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article imageCaroline Kennedy Pulls Name From Senate Appointment

By Joan Firstenberg     Jan 22, 2009 in Politics
A new twist in the ongoing tale of who is going to fill Hillary Clinton's seat in the senate from New York. Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of "Camelot" withdrew from the race Wednesday night, citing 'personal reasons'.
And she lived happily ever after....just not as one of New York State's U.S. Senators. Caroline Kennedy, one of the enduring members of the Kennedy clan, "Camelot", withdrew her name from the mix Wednesday night, citing personal reasons. She made reference to her uncle Ted Kennedy's brain cancer. Or were there other reasons? Here's what the New York Post reports she said,
"I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate."
This means an enormous reshuffling of the deck of contenders will take place now for New York Governor David A. Paterson. He's the man choosing a replacement for Hillary Clinton, confirmed nearly unanimously by the Senate to be U.S. Secretary of State yesterday. It is possible that State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's star may be rising now with Kennedy out of the picture. Cuomo has polled higher than Kennedy in public opinion surveys.
Still, Kennedy seemed to be the apparent front-runner, with a parade of high-profile backers - including Mayor Mike Bloomberg and reportedly President Obama. She was also allegedly being pushed ahead by her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy. But on Tuesday, shortly after the presidential inauguration, Paterson acknowledged for the first time that he was considering Cuomo for the spot.
Paterson still says he's not yet sure who New York's new senator will be, but that he has plans to announce his decision this weekend. The press conference at which he'll name his pick is expected Saturday in Albany.
Kennedy's decision to bow out caught even some close to her by surprise, and there are conflicting versions of what transpired. Some agree that it's for "personal" reasons. Other say she decided to drop out after it became clear Paterson wasn't going to pick her for the seat.
Some Albany lawmakers are dismayed with the way Governor Paterson has handled this important appointment. Martin J. Golden, a Republican state senator from Brooklyn, says,
“It’s like a game show. There’s no reason to have hammered this out as long as he did. It’s a fiasco.”
But this was no ordinary appointment. It took on a high-stakes nature, with the political celebrity of the contenders and the intense interest they drew. Critics say it seemed to catch Mr. Paterson off balance at times throughout the nearly two months since Mrs. Clinton’s name first surfaced as a potential secretary of state to Mr. Obama.
It has not been a comfortable position for the governor, who has a relaxed approach to managing and a tendency to speak off the cuff.
Governor Paterson has conducted his selection for the senate seat like a business owner placing a want ad. He encouraged people to reach out to him, invited them in for interviews and asked candidates to fill out a lengthy questionnaire that asked things like whether they had ever been fired from a job or had employed illegal immigrants as household help
When he has tried to talk about the process, the result has been confusion. On Tuesday, he said he interviewed Byron Brown, the mayor of Buffalo, late that afternoon, when earlier in that same day he had told reporters that he had made a decision on the appointment. He even told reporters at an inaugural ball on Tuesday night that he had spoken with the actress Sharon Stone about the appointment. But he reassured his listeners, she was not up for the job.
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