December 15th, 2008
03:01 PM ET
5 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. AJ - Maui, Hawaii

    Caroline Kennedy for Senator... are you serious. I'll bet her qualification is that she can see Washington D.C. from Hyannis port.

    I bet she gets the spot though because Kennedy's get what they want and the Governor of New York is a Obama crony.

    What better qualifications for a Democrat to hold public office than to have none.

    December 15, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Jill American

    All of you asking what her qualifications are .. why don't you check it out first before posting here. She's as qualified as anybody who becomes a first time Senator ... it's not just her name.

    And for those of you crying where's the 'change' ... I say ..
    "Kool-aid, Kool-aid ... tastes great. Kool-aid, Kool-aid .. can't wait!"

    December 15, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Maggie

    Uh, why?

    Even if she comes from a politically entrenched family, that doesn't necessarily mean that she has any qualifications for being a senator.

    December 15, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. kate

    I will vote to Caroline .. Clinton was a good senator .. what was her experience .. Caroline is obviously intelligent .. Havard/Columbia Law(please stop comparing her with Palin .. six colleges to get a journalism degree!!)

    December 15, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. James at 45

    Take away the last name, and what do you have left? A helluva lot less than the liberal bete noir, Sarah Palin.

    December 15, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Darko

    I love the responses here. Basically, her supporters are saying...

    "She's quallified to be senator because she's qualified"

    -Oh Gee. thanks. That explains it all. That's all I needed...

    The word 'qualified' is laughable and has lost all meaning in 2008.

    December 15, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. CMJ

    Love her, love her family! Yes keep the Kennedy legacy going.

    December 15, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. Paul from Phoenix

    So....People have a problem with the nepotism involved in the Bush family and politics...but not with the Kennedy family.

    I actually like Caroline, but how can we expect Washington to change if we keep sending back the kin of the past?

    December 15, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. sam

    While she has been a champion of the arts in the public schools of NYC, please note that her OWN children were too good to attend them. No double standard there. BTW isn't her last name really Schlossberg (sp) ?

    December 15, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. Larry

    I've got to admit firstly ... that I absolutely adore this woman

    Her words, her inspiration

    Probably be a great Senator as well

    December 15, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Lori

    If Palin can be vice-president but cannot cite a newspaper that she reads or thinks that seeing Russia from Alaska is foreign policy experince than why can't a truly intelligent woman like Caroline run for a Senate seat?

    I hope that she gets the seat!!! Let the Republican sore losers continue to be bitter for the next 4-8 years, no make that 12-16 years.

    Obama/Biden 08/12 !!!

    December 15, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Don, NY

    NO NO NO! This would be a total slap in the face to Hillary and the people of NY. She should be ashamed for even entertaining the idea!

    December 15, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Matt

    Sometimes integrity is all about appearances. Sorry to say, but it's going to look like a family-name Xmas gift and nothing more. Find a more appropriate candidate or damage the perception of the Democratic party and Obama's administration. Pick your poison.

    December 15, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Texas Teacher

    Excellent choice! I do believe that Kennedy is well qualified to fill the office left vacant by Clinton! :)

    December 15, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Cecilia - Chattanooga, TN

    I am so glad I lived long enough to witness the last few months of history. In some ways it eases some of the pain of the Civil Rights Movement and the deaths of John, Bobby and Martin.
    It just does not get better than this. Obama in the White House and Caroline in the Senate. And to those who are already questioning her credentials, why don't you wait and see.

    December 15, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Phil

    Good lord...Can't the Kennedy "reign" just end??? What good has any Kennedy done? The Kennedy's were one of, if not the most corrupt families of the 20th century in American politics, so now baby Caroline wants to throw her hat into the ring. It's bad enough dealing with the Clintons, now a resurgence of the Kennedy's. Gotta love American politics.

    December 15, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. ch

    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….Buckeye

    Get real Buckeye – Hillary Clinton got 18 million votes and she did NOT have to endorse or campaign for or raise money for Obama. She could have taken it all the way to the floor of the convention. And Hillary Clinton would never be just 1 of 100 senators – she is a political icon. Caroline Kennedy could NEVER compare to Hillary.

    December 15, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Sylvia

    The only person LESS qualified for office than Palin is for president is Caroline Kenedy for Senate!!!!!
    GET REAL

    December 15, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. EW

    Judging from the current makeup of the US Government, my potted plant would be qualified for any office it would choose.

    December 15, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. anonymous in Big D

    That family needs to get over itself!

    December 15, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. Joe the Troll

    I love to hear all this bashing from the party that sent Fred Grandy and Sonny Bono to Washington.

    December 15, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. Irritated in Fl

    That's all we need. Another corrupt Kennedy in our Government.

    December 15, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. PL

    Republican give it a rest. Caroline Kenndey is more qualified to be president than your current sitting president. Republicans you LOST, get over it.

    December 15, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Caroline to Paterson on her qualifications: "Hi, I'm a Kennedy, and I can see the Senate from my house!"

    Lee: "Some things are just in a person’s blood." Are you serious? Didn't we fight a revolution to get away from inherited political leadership?

    December 15, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. Dadi

    She can even be a president! She is brilliant like her father and uncles!!

    December 15, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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