January 8th, 2009
02:56 PM ET
5 years ago

Caroline Kennedy's lack of experience noted by Paterson

Caroline Kennedy has expressed interest in serving as Hillary Clinton's Senate replacement.
Caroline Kennedy has expressed interest in serving as Hillary Clinton's Senate replacement.

(CNN) – New York Gov. David Paterson says Caroline Kennedy's lack of elected office experience "does not help her" in her drive to fill the senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton.

Paterson, as New York's governor, has the sole authority to name a replacement to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat after she resigns, as expected, to serve as President-elect Obama’s secretary of state.

In an interview with the Buffalo News Thursday morning, Paterson said elective experience is one factor, but not the only one, in his decision making process. Kennedy's "lack of elected experience does not help her,” he said, “but the point is, it's the combination of experiences I'll look at in terms of all the candidates, and also how balanced the ticket would look."

Kennedy, daughter of the late president John F. Kennedy and niece of Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, is one of at least a half a dozen candidates who have publicly expressed interest in succeeding Clinton. But because of her family name, Kennedy's received the most media attention - and because she's never served or even run for public office, she's received the most scrutiny.

A majority of voters nationwide feel that Kennedy is qualified to be a U.S. senator, according to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. The survey also found that more women than men think that Kennedy is qualified to serve as a senator.

The candidate named to replace Clinton would need to run for the office in a special election in 2010 - and if they won that contest, would need to run for re-election in 2012 when Clinton's term ends. Paterson will also be on the ballot in 2010, so his Senate appointee would be running alongside the governor on the Democratic ticket.

Paterson also commented on the media's apparent fascination with Kennedy. "One thing that helps her is the tremendous attention that you all give her works to her advantage. Maybe if you didn't give her so much attention she wouldn't have it," he said.

"The notion that I have to take Caroline is not coming from me," he added. "What I would say is that, to the media, it's Caroline and the others. To me, it's there are 10 to 15 good candidates."

Paterson said he won't name a successor until Clinton steps down from her seat, which wouldn't come until the full Senate votes to confirm her. That vote is expected on January 20th, the day Obama is inaugurated as president.


Filed under: Caroline Kennedy • David Paterson
soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Really??? Big shocker there. Paterson might have a couple brain cells left after all considering the drugs he's taken.

    January 8, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. Proud American

    I think it's safe to say she has more experience than he does.

    January 8, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. Al, NY NY

    She is not qualified for the job. Drop the publicity stunt and find a real substitute. Pushing her in would only give the righties ammo for a double-standard between her and the Lipstick Fido from Alaska

    January 8, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Mike, Syracuse NY

    That God Patterson is looking at the experience factor. Name recognition isn't a reason to be appointed Senator.

    January 8, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. BB

    So Gov, what were YOUR qualifications before you "slid" into the office you hold? You weren't elected either. Rather blind of you isn't it?

    January 8, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Franky

    In my opinion, she does need to ante up a bit if she wants a shot. Gotta get ready to play this game...

    January 8, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. carlo

    Gov. Patterson, pick who you think is best. You're not going to please everyone. If Blago can pick who he wants, surely you can!

    January 8, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. canuck

    As long as they are a kennedy, i don't care! bring back camelot now!!

    January 8, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. D.Tin

    Come on.. who needs "experience" to be a first term "junior" senator??? Did any of the other now "senior" senators have "experience" when they became a senator. In fact what we need now is a candidate with little or no political experience. Paterson stop doing the song and dance and five her the job already,,,,

    January 8, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. JOHN WHITE

    TWO WORDS HILLARY CLINTON.

    January 8, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. AJ

    Not only does she lack experience as an elected official, she seems to lack experience voting for public officials! Caroline Kennedy is a self absorbed snob with an incredible sense of entitlement. Lets all hope that Gov. Patterson appoints someone more worthy.

    January 8, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. RealityKing

    What a joke!

    January 8, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. patNY

    I'm certain he's gonna pick an African American elected official from the upstate region. He's said it before – there's a dearth of Black state elected officials, and all the current statewide elected officials come from down state.

    January 8, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. J

    so suddenly the democratic party cares about experience? what a joke...

    January 8, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Bob the Observer

    Governor, how dare you?! She's a Kennedy, for crying out loud! Her very DNA gives her the right to that seat!

    January 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Rick

    She's an absolute airhead.....so she will probably rise through the democrat party ranks in rapid fashion.

    January 8, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Matt

    You'd have to be blind to miss the fact that she's got no experience.

    January 8, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. Roy

    How about Tina Fey? She has experience imitating an elected official.....that is probably the same as half the politicians out there! She is also very popular in New York these days!

    January 8, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. ga.

    she would have to be better than some of these that have had decades of experience, she will be a good and wise choice.

    January 8, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Dennis

    Hey Patterson, as someone from the real upstate NY, how about appointing someone from Syracuse or Buffalo or Rochester or Schnectady for senator? As Caroline said, "you know......"

    actually appoint someone who knows upstate?

    January 8, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    because she's never served or even run for public office, she's received the most scrutiny.

    I hope Mr. Paterson will realize that because she has never served or even run for public office, her candidacy offers us the opportunity to put back trust in goverment because of her own experiences outside of public office. Government has to have the guts to see that we need change and we need diversity to sit in office from all all backgrounds to reflect the actual realities of our diversities!

    January 8, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Governor Patterson may think that slamming Kennedy's might help him get re-elected in upstate, but he better watch out or he'll erode his support from his base in downstate. David Patterson and Barack Obama both need to learn that throwing your supporters under the proverbial bus is NOT the way to sustain long-term support from the people who actually vote for either of them.

    January 8, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. Rick in WA

    If only she had been a community organizer.

    January 8, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. malclave

    Obama's lack of experience will put him into the most powerful job in the world in less than 2 weeks.

    Caroline Kennedy should be anointed as Senate Majority Leader. It is, after all, the very essence of Change and Hope.

    January 8, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. indy 08

    Gov. Paterson, you are on borrowed time, stop playing politics with the nomination. Nominate Caroline and move on. We will soon find out in 2010 if you are qualifed to be governor of NY too, enjoy it while it lasts.

    January 8, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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