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. C W

    To everyone bashing Caroline Kennedy simply because of her last name – do a little research before you start typing! She's intelligent, hard-working, and knows the Constitution. Not to mention has handled being in the public eye with grace through challenges most folks, thankfully, will never have to deal with.

    She's entitled to seek public office, just like anyone else. And the good people will make their choice.

    December 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Anne E.

    Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg would be an excellent addition to the Senate. She's certainly more qualified to be a U.S. Senator than
    Sarah Palin is qualified to governor OR mayor - much less POTUS.
    Go Caroline!

    December 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Susan

    I suspect Caroline Kennedy might have a very good sense of New York City issues and needs, having lived there and involved herself in numerous charitable endeavors. However, she doesn't strike me as a valid Senate candidate for the entire State of New York. What contact would she have had with Buffalo, Syracuse, Plattsburg? with agriculture and small disadvantaged mill towns? I also don't see her as a strong negotiator, willing to go toe to toe with Washington politicians. Grace and name recognition, representative for the State of New York, no.

    December 15, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Darrell

    I think it is great that she wants to replace Sen, Clinton. The Senate needs a fresh face to follow the theme of change. She will do well in the Senate and to those of who are Anti Kennedy get a life.

    December 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. A Woman In California For Obama

    Go Caroline! You deserve it and I think you would be great at this position.

    This is to the ticker on Obama's birth certificate. I just had to comment. Where was ALL this interest and uproar when Reagan BROKE the constitution by having TWO yes TWO living wives? Had he been prevented from taking office we would not have had all these low-life's such as Giuliani (sp) wanting to become president. Having dual wives/husbands is a disgrace as a POTUS and should never be accepted. It sets a poor example. At least we know Obama's mother was a US citizen therefore making her son one as well. Case closed.

    December 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. Dave

    I bet she could drown some one just as fast as Ted , Garbage in Gabage out Liberal Family !!!

    December 15, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This needs to be Patterson's call. He needs think about who will be best for the state of NY in the Senate. He should talk to all those that have an interest and make it smaller from there.

    December 15, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. Maryland Democrat

    Forget the name for a second.

    Caroline Kennedy HAS experience of her own.
    She has spent her 30-some years of her adult career practicing law, running several non-profit organizations, having taught at Harvard in the field of politics, has extensive interactions with many in the political field. She actually has a huge advantage over many other first-time senators, because she has grown up and lived in national circles. She is a scholar and an intellectual, someone who can bring rational thought to the senate, a great compliment to the ideas that won this past election.

    She never said she should get it, she just made public she's interested. Where does it say anything about entitlement?

    As to why she doesn't run – the position is not open for an election (though I do believe a special election could be run here). It's an appointment position – when most people want a job, the first step to getting it, no matter what the job is, is to declare their interest.

    So Ms. Caroline _________, is qualified, no matter what her last name is.

    December 15, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. Gramma Faye /Idaho

    They elected Obama for change and he is filling openings with oldtimers in DC. This new broom did not sweep clean. Now Caroline thinks she wants to be a Senator. It seems like everyone is in a real rut. Might as well give it to her and go for 100 yrs of Kennedy's. To bad there aren't tests that can be given for anyone wanting to be appointed or elected. This is getting craizer everyday.

    December 15, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Andy

    Don't you have to get drunk and have some die in your car because of criminal negligence to become a good senator. Oh wait that was Ted Kennedy. Caroline will have to come up with her own stunt.

    December 15, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. Potato

    This is grossly unfair to our state, and those who have committed themselves to public service, achieved by campaigning and actually participating in the electoral progress. I am completely exhausted by these people with their inflated sense of entitlement, instilled exclusively by legacy alone. This kind of blatant and rampant cronyism (combined with shameless nepotism) has severely hindered our country and must be stopped. It would be greatly appreciated if the Kennedy family would stop this unsought meddling, and allow Governor Paterson to make his own decision without their self-serving interference.

    December 15, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. World

    Exactly what we, and the world, need, another Kennedy, another Carter, another Clinton, another Gore, another Biden and another Obama (Michelle Obama as the first woman president).

    December 15, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    A very good choice go for it Ms Caroline Kennedy

    December 15, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Marilyn

    Hello!!!! What makes this woman qualified to be anything but a society fund raiser?? For all you people who thought Palin was inexperienced, here is a perfect example of a truly inexperienced person.

    December 15, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. Dan

    She wants to be president...

    What qualifications does this woman have to be president?

    December 15, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. Mike in Ca

    The days of dominance by right wing, hateful, ignorant nuts is mercifully coming to a close.

    December 15, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. Matt, Chico, CA

    The last thing we need... just cause daddy and uncle got shot doesnt make you qualified to force your liberal agenda on the country

    December 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. roy

    Go Caroline! She offers an intelligent alternative to the 'Palin phenomenom' which seems to have people reacting to attractive candidates. Kennedy is the TOTAL sophisticated package.......she is the candidate Palin WISHES she were!!

    December 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Jim

    As much as I admire Caroline and as much as I respect the Kennedy name, I have to say I'm a bit offended. This is America, not some 3rd World nation where the rich hoi-polloi gets into office by calling the governor and saying "that's for me."

    If she wants political office, let her get down into the trenches and run for it, the way John and Ted and Robert did. That's the American way!

    December 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. barbara campbell

    Caroline Kennedy would be an ideal senator. Not only is she a well-educated attorney and familiar with politics, but she doesn't need this position to obtain money or fame; i.e., she can't be bought. Ms. Kennedy has avoided the limelight most of her life, and now wants to join the Senate to be part of the American renaissance. She understands that she'll be partnering with a new U.S. President whom she respects and trusts to lead this country in the right direction.

    December 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Ken in Dallas

    @"Caroline you ignorant sl**":

    Do you have any evidence that Ms Kennedy has a substance abuse problem, or are you just throwing out slur-words chosen at random?

    December 15, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    So she just wants it GIVEN to her, huh? Maybe she should have to actually run for the seat????
    I think the NY Gov. needs to appoint someone with a little more political savvy than Caroline. She may be a nice person but I question if she's got the toughness it takes to survive in politics these days. I hope the Gov. doesn't cave in to her Kennedy name & just give her this seat. What has she really done to prepare for a Senate seat? And donating a boatload of money to another candidate doesn't count in my book.

    December 15, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. empty vessel

    You Kennedy and Obamabots can't handle the truth or any intelligent thought.

    "Gee, NPR and the Dailyloss told me to support all that is Kennedy and Obambi and I like a mindless dolt do so."

    Palin has many of the characteristics of what we USED to WISH our politicians had, SELF MADE, WORKED her way up, has run a city a state and a business and PAID HER ENTIRE WAY THROUGH COLLEGE ON HER OWN and that is why she had issues, the dough wasn't there and NO OTHER REASON.

    You people are NOT in her league as she has actually acomplished something, BASED ON NOTHING BUT MERIT.

    I like Caroline Kennedy but seriously geniuses what has she EVER done beside accept awards for foundations in her Dad's name and went to cocktail parties?

    What business did she buildup or what city did she get funding for or what state budget did she balance?

    Palin is what we USED to like about politicians, but not to you bots that believe SNL and the NYT's are still relevent, as a few more years of Rangel, Jefferson and your beloved Illinois "Gubner", you will no longer be relevent again.

    December 15, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. jp,michigan

    Continuation of the Kennedy clan on the Hill. Is she qualified? If so, let her run like any other person. Kennedy or not she has the the right to run for office !

    December 15, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. Dave

    Ridiculous. Please give the seat to someone with the right qualifications. in other words, someone that has been governing.

    December 15, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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