RFK Jr. Pushes Caroline for NY Senate Seat

8 12 2008

CAROLINE, PATTERSON STILL UNSURE

The odds of Gov. Paterson choosing Caroline Kennedy to replace soon-to-be Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the US Senate are no better than 20-1, a source close to the governor said today.

The source was responding to news that Sen. Ted Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other family members have been pushing hard for Caroline to replace Clinton.

“It looks to me like [Caroline cousin’s] Bobby Kennedy may be trying to push Caroline more than Caroline is pushing herself,” a Paterson administration source told The Post.

Paterson, who confirmed Friday that he had discussed the Senate job with Caroline, was described as “liking and respecting” the last remaining child of former President John F. Kennedy, as well as seeing her as an “enormous potential drawer” of contributions to his own planned campaign for governor in 2010.

But the governor, who has the sole authority to name a new senator, was also said to be concerned that Kennedy, whom friends call “quiet and non-assertive,” doesn’t have the personality to be an aggressive fighter in the Senate on behalf of the state’s increasingly desperate need for federal financial help.

“The bottom-line question is: Can Caroline Kennedy by the tough, hard, calculating, aggressive, articulate and, yes, obnoxious type of senator New York needs and expects?” said a second administration insider.

Among others candidates said to be more likely chosen by the governor are Attorney General Andrew Cuomo or either US Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan or Kirsten Gillibrand of Hudson, a favorite of the state’s senior senator, Charles Schumer.

Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons, once an aide to former Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and whose on-again off-again political ambitions have led him to be mentioned in recent years as a possible candidate for mayor, was also mentioned as a possible “long shot.”

Administration insiders insist that Paterson is many weeks away from making a decision, since Sen. Clinton says she won’t resign until confirmed to the new office, which can’t happen until President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in Jan. 20.

A Democratic source said Clinton would be dead-set against seeing Caroline take her seat.

“Why would she want to see that seat go to someone who essentially double-crossed her?” the source said, noting the Kennedy family’s endorsement of Obama in the primary. “It’s a nightmare scenario for her.”

Story from the NY Post.

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