The Curious Case of Caroline and Kirsten
By Ben Pershing
Torture. Detainees. Gaza. Bank bailouts. These are the topics that have consumed the first days of the Obama administration and, frankly, they're kind of depressing. So let's talk about Caroline Kennedy.
In a period that has included the ongoing Coleman-Franken fight and the Burris-Blagojevich brouhaha, the Kennedy story has still managed to distinguish itself -- if only because it's been so confusing. Just as all the experts and everyone closely following this story totally did not predict, David Paterson decided last night to pick Kirsten Gillibrand, who just started her second term in the House and is relatively unknown, to succeed Hillary Clinton in the Senate. The decision came a day after Kennedy withdrew from consideration for the position, setting off an absolutely bizarre frenzy of anonymous backbiting and contradictory reporting by the New York media.
Kennedy pulled out either because of Edward Kennedy's seizure (Ted's people are not happy with that excuse), because of "tax and housekeeper" problems, because of some other personal problem or simply because she wasn't going to be picked. And Paterson either did or did not tell Kennedy that she definitely would or definitely wouldn't be chosen. All according to people "close" to the governor; either they're not really so close or, more likely, Paterson has an awful lot of trouble making up his mind.
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