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. alvino

    If the following southerners are an example of what it takes to be a senator, then Caroline is over qualified. I speak of the foundation of the Hooverites: Saxby Chambliss, Mitch McConnell, R. Shelby, Vitters and Tom Corker.

    December 15, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. An American

    Money talks and of course the Kennedy family is owed.

    I do not dislike Caroline Kennedy but I do dislike politics. It gets worse and worse for one hand washing the other. it smells to high heaven with corruption. This is just another payback for favors. Will she do well, most likely – but that is not the point.

    December 15, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Jackson

    EVERYMAN December 15th, 2008 3:51 pm ET

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


    About 75 more IQ points than the rate for GOP Senators.

    December 15, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Taniel

    With the news that Salazar could be heading to Obama's Cabinet and that there is now a Kennedy being considered for Senate in Illinois (!), we could soon have more Kennedys in the Senate than the number of Hispanic and black Senators combined...

    December 15, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. What's in a name?

    Would they want her if her name was Caroline Friedman? They'd say she had no credentials even if they were the same as Caroline Kennedy.

    December 15, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. boered1

    I am laughing at all the PUMAs who cry on here that she has "no experiance except a famous last name".. you idiots she ahs MORE experiance than the liar hillary had, heck she even LIVED in NY!! the only reason the liar hillary got the seat was cause of bubbas name and she only used it to try to run for president when she thought she would have no real competition. Thankfully for us the liar hillary got beat and we now have an INTELLIGENT, THOUGHTFUL president and we are replacing the liar hilalry with a senator that might actually do something other than grandstand!

    December 15, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. FreeNLovIt

    I hope she gets it and if you want to challenge her and let her know YOU are BETTER, BRING it on!!! Let the catfight begin!!! So many qualified individuals, so little seats...

    December 15, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. matt

    all it takes is a last name to get a senate seat. can anyone name one thing she has done politically ever besides have a last name ?

    December 15, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. Alexander

    Still outrageous...not an elected official. No legislative experience. Caroline Kennedy may be a very well respected public figure, but the people of New York deserve someone whose claim to fame is more than her family name.

    Kirsten Gillibrand, anyone?

    December 15, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. Karen

    Did Caroline Kennedy wake up last week and decide "My last name is Kennedy and I have a God given right to be in the US Senate!" Seriously – this is a woman who has shunned the spotlight for the first 50years of her life. Now that she is suffering a midlife crisis and realizes that her tombstone will read "Daughter of JFK, Sister of JFK Jr., Niece of Ted/Bobby Kennedy" the governor of NY should appoint her to the Senate? I am a lifelong Democrat and even I find this appalling.

    December 15, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. Nola

    TO ALL THE HATERS- Carolina Kennedy is more than qualified to be a senator, in fact, she is probably more qualified than most of the individuals holding the position of senator. She at least has a legal degree – she has the ability to read and comprehend what she has read. She has been preparing for this position all of her life. She has be working in the background for the people of NY – she only took a $1. Just think she will be able to perform the position without stealing money or asking for a salary.

    December 15, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Precious Coker, NY

    Good for her!!!!

    December 15, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. Chris

    She'd be great.

    December 15, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. colbey

    Non of the senators had experience when they got there for the first time.
    Remember thats how the system works

    She's as qualified as anybody who becomes a first time Senator … it's not just her name.
    -jill american

    than why can't a truly intelligent woman like Caroline run for a Senate seat?

    The problem with all the comments like these should be apparent. She's NOT RUNNING for the seat!

    Absolutely, many first-time senators have little experience. The difference is that they RUN for the seat and are ELECTED by the people they will represent. NOT APPOINTED by ONE person.

    Either appoint someone with experience; appoint someone who's lived in upstate New York for some time; or –as they're considering doing for Obama's seat now - hold the special election NOW and let the people who will be represented make the decision! Then sure, let C.Kennedy throw her hat in the election ring.

    December 15, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |






    December 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  16. David Goldman




    December 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. Amber

    As usual, the media is now "spinning" this story as if it were the "first political saga" since the election results of November 4, 2008!!! I personally believe Caroline Kennedy is not only qualified for the position, but would carry along with her to the White House, the "voice" of her late father, John F. Kennedy! I don't see WHY the Clintons should have any bearing whatsoever in this Senate Seat, since Hillary has now made the choice to take the Secretary of State Position. And further, I feel that Governor Paterson is very capable of making an honest, integral and just decision from the list of hopefuls! It seems like no matter what political drama develops the Clintons are always at the forefront. To disallow Caroline Kennedy this position because of the Clintons would in my opinion be very disrespectful of Caroline as a person, and of the Kennedy family, who have served our Country in the Senate and other political offices for many years last past. Just one more reason for to be somewhat ambivilent as to the ability of Hillary Clinton to be "Secretary of State" without any of these "unexpecteds" putting a wedge between her and her soon to be new "boss"!

    December 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  18. Tom in Delaware

    Wow! The ultimate slap in the face to Hillary Clinton.

    First Teddy gets drunk again and endores Obama, and now Caroline's going to take her seat in the Senate.

    Party on Wayne!

    Party on Garth!

    December 15, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. a voting republican

    wow she is hotter than caribou barbie I would follow her anywhere she has my vote now if she would only marry a nascar driver or football player..

    December 15, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. Rick

    Another joke from the party of zero ethics, the democrat party.

    December 15, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  21. Trish

    Whatever, just please don't compare Michelle to Caroline's mother. That is a total insult. Jackie was the best No one can compare to her.

    December 15, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  22. Stuart

    How much is she willing to pay?

    December 15, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  23. Matt

    @ Nola, who said "She has been preparing for this position all of her life."

    WHAT?!?!?! Are you serious? Ivy League schools on daddy's name and then what...head of the Kennedy library and a couple sweetheart book deals from publishers who knew that slapping the Kennedy name and family relation on a book cover would sell them? Some dabbling in public speaking for pet causes because a Kennedy name on the speakers list helps raise money? Please.

    December 15, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  24. Matt

    Get it thru your skulls. This hurts us as Democrats. Obama ran on change. We're trying to clean up the old-boys style politics and mess in DC and yet you suddenly go totally gaga over this person? why? because she's female? because she's a Kennedy? because she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and a golden name?


    December 15, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. joe

    This is a joke. The American people get what they deserve. Bush, Clinton, Kenedy, Cuomo, Etc... Why would anyone be excited about this women. What has she ever done to become a US Senator. If she runs and wins then that is the voice of the people. However, to be appointed because she is a Kenedy is a joke. New Yorkers are a bunch of idiots. the ultimate in name dropping.

    December 15, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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