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. Elizabeth

    I am having difficulty posting here. So will try again. I have no problem with Caroline being an ambassador. But considering she has had no foreign service experience, I think Japan is too high a profile one for her. The State Department (or Obama) should consider one that has fewer opportunities for any possible missteps to be made public. Those who are encouraging this are doing her no favors. This one smacks of "calling in a favor" and will not be helpful for her long-term career goals.
    I have always had sympathy for Caroline. Despite her privileged background, she has endured a great deal of heartbreak. I would like to see her find fulfillment in a formal public service role if that is what she wants. But times are different now. The Kennedy name doesn't have the same impact as it once did. The harsh reality is she will have to prove herself like everyone else. She should turn it down and opt for a different one.

    April 1, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. schmez

    Folks, ask yourselves a question. What is the date today?

    April 1, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Donna

    Absolutely NO WAY campaign donors from ANY party should be getting ambassdorships. This is buying a government position pure and simple. This is government corruption right out in the open for all to see. We should have PROFESSIONALS in these positions, not some rich, pampered do nothing that gave a wad of daddy's money to Obama, or anybody else.

    April 1, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. just sayin

    even joe biden can't believe it... just look at the picture.

    April 1, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. In Vermont

    I think she is a good choice.

    April 1, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Eugene

    I think she will do just fine in this job. Go Caroline.

    April 1, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Meki60

    another horse face to match kerry

    April 1, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Kay Lamitous

    Cool. Maybe she could get faced and drive Biden off a bridge. Just for tradition's sake.

    April 1, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Patrick

    There was talk that she was being considered for Canada

    April 1, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. bill

    C'mon folks. Grow up. Political debts must be paid.

    Also, Caroline is not such a bad pick from the left. She is a woman, who will be seen by Americans and Japanese alike as being sympathetic to the rape issue on Okinawa. And too, despite their earlier unpleasantness during the war, the Kennedy's and the Japanese have generally appreciated one another.

    April 1, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. K from AZ

    I guess being 'pro-abortion' makes one competent for that position!

    April 1, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Crow T Robot

    Looks like Biden is smelling some bad odor....what's he look'n at ?

    April 1, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Bob

    This isn't what America is about. She didn't earn this in the least. She represent our ever increasingly entitled aristocracy.

    I think a career diplomat who has come up through the ranks deserves this far more than this elite. In other words, someone who has EARNED it.

    April 1, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. John Doe

    Smart people find a way to get the job done. Good for her to be willing to serve her country. Her family backed Obama against convential wisdom and they made the right choice. God bless the Kennedy family, they have sacrificed much much more than their fair share. Please remember that we are human beings first, family members second and political party members much further down on the list. Haters may eventually mature and evolve. Being nasty is not constructive, just relects problems and issues inside the head/heart.

    April 1, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. Rob

    I don't see why not! She graduated from Harvard and Columbia, two of the top universities in the U.S. I'm sure she'll do just fine.

    April 1, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. cjklepper

    I'd say she's a good choice for the post. One doesn't have to be experienced in foreign service to be tapped for ambassadorship. Not only is Caroline most experienced as far the Constitution of our country goes; she and her friend wrote a book on our Bill of Rights not long ago. One does not write a book out of the blues just to write a book. So many people in this country do not know the rights under our Constitution, its Amendments, and Bill of Rights. Especially now, the issue of the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution being thrown around but no one seems to know the extent and interpretation of it.

    April 1, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    Biden looks like he had an unfriendly burrito for lunch.

    April 1, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. ellid

    She's smart, gracious, well-educated, and comes from a family with tradition of public service going back to her great-grandfather. I can't see any downside to this appointment.

    April 1, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. Carl Westin

    May I say respectfully that Caroline has never seemed to exhibit any particular intellectual strength...

    April 1, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. intelligent_poster

    As if there arent enough females in political offices these days, just adding another act to the circus.

    April 1, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. digginout

    As if we have any patriots in this country. At least this woman knows what it is like to "give" for her country. Too bad her intelligence and experience are negated by the narrow minded and poorly educated individuals calling the shots. I would prefer her in a position of relative political importance to any one of the members of the Congress we currently have sitting and who are making us the laughing stock of the world. We don't have a Congress and Senate of and for the people; we have a bunch of individuals looiking to advance their own agendas. At the very least Ms. Kennedy has nothing to gain from this appointment. Perhaps we should just appoint Mr. Cantor to this position, so he can position himself to gain further acclaim and admiration for the way he has behaved in Congress – or better yet, Mr. Boehner so taht he might acquire the foreign policy experience he needs to become our next ( God Help Us All) President.

    April 1, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. VEW2012

    JLM..."people who think Jim Carrey is so correct should move to Canada",why because they hold a view that opposes your's? Guess you flunked that allowing opposing views part, and in so stating failed at making any point. What happened Tony in Maine get to close to your sore spot?

    The point is: Jim Carrey is correct, and Caroline Kennedy would make a great ambassador. That view may be different than yours, and that doesn't mean I should move anywhere.

    April 1, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. NameFrank Deery

    Can she even speak Jspanese? Another Obama blunder-linked to a long gone era full of myth and hype.

    Promote capable people within the State Dept., who, at least, can communicate in the native language.

    Camelot is fiction!

    April 1, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Rob

    I'd say she has more foreign affairs experience than Sarah Palin ever had. She is well educated with a top notch law degree and would be no stranger to the press. They are suggesting her for various reasons not mentioned in the article and it's not because she was involved with the campaigns of Obama. She will be grilled by both conservatives and democrats if she decides to take the job. This could be a great stepping stone for her to move into senatorial work.

    April 1, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. Martin

    Plum ambassador posts are always handed out to campaign supporters. They go only to posts where relations with the U.S. are good and there is always a very senior State Department #2 who sees to the day-to-day work. I worked in a U.S. embassy with a prominent appointee who had supported the in-coming president. It worked very well. There was a heavy social calendar that the ambassador took care of while the senior guy from the State Department had the embassy running at an efficient hum. These appointees are always well off financially and they spend a lot of their own money redecorating the ambassador's residence and their offices. The taxpayer really gets a good bang for their buck.

    April 1, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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