Ambassador Caroline Kennedy? Maybe
April 1st, 2013
09:04 AM ET
10 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. critical thinking

    They couldn't make her a senator, so I guess this is best they could do.

    April 1, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. georgia

    Give this lady a break! she is highly intelligent and certainly capable an being an ambassador...Talk about being tired of families?? what about the BUSH family??? and now, another Bush wants to be President?? and a grandaughter has a career on the Today show along with Chelsea Clinto..what have they ever accomplishe to be on TV???..go away Bush family..and what about the Palin family?? the unwed daughter, who had an illigetimate child, and also got on our TV shows and had a reality show of her own..WHAT did she ever do to deserve that? go away Palin for me, I'd like to see a Kennedy in our politicalo world again!!! and you've never heard of any wrongdoing done by Caroline!! no rumours, no drugs, etc..she deserves to have the opportunity...more so then these other wannabe kids of famous politicians!!

    April 1, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    So now the haters are finding something to cry about with this appointment.

    April 1, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  4. SMJ

    These posts are hysterical! You Rethugs complain about Kennedy's fundraising for the President, but you think nothing of the Koch brothers and Adelson who tried and FAILED to buy the White House for Romney. You're such bitter bigots and forgetful fools!

    April 1, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  5. theDude

    Hmmm I'm gonna win the lottery and support the next 2 candidates running for president and that should secure a cush diplomatic job that I know nothing about in a country I have only heard off...isn't it ironic how she's ambassador to the country that killed her uncle...JFKs brother was killed by the Japanese if I'm not mistaken...I know that was a different gen. But still the irony is there...

    April 1, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Observer

    Japan is one of our nation's most important relationships. The position as ambassador should go to someone with serious credentials in that part of the world. Caroline Kennedy is not such a person. She also withdrew from the NY senate race because she embarrassed herself by her inarticulate remarks and inexperience in public office. She has been good as wife and mother and advocate for various cultural causes. That is where she is most effective, not representing our nation with one of our most important allies and trade partners.

    April 1, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. Guest

    Payback for the campaign donations. Do they think we can't figure that out.

    April 1, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. respotz

    At least she doesn't have a "body count" like Uncle Ted, or a string of drug use and bimbos, like daddy. . .

    April 1, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. BostonDan

    It must be a relatively harmless position. She has struck me as a lightweight with no experience, but big fundraisers get rewarded by both parties, I suppose there is little harm she could do. Rewards like this to big fundraisers is the way the system works.

    April 1, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Libdumb

    What a loser. Another handout to those that live off the taxpayer roles. She is a total waster to mankind.

    April 1, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. yem

    She will make a great Ambassador. She is well qualified. Good luck!!!

    April 1, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Jeff Brown in Jersey

    So now the haters are finding something to cry about with this appointment.
    Jeff... typically an ambassadorship to a major ally is given to someone with a unique skill or skills for the country being dealt with. For example, Huntsman was given China and one would assume his ability to speak fluent Mandarin as a contributing factor. So what exactly is Caroline Kennedy's unique skill or skills that make her the perfect fit for Japan, a major ally? Sure, an ambassadorship is often thrown out as political payback... but to Japan???

    This whole "hater" label you folks throw at people who voice an opposing opinion to this administration really needs to stop.

    April 1, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. Michele

    Caroline Kennedy has degrees from both Harvard and Columbia and a credentialed attorney.

    April 1, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Abhijit Guha

    I don't understand why this lady has to say the election of 2012 like the election of 1960 is so very important because the future of the country is at stake. In every election the future of the country is at stake. Why should 2012 be different. In every election the voter thinks about his future and votes. 2012 is no different in that sense Ms. Kennedy.

    April 1, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I support her nomination. It's better than nominating someone like let's say, Harriet Myers to the SCOTUS.

    April 1, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. Pat Caldwell

    Spent my high school years in Japan while my Dad was assigned to the U.S. Embassy. Edwin O. Reischauer whose career embraced nearly all areas of Japanese-American relations was our ambassador. he was fluent in Japanese - his wife was Japanese and a most delightful and gracious lady. The Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies (RIJS) at Harvard University was named after him and is a fitting legacy to a man who spent his life strengthening ties between our two nations. I'm just wondering - does Carolyne Kennedy's work with the American Ballet Company cut the mustard for this position? I guess the administration thinks so. No wonder our foreign policy is in the gutter.

    April 1, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. Tony in Maine

    Caroline Kennedy is well qualified to be an ambassador of the United States. Were she being appointed by a white POTUS named Barry O'Brian, the hater would just grumble. But she's being appointed by a black American, so the dittoheads are in full spewing on cue.

    Jim Carrey was correct. An overfilled colostomy bag is an apt description of the right wing hate machine

    April 1, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Jim

    It is all about money! She has little experience and made an immediate verbal slip when she began running for the NY Senate seat. An important country like Japan should have a seasoned U. S. diplomat and not a name in the position. Oh well, that's the way it works, and I need to accept it or tough!

    April 1, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. Guest

    She flunked her senate campaign after 1 national interview. Guess she'll have to rely on an appointment.

    April 1, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. mb2010a

    I think she will be a great Ambassador to Japan and I applaud the President's choice on this one. Most Ambassadorships are nothing more than token positions anyway awarded to political contributors and have always been that way by both parties, including the Republican Presidents. I wish her all the luck in the world. I can't think of anyone better for the post...

    April 1, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Dude Love

    GREAT. I was hoping this family would just disappear after Drunken Ted died.

    April 1, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  22. JLM

    Tony in Maine – why don't you move a little further north to Canada if you thinkg Jim Carrey is so correct. Opposing views are what this country is made of, does not mean everyone who does not think like you is a hater.

    April 1, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. Chris

    Caroline is a great choice and will do the country proud.

    April 1, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  24. mb2010a

    Apparently it's going to take several years for the Republicans to get over the fact that they lost the last election...
    Caroline will be a wonderful Ambassador to Japan or anywhere else.

    April 1, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    So what exactly is Caroline Kennedy's unique skill or skills that make her the perfect fit for Japan, a major ally? Sure, an ambassadorship is often thrown out as political payback... but to Japan???

    This whole "hater" label you folks throw at people who voice an opposing opinion to this administration really needs to stop.
    I don't know. You don't know. More importantly, the haters don't know. Try reading their posts before you defend them. By defending them, you are condoning their remarks.

    April 1, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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