Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dame Caroline Kennedy "withdraws from consideration" for Hillary's Senate seat

It's being reported that Dame Caroline Kennedy has called New York Governor David Paterson and withdrawn from consideration for appointment to fill the Senate seat vacated today by Hillary Clinton. Supposedly, Kennedy doesn't want the appointment any more, due to the poor health of her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy. But Ted Kennedy has been very sick since the outset of the Lady of Camelot's pursuit of the high office. More likely, Dame Caroline learned that the Governor intends to appoint someone else and was given time to gracefully withdraw and avoid further embarrassment.

Only two days ago, there were reports that Kennedy had the Senate seat sewed up.

In her brief mini-campaign, Dame Caroline failed abysmally to garner public support or to convince anyone other than close friends that she had any particular qualifications for the job, as I noted here, here, here and here.

Paterson has a long list of highly qualified Democrats from which to make his choice, including Long Island Rep. Steve Israel, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, upstate Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Manhattan Rep. Carolyn Maloney. I'm still betting that it will be Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for the reasons I outlined here. We'll know in a couple of days.

UPDATE - 1/22/09 - After the initial news reports about Caroline withdrawing, for several hours, contradictory stories emerged to the effect that she had not withdrawn or was back in. Early Thursday AM, however, she issued this statement: “I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate.” The New York Times published an account pointing to some possible confusion or miscommunication among various Paterson and Kennedy aides. The New York Post reported, "Two sources said Paterson had conveyed to Kennedy on Tuesday that she wasn't likely to get picked." I suspect what happened is that Paterson told her of his decision on Tuesday and set in motion an "I-am-withdrawing" plan to allow her and her supporters to save face. Someone then leaked the story Wednesday evening, messing up the rollout.

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