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. Dave, Central Illinois

    Notice the lack of hateful remarks from the Right on this blogg? Go to the newest CNN-bait-the-Libs-blogg about Palin and read for yourself. Shows the difference in mentality.

    January 8, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. closet republican

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

    January 8, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. barbara

    Caroline's lack of experience...what about her cousin-in-law, Arnold, the governor or Callefornea. She's would be one vote in the Senate; Arnie is running down one of the biggest states in the country...and to think some buffoons wanted to change the constitution so that he could run for president...and others didn't want an American born citizen to be president because he's black.

    Last I looked, anyone can run for any elected office, experience or not. How many in the senate ran for public office the first time as a U.S. Senator.

    Give me a big, big break on the "experience" piece. Look at the mess of a president who's leaving office and he had experience of running one of the largest states in the union, and what did his "experience" get this country...a big mess. The messiah Ronald Reagan was a D-grade actor and he became governor of California and a mess of a president as our "trickle down" expert.

    January 8, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Bob

    Caroline Kennedy, just another of the american royalty. The government used to be 'FOR THE PEOPLE, OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE'. Now it seems its just for those who have and the hell with the rest of us.

    January 8, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Mike, Syracuse NY

    It seems that some people think that appointing a Kennedy respects the memory of JFK, and honors Teddy's Senate service. Just the opposite is true. Appointing someone who is unqualified based on a name dishonors that name.

    January 8, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. jrzshor

    Caroline Kennedy's lack of elected office experience "does not help her"

    Or stated more accurately

    IT DOES NOT HURT HER!

    January 8, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. Madrep

    The Kennedy's need to go away. Oh, so do the Clintons.

    January 8, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Brooklyn

    In NO WAY is this woman even remotely qualified for this seat and it would be an obvious corrupt political move on the Governors part if he was to seat her...

    Is this rocket science?

    January 8, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. jrzshor

    there are 10 to 15 good candidates

    OR

    THERE IS ONLY ONE KENNEDY!

    January 8, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. inuk of the north

    This woman is proof that she comes from the shallow end of the JFK gene pool.

    It's scary that a bunch of idealogues are supporting her for senator – makes the rest of us gag.

    January 8, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. California Gold

    It might not be such a bad thing to have an appointee without a lot of baggage, IOUs, favors and other political pay backs. Given the sorry bozo Blagojevich and his corruption and the last 8 years of governance outside the Constitution, maybe a fresh new appointee isn't a liability.

    January 8, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Matt

    She is a stuttering dolt. Is she even still thinking she has a shot? Just pack your things and go away. This is not some country club that your daddy and uncles joined and you are entitled to. Only one idiot at a time and the democrats may have Franken soon.

    January 8, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. Florence Lince

    And all the supposed people with political backgrounds have done such a fine job until now, right? And Kennedy isn't part of that group right?

    So what you are saying is that all the Blago's, the Palin's, the Guiliani are better suited to running and holding office because they have experience? Wake up. I'm sick to death of all the garbage that the so called experts keep slinging at us, you know, the real Americans who keep losing their jobs, their homes, their future.

    It is time to reject almost everyone in the House and Senate. You know, the people who got us into the economic mess we are in right now. Remember them? I say Kennedy has the grace and wisdom sorely lacking by many in government.

    And don't you want someone in office who anyone in the world would take a phone call from?

    January 8, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. PA-BALLET

    Caroline is a very private person, preferring to keep a low profile regarding the services she has provided with various charities and advocating an improved education in America. Do not mistake her shyness and lack of public speaking experience with a less than adequate intellect. Caroline is an extremely intelligent woman who genuinely cares about the Nation. I hardly see her as the kind of person who wants to ride on family legacy.

    January 8, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. PA-BALLET

    Caroline is a very private person, preferring to keep a low profile regarding the services she has provided with various charities and advocating an improved education in America. Do not mistake her shyness and lack of public speaking experience with a less than adequate intellect. Caroline is an extremely intelligent woman who genuinely cares about the Nation. I hardly see her as the kind of person who wants to ride on family legacy.

    January 8, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Lisa

    Frankly, Caroline's lack of experience does help her.

    Remind me Governor Paterson where we as a nation encourage a governement by and for the politicians?

    She is young and talented and devoted herself to helping commmunities less fourtunate than hers. Her family has a tradition of serving this country.

    She is refreshing and I welcome her contributions and spirit. She has learned in the harshest manner that poltics is not for sissies.

    Really Governor, if she has to be a politician to run for office then we may as well set the Constitution aside altogether.

    FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE.

    January 8, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Mr. Ed

    Tina Fey plays Sarah Palin on SNL, but who are they going to hire to mimic Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg? Perhaps John Kerry in drag... but I would like to submit my resume as well. I have been practicing by standing on my hind legs.

    Mr. Ed

    January 8, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Duane

    She has a much experience as our new president…..none! So of course she is qualified!

    January 8, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Len

    Marc PDX,

    Here is the big difference: Caroline Kennedy is very intelligent. The other difference is that Paterson realizes she lacks experience. Whereas, with Sarah Palin, John McCain, Karl Rove and the Republican Party thought the American public was not intelligent. I guess they miscalculated!

    President Elect Obama has a big mess to clean-up created by the Bush Administration, Reagan economics and all other right wing conservative ideas.

    January 8, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Lisa

    Frankly, Caroline's lack of experience does help her.

    Remind me Governor Paterson where we as a nation encourage a governement by and for the politicians?

    She is young and talented and devoted herself to helping commmunities less fourtunate than hers. Her family has a tradition of serving this country.

    She is refreshing and I welcome her contributions and spirit. She has learned in the harshest manner that poltics is not for sissies.

    Really Governor, if she has to be a politician to run for office then we may as well set the Constitution aside altogether.

    FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE.

    January 8, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. IhATedaRePuBlIkaNz

    Shud Up, Marc! Its OK to turn a repbublikan's life upside down and go after their teenage children.

    But Caroline Kennedy is a Democrat!!!!

    What were you thinking!!??

    Somebody needs to drive you off the chappaquiddick bridge!

    January 8, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. CO

    Did Hillary Clinton have any "elected experience" before she became NY Senator?

    January 8, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. E.White, Houston,TX

    My heavens. We had Ted Stevens in the Senate, with years of experience. We had Rick Santorum in the Senate. We have Larry Craig in the Sena te. We had Norm Coleman in the Senate. We are going to have funnyman Al Franken in the Senate.

    Maybe being an outsider, is a plus.

    January 8, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. DJ in TX

    OK – so now you need to have had "elected office" experience to be in Congress. That's baloney. You just need good judgement. Elected office experience is what many in our Congress has now. Look how much it has helped them.

    So people are hyping up "Joe the Plumber" to run for office in Ohio, but Caroline Kennedy has no experience. Give me a break. You need to know how to think, read, talk to your constituents (which most don't), and have good, sound judgement to make a yes or no decision.

    The experience factor in these types of situations is way over blown.

    January 8, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. Larry in Houston TX

    Patterson is just stalling, and waiting til Hillary gets sworn in....He may be hinting that there are other people that are good candidates..

    Bottom line is : He will select Kennedy

    January 8, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8