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. Brad - California

    Another Kennedy? I thought Americans were just tired and fed up with fabled royal political dynasties by now.

    January 8, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. THE OLD TIMER

    dont need another Kennedy in the whitehouse

    January 8, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. KJL

    David Paterson is nobody's fool. He has a responsibilty to New York, not to any of the potential senators, and he will make a wise choice.

    January 8, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Fred in TX

    TWO WORDS: SARAH PALIN

    Let's stop handling the Camelot citizens with kid gloves and give them the thorough vetting Palin got.

    January 8, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Rich

    Lack of experience? She has about the same qualifications for senator as Obama did for President, probably MORE.

    January 8, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. melissa r.

    She's a nice lady and she isn't in it for the money or prestige, so what's the hold up of selecting her?

    January 8, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Robin

    You know...I have a good education...you know...

    January 8, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. john N

    Funny how Obama talks about entitlement in today's political environment. She should be the poster child of this: she has no experience at all in an elected office, and because of her name (and a relative in high places) – she can throw her name in to get an unelected governor seat.

    January 8, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Tony

    Why does CNN conduct a national poll on the qualifications of an appointee for a New York state Senate seat? It's the opinion of New Yorkers that counts here, not what the rest of the country thinks.

    January 8, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. EVERYMAN

    Lack of experience os all the rage now, just ask Barak Obama.

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

    brian, you are a complete bonehead,

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

    Come on, Andrew Cuomo is the best choice by far to be appointed senator of NY. Carolyn Maloney is not bad either. But CKennedy IS NOT ready to be Senator u know...

    January 8, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. stephen

    No, really? And I thought J. Kennedy was the most articulate, most experienced candidate available to replace Hillary Clinton. My mistake.

    January 8, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. William, from Cali!

    If she doesn't get it...it will surprise me and a whole lot of "other people"! Its a done democRATic D.E.A.L.!

    January 8, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Lilly

    Paterson, have you read her documents?? Really??

    January 8, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Lilly

    Paterson, have you read her documents?? Really??

    January 8, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Sabrina

    Caroline Kennedy is not experiencd to be a senator-- to say that she can raise a lot of money for the dems and that is good for the dems, is not a reason to pick her. It seems to me it is not much different the IL Gov. is being accused of, only she can raise a lot of money for the whole party, so give it to her-– NOT.

    January 8, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. letitbenews

    come on...has anyone actually looked at our Senate? One more moron couldn't hurt that much!! Besides, she's just a small lady, will she actually take up a whole seat?

    January 8, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Mara

    For heavens sake..the people that whine about this issue really, really, really NEED A LIFE.

    January 8, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Newport News, VA

    @Marc PDX

    You will have to fall down the stupid tree and hit every branch to be equivically as dumb as Sarah Palin. And in case you missed the election, you can call Barack, Mr. President.

    January 8, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. closet republican

    yeah, I'm not really feeling the Caroline Kennedy move. Hopefully someone else will get picked....

    January 8, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Matt

    Gotta love how those other candidates' names are listed in the article...you know, seeing as how they're apparently getting EQUAL consideration from Paterson. It's truly heartwarming to see the media reporting a full story with all the facts and no slant or spin...can already tell we're making progress in 2009.

    January 8, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Good for Him

    I sensed that Paterson strongly dislikes the obnoxious campaigning for Caroline Kennedy, as if she's entitled to a U.S. Senate seat because of her name.

    I sense that when the time comes, he'll do the right thing and appoint a person who has more than zero years of experience making law.

    January 8, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Good for Him

    I sensed that Paterson strongly dislikes the obnoxious campaigning for Caroline Kennedy, as if she's entitled to a U.S. Senate seat because of her name.

    I sense that when the time comes, he'll do the right thing and appoint a person who has more than zero years of experience making law.

    January 8, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Matt

    Gotta love how those other candidates' names are listed in the article...you know, seeing as how they're apparently getting EQUAL consideration from Paterson. It's truly heartwarming to see the media reporting a full story with all the facts and no slant or spin...can already tell we're making progress in 2009.

    January 8, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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