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. Anna, ATL

    I beg to differ your argument about what cost McCain the election.

    December 15, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Robin in SC

    Caroline is a lot tougher and smarter than most give her credit for being. She's chosen her positions wisely to allow her to be out of the spotlight with her children and family, but its time for her to take up the mantel now.

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

    So what's the going rate for a vacant Democratic Senate seat these day?

    December 15, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. idm

    First you can't compare Palin and Kennedy. A senate seat is our governments version of "middle management" or even "entry level", and the vice presidency is upper management. Palin is perfectly suited to be a senator, and learn while on the job, which is how many senators rise to power. Second, how can you ridicule Kennedy for putting her name in when you actually seriously considered Fran Drescher, for goodness sakes!!

    December 15, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Mesa


    Sarah Palin is not in the same league as Caroline Kennedy?

    Your so right, Sarah Palin has had to work for everything she has.

    December 15, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Maggie, NYC

    Hey all you with opinions from outside of NY – if you're not from NY, mind your own messed up states – Caroline Kennedy would do a good job just as HRC did and where did she come off running for senator of NY? Caroline has been around politics even longer than Hillary.

    December 15, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Ariana

    you complain if people have been around too long, you complain if people are brand new. i say, there are too many "oldheads" in politics...we need some new people with fresh ideas.

    December 15, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Anna, ATL

    ah, HA!
    so that is how HC got picked for SOS; to make room for Caroline.
    Kennedy payback.

    December 15, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. txkboy

    Caroline has the name. But what would qualify her to fill a US Senator seat?

    December 15, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. Chris in MI

    I like her very much, but I don't think she should be given the Senate seat just because of her family name. She's a great advocate for alot of worthly causes, but surely there must be someone else who is qualified who has come up through the ranks who deserves an opportunity as well.

    December 15, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. The American People

    What a joke this woman is, she's nothing compared to Hillary Clinton and even Sarah Palin has more experience compared to Caroline.

    Being a Kennedy does not qualify you be a senator!

    December 15, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Chipster

    Caroline Kennedy has an outstanding education and has been an active advocate for democratic principles for quite a long time. Her public service and political action are well documented. She's as qualified or more qualified than many others who have served.

    December 15, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Mark

    Thank you for supporting me over Hilary is that Xmas gift I rpomised.


    December 15, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. Ariana

    hey james,

    caroline is not a nasty, ignorant, hate filled moron like sara palin. palin can't even answer SIMPLE questions!!! and how many colleges did she attend before she finally got her degree??????

    December 15, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. jaye

    Caroline Kennedy would be incredible as senator. She has no marks against her and no secrets for the republicans to seek out and use to destroy her.
    She is an awesome, brillliant, woman.

    December 15, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. Andy

    How much is she willing to pay for it. She certainly will not get it because of her experience.

    December 15, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. Anna, ATL

    Senator fill-ins should be elected by the people. Potential candidates should file for candidacy before election results are finalized and then a quickie primary for the incumbent seat should take place.

    Gubernatorial appointments lend themselves easily to corruption as we saw last week, and I agree with other bloggers than Caroline should have to earn her keep and the public trust through a vote.
    She would have a huge advantage anyway because of her name, even vs. other Dems.

    otherwise, we are just letting our governors choose our senators for us; a potentially looooong appointment–Caroline's uncle, case in point.

    December 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. HouseDiva

    i hope she gets the seat!

    December 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Chipster

    bill from pa" "After all Hillary Clinton's only claim to fame was being married to an ex president."

    Sure, that's true if you completely ignore her exceptional education and dedication to civil rights, childrens' rights, and families since high school. Add to that her establishment of a legal aid program in Arkansas that was so impressive that Pres. Carter asked her to take it nationwide. There are few people in our government with as good a history of public service. Sour grapes won't change history.

    December 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. linda in AR

    I say appoint her. She'll be a reliable, real progressive democratic vote in the Senate that is needed.

    In two years she will have to stand for election. Then the people can judge her on her record.

    December 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. Steve

    She's never had a real job in her 51 years on the planet. But, she is liberal royalty so I guess if she wants the seat it should be hers. They are the Kennedy's and, clearly, they know better than us. God forbid we should ask for a qualified candidate. Obama was, at least, a state senator and a U.S. Senator for 10 minutes before we elected him, so, why not?

    December 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  22. dan

    I love these right wing conservatives. They have the nerve to question the qualifications of Caroline Kennedy, or Hilary Clinton. Both are highly educated, intelligent, and qualified people (do a quick Google search for the info.) But the conservatives don't like them, so they must not be qualified. Yet these same people hang on the every word of one Rush Limbaugh. What are his qualifications? College drop-out (his mother said he flunked every course that he took, including ballroom dancing). Top 40's DJ. That's his resume. What seperates him from the typical jerk who has an opinion on everything based on personal belief and not actual fact (we all know someone like that)? He managed to find enough ignorant people that agree with him to make a fortune (which I reluctantly give him credit for).

    December 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Jackson

    First off, Caroline is harvard and columbia law educated, has been involved in politics in one way or another probably her whole life. And, as an HRC supporter myself, may I say at least Caroline has resided in NY most of her life, which HRC did not.

    Now, that being said, I think we are seeing some insight into the true mastermind of Barack Obama. HRC was one of his biggest political opponents, and with her in the Senate, and him in the White House, she may not have made life easy for him. So, what does he do? He offers her a job that will mean she has to be on a short leash, and have policy dictated to her. Also, it removes a big oppositional voice from the Senate. And, the icing on the cake, one of his biggest supporters gets her seat. Absolutely, awe-inspiringly brilliant maneuvering!!!

    December 15, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Chi Town

    Why not... I say

    She's as experienced as Obama and he's the big dog... so what harm could it do...

    Go Caroline!

    December 15, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. JJ12345

    mw December 15th, 2008 3:17 pm ET


    So because Bush was president and we have listened to the Democrats moan and complain the whole time, they get in power and no one is supposed to be negative at all. Good luck zombie!

    December 15, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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