believe, ther than the is a Kennedy and is entitled?
    Camelot is nothing anymore, it has no bearing.

    Or MAYBE, just maybe this woman is no dummy. And she will get the seat, then step right into the presidental fray in 4 or 8 years? Hell, Obama did it. She can to, and she has the name to do it. And the money.

    This is why you should have to meet a certain criteria to be able to hold a congressional or senate seat. Many said Plain was not qualified, Ok, lets grant that for the sake of debate. Caroline has not even been a local town commisioner. She has NO politcal experiance other than her genes. She has never held any prublic office of any type. So what makes her qualified?????

    December 15, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. earle

    She is a horse faced, no talent, hack. If she is the best New York has to offer, then no wonder this country is sinking.

    December 15, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. Don't tread on me

    Caroline represent

    December 15, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Matt

    @ California Gold

    I know 100+ people, including myself, who are "intelligent, responsible and well-educated and have the desire to serve in the Senate" (I mean, who wouldn't if you could get the job because of your last name?). So does that mean we can all be Senators too please? Or does it require a "Kennedy" after our name?

    December 15, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Leslie

    I am shocked how many people can talk about Caroline Kennedy like they personally know her and that she is a great leader. Unless you are a socialite on the Upper East Side who has worked with her on some fundraiser for whatever cause du jour, I seriously doubt that you could make a statement like "She is a Great Leader." Why? Because she has made it a point to stay out of the public eye her whole life. Now, she expects to just snap her fingers and be deemed the heir apparent to a major public office. Excuse me, but I am one liberal democrat that is disgusted. There are many more qualified public servants who have worked hard on behalf of the American people and have done so without the "Kennedy" last name. I for one hope that Governor Paterson goes for one of these tested public servants – perhaps like another Caroline, Caroline Maloney.

    December 15, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Julie

    Seriously Democrats, you are so full of double standards...

    When you wanted Obama to win the primary, you said experience didn't matter.

    When you wanted Obama to win the Presidential election, you said experience did matter.

    Now that you want Kennedy to be Senator, and experience all of a sudden doesn't matter anymore.

    While you may not have agreed with Palin's policies, she still was a more experienced candidate for VP than Kennedy is for a Senator.

    Stop being naive. Just because someone agrees with you on policy doesn't mean they're ABLE to do anything about it. Experience matters.

    December 15, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Ken in Dallas

    What does it take to be qualified for the Senate? Should every Senator cling dogmatically to your personal beliefs?

    Caroline Kennedy seems to have some positives to offer, such as being a Constitutional scholar, generally well-educated, well-funded, well-networked.

    Her negatives seem to be that she's a Kennedy, a Constitutional scholar, well-educated, well-funded, and well-networked.

    Hmmmm, how to decide?

    December 15, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. Phil

    Bill-Kennedy has a Juris Doctorate from Columbia and Clinton has a Juris Doctorate from Yale, that's WAY more qualified than any of the knuckleheads the Republicans have had run for office (McCain graduated 894 out of 899 for his BACHELOR'S degree!!!).

    December 15, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. susan

    I am sickened by politics and the culture of Washington. What makes anyone think they can get a job based on their name alone. For us regular folks we have to "earn" it. We do not have the priviledge to just get a position by cake walkng into it. I suggest Caroline Kennedy be scrutinized for her quallifications just like Hillary Clinton was? Touche! is anyone going to say that their posiions are different? But wait. Bambi will try and help Caroline Kennedy get the position. I hope Andrew Cuomo gets the position and the Governor has the courgae to do the right thing and not just appoint "the annointed one" Caroline Kennedy. By the way, come to think of it, why is JFK considered one of America's greatest Presidents?

    December 15, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. Don't tread on me

    Caroline represents what's WRONG with BOTH political PARTIES:

    the supposed wisdom endowed by the legacy of a name!

    December 15, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. Matt

    So, are these questions on the application?

    "Please indicate whether anyone in your family has served in the House of Representatives and/or the US Senate?"

    "If so, is your family rich?"

    "Please list all the Congressmen and other government officials with whom you have hob-nobbed as a result of the above"

    "Did yo ugo to Ivy League schools because yo are a legacy?"


    December 15, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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