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. a southern bell

    EVERY NEW YORKER THAT HAS A CONSISTENT VOTING RECORD

    IS BETTER QUALIFIED & MORE DESERVING THAN MS KENNEDY.

    SHE SHOULD TRY VOTING. ITS OUR MINIMUM RESPONSIBILITY.

    January 8, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Peter

    That's right... she lacks the elected experience. End of story.

    Go serve as a State Legislator for 10 years or so and then come back Caroline.

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

    heck no!
    Was she at least a mayor or community organizer first OR did she give a speech in 2002?
    ridiculous she should NOT become a senator simply because of her dad.

    January 8, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. LYNETTE IN CA

    Give her the seat. I suspect she'll do very well. Hillary didn't have any elected experience either until she had elected experience. Stop it already.

    January 8, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Mia

    Caroline Kennedy does not have the experience to be a Senator, but who does first time around? Can anyone really say this controversy would be going on if the candidate for this position was her brother John? I don't apply for something if I don't feel qualified. I get tired of hearing "overqualified or underqualified." Give her a chance!!!

    January 8, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. obama-mama

    There's plenty of people that lack experience and they're getting seats. Give that woman a seat. It's only for 2 yrs. If she screws up I'm sure the voters will let her know about it.

    January 8, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Puff

    Uh, you know, uh, just uh, go uh, you know, away.....

    January 8, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. c.c.

    Once again it is all in a name.. This time it is another KENNEDY.
    My Dad drilled water wells? I couldn't dig a hole with a shovel.

    We need to stop thinking just because a person has the name of a person who once did a great job, doesn't mean they are qualified to work in the same arena.

    January 8, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Baze

    This is already boring.

    January 8, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. No Incumbents 2010

    TWO MORE WORDS: BARACK OBAMA

    January 8, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    I wish her all the luck in the world....I think she has tons of experience and she is sooooo intelligent, I think they would be lucky to have her....She has done so much in her lifetime, and because she is a quiet soul she is getting grief, she is far more experienced than a lot of , not mentioning any....Good luck Caroline, keep plugging and if they are lucky you'll get the seat........

    January 8, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. Former Republican

    I VOTED FOR PEBO & WILL AGAIN.

    I DON'T CARE WHO SHE IS. SHE DOESN'T THINK

    VOTING IS IMPORTANT. THAT SHOULD DISQUALIFY

    HER AUTOMATICALLY. SHE IS DISPLAYING A LOT

    OF ARROGANCE JUST BY ASKING TO BE CONSIDERED.

    WOULD YOU GO TO SEE A PLUMBER FOR YOUR HEAR,

    BECAUSE HIS DAD WAS A CARDIOLOGIST ? I DON'T THINK SO.

    January 8, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. Dandy Crain

    Two more words: Arnold Schwarzenegger

    January 8, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Sharon

    Good for Gov Paterson to make note of the ridiculous and erroneous speculation and commentary from the media regarding this senate seat.

    January 8, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. John in Ohio

    I'd like to have a Kennedy in the Senate after Teddy leaves.

    I'd like for that Kennedy to be elected by the people the Kennedy in question is representing.

    I'd like the governor to appoint somebody who will be the best person for the job, regardless of pedigree.

    Nothing at all against Caroline Kennedy. If she truly is the best person for that position, truly the Senator that her constituents want, then by all means, she should get the job. But I don't want to see token "woman replacing woman" any more then I want to see token "black guy replacing black guy" for appointments. A Senate seat is more then the gender or race of the person holding that seat. It is one of the most powerful positions that any man or woman can hold in this country. There are 300 million Americans. At any given time, only 100 of those Americans are Senators. That's power, and it shouldn't just be handed out thoughtlessly or by the corrupt and inept.

    January 8, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Paul Lennon

    If Ms. Kennedy is givin this seat, what kind of message does it send to our kids? Just have a bunch of money and you can become a US Senator. Even though you have never been elected to didly.

    I think Patterson is making a great point. Let her run for state senate or city council like her brother did. John John was in the process of doing it right when he died.

    January 8, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Linda from Prescott AZ

    Senator Clinton had no elective experience either, what was the governors point?

    Common sense is a very good qualifier for any job. All the elected experience in office in the senate now hasn't done all that much for us.

    January 8, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Jacque Bauer

    She gets her elequent speaking skills from Uncle Teddy, ah er ah, you know?

    January 8, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. Mike

    No experience? Why should that matter?
    She would be right at home with our new prez and most of his cabnet

    January 8, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Stacy from Leesburg VA

    Just pick someone for God's sake. What is he waiting for, a 'campaign contribution'?

    January 8, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. JJJ, CA

    She is a princess. Isn't that good enough?

    January 8, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. liz

    Even the blind guy can see this one.

    January 8, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. FAYE MOGHTADER

    SHE MAY LACK ELECTED OFFICE EXPERIENCE,SHE GREW UP
    IN A POLITICAL FAMILY ALL AROUND HER,SHE IS VERY WELL INFORMED ABOIU THE POLITICAL SYSTEM,THAT WOULD COUNT FOR OFFICE EXPERIENCE.SHE HAS ALL THE OTHER QUALIFICATION TO RUN FOR THE SEAT.
    HOPE SHE GETS IT.

    January 8, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. S Callahan

    Earlier I had blogged my strong views about pro Caroline K. ..but CNN must think it was too much.....funny to see the media doing the censoring....lol

    John, I wondered that in the past as well. She still has to be confirmed....maybe an upcoming problem? Maybe she changed her mind and doesn't want it....... we'll see

    January 8, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Dilly Everett

    That's like telling a women who has cared for five of her own children that she doesn't have experience to be a nanny because she has not been paid to care for children or a man he isn't experienced enough to be a mechanic because he didn't go to college, even though he has rebuilt engines for 30 years. Ms Kennedy has lived and breathed politics-all her life!

    January 8, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8