January 8th, 2009
02:56 PM ET
6 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. dr.mimi de la cruz

    WHATS LACK OF EXPERIENCE COMPARED

    TO MULTIPLE TIMES, LACK OF VOTING ??

    THAT TO ME, IS A CLEAR INDICATION OF AN INDIVIDUAL

    WHO DOESN'T JUST DOESN'T CARE & WE'VE HAD PLENTY

    OF THOSE IN THE PAST. WE KNOW HOW THESE STORIES END.

    WE ARE JUST FINISHING AN 8 YEAR LONG DISASTER.

    DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN, WE NEED & DEMAND DEDICATED

    COMMITTED PEOPLE IN OUR PUBLIC OFFICES. SHE IS NEITHER.

    January 8, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. JS007

    Personally I think the governor should pick someone truly amazing to fill this seat. As much as I like Caroline I don't think this should turn into a popularity contest. Having said this, if we could tolerate guys like Larry Craig or Ted Stevens in the Senate then I don't see why so many people are complaining about her. Caroline at least seems like an intelligent, honest, good hearted person, and frankly, the Senate needs more of that. If anything, her lack of experience (in lying, cheating, divisive political games, earmarking) is probably a good thing.

    January 8, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Soldier and Former Republican

    I grew up in NY and it saddens me to see how close someone like Kennedy is to being a senator. Without her last name she is nothing. Had she built up her last name herself, rather than relying on her father and uncle's to build the name for her, I may feel differently. The only reason she is even in the running is because she is a Kennedy. The only reasons we know the name Kennedy is because of John, Bobby, and Ted, not because of Caroline! Go build a name for yourself on your own merit, then look into running for office, not just looking for a cheap quick handout.

    January 8, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Mari

    Although I admire the Kennedy family for their service to our Nation. Caroline Kennedy needs to start at the bottom and work her way up.

    She is a wonderful person, intelligent etc., but she lacks real-life-experience.

    January 8, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  5. dibick99

    there is no question that caroline has less experience than even sarah. but she still is a heckuva lot smarter than sarah. a harvard graduate and an attorney with a background in constitutional law (which unfortunately she never used) . perhaps the seat should go to someone with a little more administrative experience – someone like andrew cuomo. at least that will take him off paterson's back when the primaries for governor are held in a couple of years.

    January 8, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. Marc PDX

    Caroline Kennedy is the Sarah Palin of the Democratic party (shhh! And so is Barack!)

    January 8, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    JOHN F. KENNEDY NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN.

    January 8, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Laverne

    This may be true, but the so-called experienced that everybody wants to taunt around in Washington has not necessarily served well in the senate. It seems to be an old white man's club where they sit around and get much of nothing done all day. Some times experience can hinder because people have tendency to think they know it all where as sometimes little experience, you get a hard working, ambious, willing to learn person and they give you all they got.

    January 8, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Matt

    And you know why the media doesn't talk about those other candidates? They're too stupid and lazy to have gone and found out who they are.

    January 8, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. Caroline Kennedy for NYS Senate

    Patterson knows that he has NO chance in 2010 to win in a special election shoud Kennedy be selected now.

    January 8, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. OBAMA 4 President

    We want Caroline. She has as much experience as Hillary when she ran for senate, well almost. Besides she headed Baracks VP selection comittee and we saw a sample of her work and style in politics then.

    She is competent, sound minded and low key, I like that about her vs some loud mouths from NY who are coveting this senate seat.

    Governor Patterson, please select Caroline. Thank you.

    January 8, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. TCM

    YEAH...but she's got the Kennedy name? Doesn't that account for something? I mean thousands of blacks voted for Obama because he was black....is skill, knowledge or experience a requirement anymore? I guess not! Give her the job, in fact, let in all the inexperienced lib dems...let them play, and in four yrs we'll clean house, if the country's still one country and there hasn't been a revolt.

    January 8, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. NEW YORKER

    IF MS.KENNEDY DOESN'T THINK ENOUGH OF OUR DEMOCRACY

    TO MERELY GET UP & VOTE, SHE CAN CONTINUE TO STAY HOME.

    January 8, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Benn

    Patterson is playing this for all the publicity he can get. He will step in line with the party and put Caroline in. It's a shame.

    January 8, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. Caroline Kennedy for NYS Senate

    Hate to borrow a slogan form the McCain campaign, but Paterson should look at "New York first" instead of hisown political ambitions. It's not like he has been the most stellar of governors- although if choices are mediocre enough, I might vote for him should he choose to extend his term.

    January 8, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Caroline Kennedy

    Well I think that um...um....like OK....um..Ok...my father um.. was like um..popular and um...that makes me um...like qualified.

    January 8, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. David Newport, OR

    She does not have the resume. But that doesn't mean she she would be a poor senator. Let's see...how does it work? If you are a Republican, whatever the Democrats do...fight it. If you are a Democrat, whatever your party does, support it. How difficult is it? Nothing but following peer pressure. Now if NY wanted a real Senator that had their best interests at heart...well then...that would require someone with backbone willing to get dirty to achieve victories for their state.

    January 8, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. JA/TN

    what has experience netted America over the last eight years, nothing but, two wars with no definitive end,tanked housing market, failed banking systems, record unemployment, unstable energy markets,come on governor Paterson, it is about sound judgement also, we have veterans on both sides of the isle, look at the state of things

    January 8, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Hm

    Hillary Clinton wasn't elected by the people as "First Lady" before becoming NY Senator. As long as Caroline doesn't say, "I can see New York from my house," I'm sure she's OK!! hahah

    January 8, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Ommy

    Of course Caroline has no experience, but she is a Kennedy. Bow down to her and let the princess take her hereditary position in the House of Lords.

    January 8, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Enforcer

    If there is smoke, there is a fire........

    January 8, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Terry

    No,no, no! No more Kennedys please! As a New Yorker, we need someone who has the experience to run the state and meet the needs of the city. I'm tired of the excuses justifying this lady as someone we need. This is not an empire! Get me someone who is worthy to fight with experience not a name!

    January 8, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. Sophia in Canada

    The fact that people have scrutinized this possible appointment bodes well for the judgement of the American people. However, her family connections should not exclude her.She cannot change who she is.
    However, I would much rather see someone in office with integrity, honesty and obviously wisdom and intelligence. She loves her country and wants to serve for that reason and not for long held political aspirations or greed.
    With all the crooks we have put in power, with no character – from cheaters and adulterers, someonepossibly trying to sell a Senate seat or other illegal involvements.
    Caroline Kennedy CAN do the job and the has a heart for America and not for herself.
    We need more public servants like her.

    January 8, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. Dee, Huntsville, Al.

    Mrs. Clinton also lack experience, 1st. Lady also a lawyer, you get experience from ojt. Kennedy (Caroline) will be a excellent replacement, Harvard and a Kennedy, would help New York.

    January 8, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. OBAMA GIRL

    She'll win.

    January 8, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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