Ambassador Caroline Kennedy? Maybe
April 1st, 2013
09:04 AM ET
9 years ago

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy? Maybe

(CNN) – Caroline Kennedy has been asked to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Japan and is being vetted for the post, a Democrat familiar with the discussions told CNN on Monday.

Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, was a top backer of President Barack Obama during both of his presidential campaigns and served as the co-chair of his vice presidential search committee in 2008.

She’s the only surviving member of JFK's family and has largely shunned the limelight and scrutiny associated with her famous last name. After publicly expressing interest in running for the U.S. Senate seat in New York vacated when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, she ultimately decided against making a bid, citing “personal reasons.”

She made speeches at the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions, both times recalling her famous relatives – in 2008, her speech served as a tribute to her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and in 2012 she noted that “like my father’s election in 1960, this is one of those elections where the future of our country is at stake.”

At Monday's White House press briefing, Obama's press secretary Jay Carney said he had no personnel announcements when asked about Kennedy.

After receiving degrees at Harvard and Columbia, Kennedy served in a variety of roles at New York non-profits, including the John F. Kennedy Library and the American Ballet Theatre.

The current U.S. ambassador to Japan is John Roos, who assumed the role in 2009. He was the first American ambassador to attend commemoration ceremonies for the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He also led America's embassy through the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and the ensuing nuclear aftermath.

The United States is Japan's largest economic partner as well as a military ally. The U.S. military presence on Japan's Okinawa island has remained a point of diplomatic tension between the two nations. Some of the island's residents have complained about noise from the base, in an urban area. Many others were incensed by the misconduct of U.S. troops stationed there, including the 1995 rape of 12-year-old Japanese girl by three U.S. military personnel.

Opposition to the presence of U.S. troops in Okinawa runs so deep that it contributed to the resignation of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in 2010. He had promised to move the base but later announced that the base would stay, a decision he called "heartbreaking."

Filed under: Caroline Kennedy • Japan
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    Haven't we had enough of this dynasty yet?

    "Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, was a top fundraiser for President Barack Obama during his bid for re-election."

    Ahhhhhhh... so that's it.

    April 1, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  2. nilla

    Good times never seemed so good!

    April 1, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  3. Mary

    Congratulations to her. She is a wonderful, inspirational woman who has been a great motivator and writer. I wish her the best.

    April 1, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  4. iceload9

    A good choice.

    April 1, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. James Bond

    Ahhh, not trying to hide her relationship, big difference, the truth that is

    April 1, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  6. Chris

    And Kennedy's qualifications are what exactly?

    Trust fund baby. Nothing more.

    I wish the Kennedy's would simply go away.

    April 1, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  7. Jimmy

    Boy, would this be a mistake. She hasn't held a responsibler job ever. Couldn't get elected to anything in MD–I wouldn't vet her for dogcatcher in East Kentucky! Ahh but the magic of the Kennedy Clan shines on . . . . .

    April 1, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. Sean

    Talk about being transparent CNN. This is the first time you actually stated something as it really is, Kennedy was one of his top fundraiser. That's what this President is about, who helps him not who is better suited for the job.

    April 1, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. blackhawkmom

    Do we really need an ambassador to Japan or many other countries? And, the salary? With the advent of internet, video conferencing, etc. this type of position at the salary they earn is a waste.

    April 1, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  10. Experience?

    What's her foreign policy experience? Is she able to navigate the complex politics of East Asia? Smacks of cronyism...

    April 1, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. Mandor

    If she is indeed qualified for the job, I have no objections. However, the article does not mention anything even remotely resembling qualifications... the article speaks only of political connections and repayment of political favors and fundraising.

    Japan, like Germany, has turned themselves around after WW2, and have been good friends to us for a long time. They honestly deserve a lot better for an ambassador than just someone who happened to donate money to someone's re-election campaign.

    April 1, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. PatheticCNN

    Political Kick Back for fundraising for President Barack Obama during his bid for re-election.

    April 1, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Jose Gomez

    What exactly qualifies her for this position, other than her last name?

    April 1, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  14. blackhawkmom

    Ambassadorships are a waste of our taxpayer money. It is no more than a "good ole boy" type of slap on the back and has nothing to do with need or qualifications.

    April 1, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  15. James Bond

    I dont think she is the most qualified, im sure there is a better choice

    April 1, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. spenteco

    The lil GOPers just love that fine whine. Pour yourself a double and kick back and dream about the good ole days with Shrub at the helm.

    April 1, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  17. Ramon F. Herrera

    "not who is better suited for the job."

    There are a million people qualified, and Caroline is one of them. With her legacy we show Japan how much we appreciate them.

    This is not the Olympics Games.

    ps: You are full of hatred and/or resentment.

    April 1, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  18. Edwin

    This is how people get to be ambassadors – not for Obama's administration, but or EVERY administration. She had all the necessary qualifications: she is good with people, has connections, can manage large projects (like fund raising), and comes with a fancy name.

    Anyone who thinks this is strictly a merit-based position – under any president – is an idiot. Japan wants an ambassador who is important, because that represents prestige, Kennedy has a fancy name, so she fits the need well.

    April 1, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  19. Ramon F. Herrera

    "And Kennedy's qualifications are what exactly? "

    Qualifications for being Ambassador? Not many, really.

    April 1, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  20. PJ

    She is a bright woman who was educated well, and is a class act. What a great representative.

    April 1, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  21. mchand

    The only qualification to become a top diplomat is to raise funds for Obama's election!

    And I thought it meant relevant college degree, working for foreign service, knowledge of world politics, extensive travel, country specific work, relationship building experience on an international level and ... and .... huh!!

    April 1, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. dan

    The Kennedy's have had a little trouble buying elections since Ted died so it is not surprising that it would be a lot easier to buy appointment's to a lifetime paycheck and taxpayer paid benefits.

    April 1, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  23. dean

    The only people getting jobs in this economy are Obama's fundraisers

    April 1, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  24. MrID

    Great. Another Kennedy.

    April 1, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. Hopey Changey

    Typical. No experience to do the job but hired because of her last name only.

    April 1, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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