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. Wally

    I'd say her family's service to the Country and sacrifice coupled with a good education..why not?

    April 1, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. jim smith

    why not a more qualified person. Alfred E. Newman for example.

    April 1, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. RickV

    "Has diplomatic experience, and speaks Japanese" would have been good things to include in this article. Unless, of course, neither of them are true.

    April 1, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Pierce

    I guess it would be an entree by the one who is pushing her into he Kennedy family.

    Odd choice, though.

    Take away her name is she falls to 50 millionth on the list of qualified people.

    Why not to costa rica or Luxembroug? Japan is what, our biggest trading partner and in the sights of N. Korea?
    Too much too soon for this vacuous socialite.

    April 1, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. Donna

    Well, sure looks like our ambassadorships as well as access are out to the highest bidders with the Obama adminstration. Contribute a lot of money to Obama, get a diplomatic position. Contribute half a million dollars, have dinner with him 4 times a year.

    Yeah, change you can believe in.... Half a million dollars worth of change. Chicago corruption comes to DC. Isn't Democrat Blogovich serving time for selling government offices? What is different here? Nothing.

    April 1, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. conservboy99

    lets give her the dem "beloved" one a chance at office-she just might provide the "one" of many scandals that brings down obama!

    April 1, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Namepeter stangl

    Caroline would be great.

    April 1, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. Greg

    There is a whole embassy in Tokyo to crank out reports to Washington, so the US Ambassdor does not have to do much routine work. Caroline is a symbol and this is a payoff to her. I have no problem with the appointment. My guess is she is very bored with the whole rich b%$ch, upper east side, one more wine and cheese party, lifestyle. She has shown she is not good at running for office, so why not be known for the rest of her life aqs "Ambassador" like her grandfather.

    April 1, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Crow T Robot

    Caroline Kennedy um um ya know um um ya know um um um ah ah ah um ah ya know

    April 1, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. GGarcia

    What a perfect choice.

    Though she has always been active in public service, I can fully understand her not wanting to assume an elected office. If anybody has the right temperament and skills to be an ambassador, it is Caroline Kennedy.

    April 1, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. nhguy

    forget about being a kennedy – that's bad enough. this person has never held a real job in her entire life and she's going to be an ambassador to one of our largest trading partners?? strip her of her name and i'm a better candidate.

    April 1, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. edpeters101

    Sounds like a perfectly reasonable choice to me! Of course I can understand the opposition also: Some people are paranoid about having an intelligent person anywhere. Of course just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean we're not out to get you!

    April 1, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Larry L

    Those of you who question Caroline Kennedy's credentials need to look up the background of the former U.S. Ambassador to the late United Kingdom Anne Legendre Armstrong. She was also well-educated, from a very wealthy family, a dedicated public servant and very, very well-connected to the Republican Party. Her family contributed big bucks to the campaigns of Nixon, Ford, Bush and Reagan. She did a magnificent job and I can't recall anybody questioning her appointment.

    April 1, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. just sayin

    what a total joke. if she wants to see what being an ambassador in the obama adminstration is like, send her to libya or maybe egypt. somehow i doubt she'd be really interested in those, just a plush party time position.

    April 1, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Teresa Lindsey-Joiner

    I had a dream last night about Caroline and did not understand why. This is it. GOD BLESS HER. I hope she takes the job. She will be GREAT.

    April 1, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. Michelle

    How about President Kennedy?

    April 1, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Ralph

    Ah the pursuits of the idle rich...a few years at the family clubhouse at Harvard, a "well earned degree" in some liberal study. "Work" at one of the numerous family foundations where wealth is shielded from the dreaded tax man. "Service" on the board of the American Ballet Company then a few moments strong arming some of one's fellow idle rich for Obama.

    I can see how she is eminently qualified to be an Ambassador anywhere.

    April 1, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Russ

    Not so sure she is tough enough. Nice woman though.

    April 1, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. John T. Maher

    This sinecure shows that the US has lost all respect for Japan as an economic and political force. David Haselhof was probably the first choice but was in rehab so had to decline

    April 1, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. Rick in OP

    Japan is facing some difficult issues in the near term. North Korea, China and the state of the Japanese economy immediately come to mind. An ambassador to one of the major economic powers of the world should have prior diplomatic experience at a minimum. This appointment should not be treated like a guest appearance on a TV talk show.

    April 1, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. Elizabeth

    I don't have any problem with Caroline having a diplomatic role somewhere. But I wonder why they are considering her for a high-profile post such as Japan, considering she has had no diplomatic or foreign service experience anywhere. I understand the desire to use her talents, but Japan, I think, should go to someone more experienced. What about Luxembourg or one of the Scandanevian countries? Or Belgium? (Personally, I don't think this Japan posting is at all helpful for Carolijne's future career goals. I hope I don't offend anyone, but this one smacks too much of "calling in a favor.") She should turn it down and opt for a different one. I wish her luck though. I've always had a great deal of sympathy for Caroline. She has had so much tragedy in her life and I would like to see her find a place in public service if that is what she wants. But, the harsh reality is she has to start out proving herself and move on from there. People who are encouraging her to start out in a high-profile post where every possible misstep will be publicized are doing her no favors..

    April 1, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Crow T Robot

    Great comment Ralph. "Well Earned" ....too funny.

    April 1, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Russ

    Caroline Kennedy is a well intentioned person, but I don't know if she knows anything about Japan, or Japanese/American relations. I would rather have a person who has made this their life. (Moderators take off the moderation from my posts. I am an intelligent, well meaning person who has never said anything against the terms of service.)

    April 1, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Teresa Lindsey-Joiner

    I had a dream last night about Caroline and did not understand why. This is it.
    Yup. Must be.

    April 1, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC


    forget about being a kennedy – that's bad enough. this person has never held a real job in her entire life
    The left could have said something similar of Mitt Romney' managing one's investments, but it wasn't. He said himself, "I'm unemployed."

    April 1, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9