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Reid Urged Paterson To Pick Kennedy

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) urged New York Gov. David Paterson to appoint Caroline Kennedy to the Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to a Democratic strategist familiar with Reid's thinking.

Reid and Paterson spoke by phone last week, according to the source. The call was not prompted by Kennedy or anyone in her inner circle but rather was based on Reid's belief in her qualifications to serve and her ability to run for and win the seat in a 2010 special election.

The endorsement of Reid had not previously been known and carried significant weight as Paterson weighs his choices. While the decision on who to appoint remains Paterson's decision alone, the voice of Reid is a powerful one that Paterson will not take lightly.

In the 24 hours since she made her interest known, Kennedy has picked up the endorsement of Rep. Louise Slaughter as well as the New York Post.

During a taping of "Face to Face", Fix friend Jon Ralston's public affairs television show, Reid said a Kennedy appointment would be "tremendous", adding: "We have a lot of stars from New York. Bobby Kennedy. Hillary Clinton. I think Caroline Kennedy would be perfect."

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 16, 2008; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Republicans Revolt on RNC's Obama-Blago Strategy


Although many people are complaining that Caroline Kennedy may be appointed because of her name, I'm concerned that she may NOT be appointed because she's a Kennedy, despite her many qualifications.

I suspect that many of her critics are actually Republicans fearing Caroline's potential strength in the 2016 presidential contest.

Posted by: bamccampbell | December 18, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Mrs. Schlossberg's sole "qualification" is that she is a wealthy socialite and heiress -- a dubious qualification that she shares with Paris Hilton, who is a thousand times hotter.

Mrs. Schlossberg has the same right as any citizen to stand for election. But simply to be HANDED a Senate appointment by virtue of heredity and nepotism? IT IS AN OUTRAGE!

Posted by: zjr78xva | December 17, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

"You can choose your friends, not your relatives" also applies to Caroline Kennedy. Don't penalize her for her family background.
But you have to consider the idea that she has the vaguest concept about the lives and issues of 99.9% of Americans very laughable. "Senator" should not be an entry-level position for anyone.

Posted by: MediaMurphy | December 17, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Completely off topic question, Chris:

While watching the HBO replay of the De La Hoya-Pacquiao fight the other night, I clearly saw Harry Reid at ringside (he happened to be on the side opposite that of the "stationary" main camera that celebs seem to favor when attending such megafights). What wasn't quite as clear was the ID of the guy sitting to his immediate right (the viewers' left): it looked a lot like Chris Matthews, but there was never a shot that made it certain.

Do you know if Matthews was at the fight with Reid? Reid's attendance makes some sense, given that he used to be a boxer and the fight was in Nevada. If Matthews was there WITH Reid, does that lend any credence to the rumors that he's mulling a run for the Senate from Penn.?

Just wondering....

Posted by: pcpatterson | December 17, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

If you believe that Reid did this on his own because of Kennedy's qualifications I have a Brooklyn Bridge to sell you.

And if he thinks she is the most qualified Senator that you could get from NY then the Senate needs a new leader.

Caroline Kennedy should really be ashamed of herself for all this.

Posted by: peterdc | December 17, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

37thandORulesForever, are you also 37andOrules and 37thO and 37thandOstreet and DorchesterandCongress and so on. 37, isn't this your 15th troll name change? What gives, 37?

37, to the substance of your last rant, O-Nation investigated itself because O wanted to get to the bottom of whether his staff had inappropriate contacts with Blags. He did just that and an internal investigative report was generated. The prosecutor asked O not to release that report. O respected that request aand complied. Why is it so hard for you and that fool at O's last conference to understand this? The Blags matter is an ongoing criminal matter and it is inappropriate for O or Rahm to comment on it.

Now that the sensationalism of the Blags story has died down, legal articles are now being written about whether Blags, who was certainly guilty of criminal boorishness and bad manners actually broke any law in this case, and whether garden-variety politicking is being criminalized here.

BTW, Time Magazine just named BHO as man of the year.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 17, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

rhino2 asks
"I much different is it when Harry Reid asks David Paterson to nominate Caroline Kennedy, than having Blagojevich ask for something in exchange for nominations to the Senate?"

First, it depends on whether Reid offerred something to Paterson, which we don't know. Second, it depends on what was offerred. The Blogojevich indictment addresses the issue of personal enrichment, through either Blogo's wife (appointment to boards), or Blogo himself (appointment to SEIU job in 3-way deal). If Reid said to Paterson "Hey, I got a buddy who runs a lobbying outfit on K street that could use a man of your talents - he pays really well; you put Carrie in the Senate & I'll put you on K street," then Harry's in deep doo doo. But if Harry offers something like "remember that request for Fed dollars for the NYC water project - we can make that happen this year, but I need you to appt Carrie to HRC's seat," there's not a personal enrichment deal, so neither Reid nor Paterson would be in a bribery deal. Note that's all speculative & clearly there's some rather large gray areas in which pols operate. It should also be noted that all of the above is speculative.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 17, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

harry reid can take whatever opinion he wants; but he needs to keep the hell out of ny state politics. considering his abysmal record as senate majority leader, any advice he offers should be ignored.

Posted by: mycomment | December 17, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I much different is it when Harry Reid asks David Paterson to nominate Caroline Kennedy, than having Blagojevich ask for something in exchange for nominations to the Senate? When Hillary and Obama met near the end of the primary campaign, do you think they may have talked about quid pro quo for her to end her campaign? It's influence peddling or political spoils. It's all repugnant...and the Press loves the crude, arrogance of Blagojevich, but is really any differnt than the above?

Posted by: rhino2 | December 17, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I would take Harry Reid's advice ... and do the exact oppsite. His track record isn't so great lately.

Posted by: PSURoss | December 17, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Swell. Another 'I am entitled Kennedy' in the senate. Pass me the barf bag please.

Posted by: segeny | December 17, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Whoever Patterson chooses, we should expect the media to do their job and properly vet this person. OH, I forgot this person will be a democrat so instead of vetting, we will be told how great they are. Obama could be just as dirty as Blago. I hope not, but we do not know because the press never vetted him. But they surely vetted Palin.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 17, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I grew up in Massachusetts and so I am pretty well versed in the history of the Kennedy family.

There are at least 4 Kennedys who gave their lives in service to their country. Everyone knows about President Kennedy. Everyone also knows about Robert Kennedy. There was Joseph Kennedy who died in action during the second world war. Then there was a sister whom I believe was nicknamed Kit. This sister was working as a nurse in London and died during the blitz.

The family itself has done many good works in Massachusetts that benefited the less fortunate. My own family has benefited from their charitable works.

So, all their "sins" aside, I will always give them the benefit of the doubt.

If Ms. Kennedy-Schlossberg is interested in the Senate seat, so what? If we haven't figured out over the last two hundred plus years that favoritism is a driver of politics we haven't learned anything.

Ms. K-S appears to be well educated and well spoken. This would be a welcome change from the rancor we have all witnessed over the last 20 years. I would be happier with the unfolding story if she had been more active in New York state politics.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | December 17, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Washington's corruption is exacerbated by its nepotism.

Caroline Kennedy hasn't earned anything, let alone a Senate seat.

America's in the worst economic crisis since the Depression and a U.S. Senate seat is going to be given to someone whose only qualification is having been born a Kennedy.


Posted by: Gidgmom | December 17, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

"Why are Obama's people investigating themselves??? 37thandORulesForever"

Smart people, smart managers and executives always keep an eye on where they have been. The best way to avoid drama is to constantly check your actions to make sure they are ethical and moral.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | December 17, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Is Ms. Kennedy in it for the long run? Will she stay in the Senate and build up the seniority necessary to deliver the goods to NY in the form of federal spending? Unless the answer is yes, she's the wrong choice.

As for electability, NY is so deeply blue that no Republican, even ex-Mayor Rudy, could win. So why not pick someone who will be there for NY for the long haul? A dilettante seems the wrong choice.

Posted by: Garak | December 17, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

I think that the Kennedy appointment is a much needed appointment. We have forgotten the importance of someone with this "political family" insight that can do much for so many. All of us do not have to enter the ball game at the same time to make a difference. This lady is our pitcher of choice and will make a decisive difference to the future of our country. She is needed now, today, so move forward with the much needed appointment.

Posted by: StanleyAllen | December 17, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

All of you who continue with your Clinton hatred really just need to either work out your issues with strong independent women (not someone born into privilidge who did nothing but support the other guy for president) in therapy or get restraining orders for your obsessive stalkerish behavior. This is not about breaking Clinton power, this is not about solidifying Kennedy base- this is not about personalities.

This woman has done nothing to earn the right to represent me in the senate and I am going to fight it as hard as I can.


Posted by: nycLeon | December 16, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I am a NYer, lifelong- and I am now going to write to Reed and Patterson. WE DON'T WANT CAROLINE KENNEDY. She has done nothing to earn that spot except being born a Kennedy. I want someone to represent me who has earned their way there. I want Nydia Vasquez (congresswoman)

Posted by: nycLeon | December 16, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

"The first step in this country is to get ELECTED and probably first to LOWER OFFICE.

For all I know, she may be a nice lady, she might even turn out to be good at the job. I bet I even agree with her on most issues. However, this appointment is not a democratic method of selecting leadership, so we must be extra careful about selecting based on merits-and if her name was not Kennedy she would not even be considered at all. "

You guys are acting like this is some lifetime appointment. It is only two years. If she sucks, then vote her out. I know its not completely democratic, but you do get to vote on the seat as well as the seat of the person who appointed her.

Have some perspective, guys.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 16, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Remember that we're not even talking about Kennedy getting elected to the Senate-she is being appointed- or in the case of this family, should I say "anointed??"

The first step in this country is to get ELECTED and probably first to LOWER OFFICE.

For all I know, she may be a nice lady, she might even turn out to be good at the job. I bet I even agree with her on most issues. However, this appointment is not a democratic method of selecting leadership, so we must be extra careful about selecting based on merits-and if her name was not Kennedy she would not even be considered at all.

Posted by: sjgscreener | December 16, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse





"I have not confirmed that it was accurate"

Obama wants to keep everyone in the dark.

Why are Obama's people investigating themselves???

Is this a joke - sound like Nixon running the investigation of himself. This whole Obama operation is looking more and more like a bad version of Nixon - complete with attempts to silence critics on the internet.





Posted by: 37thandORulesForever | December 16, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Caroline Kennedy has not earned an appointment - the key word is appointment - to a seat in the U.S. Senate. If she wants to enter politics after what seems to be an epiphany after a lifetime of disinterest, she should run for office and leave the appointment for others who have proven themselves by laboring in the political vineyards and have the resumes to prove it.

Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, Caroline Kennedy have just shown how ugly and tawdry politics really is. I am more happy than ever that after the spectacle of the Byzantine Democratic primaries I re-registered as having no party affiliation. I received notice of my new status after the general election.

I have lost all respect for Caroline Kennedy since she has shown an arrogant sense of entitlement because she is a Kennedy. She obviously feels the appointment is hers for the asking, and she may be right. When 2010 rolls around I won't vote for her, and I won't vote for the man who put her there.

Posted by: myskylark | December 16, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I's sure Caroline Kennedy is a nice person, but she is not the most qualified person for the US Senate. Has she ever held a full-time, 9 to 5 job?

If she gets picked, it will look like payback for supporting Obama.

I wish Hillary would keep the seat.

Posted by: sunnyday1 | December 16, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps better than Caroline for the Senate seat--Slate journalist and famous New Yorker Eliot Lawrence Spitzer. He scored a perfect score on his LSATs and with Miss Dupr-, er, the people of New York. Just a thought.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 16, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Caroline would be great as senator. Her early support of 44 was a major pivotal point in his campaign. After she and her uncle endorsed O, the establishment folks started to move into his corner. If O wants her in the Senate (and he must or else Reid wouldn't have backed her), sign her up.

Sentimental choice of many: longtime New York resident Madoff the Great. The smartest (and richest) guy in the room, in any room ($50b). Willie Sutton, Jesse James, Ponzi, Boesky, Butch Cavendish, Dillinger, Genovese -- all of you step aside for Bernard Madoff. Madoff put the Big in the "Big Con." Paul Newman would have been proud of him.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 16, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Kennedy has formally announced she wants the job in all likelihood means that Gov. Paterson has given her the all-clear (or, more specifically, his people told her people through back-channels); there's a whole informal process in these circumstances; it's like when people form "exploratory committees" to raise money. By that point, the deal's done.

Posted by: SeanC1 | December 16, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced Caroline is as good as senator.

She had to consult first with Obama. Obama could not have been more pleased with the idea of more Clinton erosion of power supplanted by an enthusiastic, young Kennedy ally.

Paterson would be a fool not to name Caroline. He needs Obama's backing to run for governor on his own. No Caroline, no enthusiastic Obama backing for Paterson.

Chuck Todd said on Morning Joe we have to wait for Hillary's reaction. Caroline has phoned Hillary and Hillary has not called back yet. Will Hillary want to displease her her boss Obama?


"Clinton chides supporters on Kennedy"

Hillary Clinton has told her supporters not to involve her in their efforts to stop Caroline Kennedy's path to the U.S. Senate, a person familiar with replacement discussions said.

The move clears a major obstacle between Kennedy and the seat.

Now the Reid phone call surfaces.

Welcome to the U.S. Senate, senator Caroline Kennedy.

Posted by: rfpiktor | December 16, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Some Repug blogger made this point:


As much as I am not a conspiracy theory type person I do have to say that the Obama Campaign definitely had an active blogging strategy during the campaign. But, if they are now Paying Bloggers to inhibit free speech it might not be illegal but it's pretty darn weird.

I doubt it's happening. But, if it is I would say that it's pretty weird.

Posted by: Tom22 | December 16, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I admire Ms. Kennedy and her achievements tremendously, but am very disturbed by blow that this strikes against merit, and by the fact that very few involved in the New York Senate selection seem concerned that Ms. Kennedy has never held public office. A U.S. Senate seat should be a career highlight, rather than an opportunity for on the job training.

At least Sarah Palin won office on her own in Wasilla and as Governor of Alaska before debuting on the national stage.

I would be all for Ms. Kennedy getting into politics by competing for an elected post(as did Senator Clinton, Senator Ted Kennedy and many other members of the Kennedy family), but seeing Ms. Kennedy glide into office via special appointment without prior job experience rubs me the wrong way, no matter how "enthusiastic" and "excited" Ms. Kennedy might be.

Sadly, it is looking increasingly likely that Monoco will not the only state to tout a Princess Caroline. Despite the fact that we fought a revolution to prevent hereditary governance, it looks like it's all over but for the coronation...

And if I, who admire Ms. Kennedy, feel this way, I can only imagine what others might be feeling.

Posted by: ANetliner | December 16, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

New Yorkers are getting a crappy deal, maybe not as bad as the last one, but this Kennedy is no princess. As mentioned, just another carpetbagger. Don't the people in the senate district have or get any say in all this? What do they think? Who do they want? I'm betting it isn't another big but useless political name that is only going to use their district as a stepping stone. On the bright side, they just got rid of Hillary without a fight or spending a dollar. Not a altogether bad deal!

Posted by: surfer-joe | December 16, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Has there ever been a less likable, less inspiring Senate Majority Leader than Harry Reid? I'm not aware of one.

Caroline's fine with me, but Reid is the last person I'd listen to.

So we've got a Mormon in charge of the Senate and a Christian Scientist (God help us) running Treasury. Are there no Presbyterians or Episcopals available for these positions?!

Posted by: officermancuso | December 16, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Good one. How'd you ever come up with that?

Posted by: jdunph1 | December 16, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

It's not surprisng that Reid would want her; she'd nail down the seat, and be a fundraising machine for Democratic candidates nationwide.

Posted by: SeanC1 | December 16, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Another really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS

Posted by: hclark1 | December 16, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Nice little club we have here. The elite recommending each other.

It seems our democracy is becoming an oligarchy of leading American families.

Posted by: MikeOLeary | December 16, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Didn't we use to have a thing against royality when the country was founded?

Posted by: leapin | December 16, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm astounded that no one seems to be the slightest bit disturbed by this.

It's a shoe thrown at the head of every person in the country, let alone New York State, who has accomplished something the old fashioned way, by working for it. It's positively feudal!

Why on earth would we want someone like this as our Senator, just because her name is Kennedy?

I wrote to Governor Paterson expressing my views on this subject, but I don't expect it will matter. He comes from a "political family" himself and probably wouldn't recognize nepotism if it beat him over the head with a Size 10.

Posted by: llhanlon | December 16, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Many of those up here in northern NY do not want her representation. She has little or nothing in common with the people of this region.

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | December 16, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Carolyn would fit with N.Y.'s pattern of celeb Senators. But the political catch of the day is the Minnesota Canvassing Board live feed from MN Sect'y of State's office. It's on Mpls' Star-Tribune web site, among others. Minnesota: Elections Done Right~

Posted by: esr91 | December 16, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The NY Post's tepid endorsement of Kennedy is not really too surprising. Caroline Kennedy was able to spike their story of her teenage daughter's anorexia by helping to get Murdoch's daughter into the Brearly School. It's the New York way. It's also the reason no questions have been raised about her marital woes with Mr. Schlossberg her husband and Mr. New York Times Sulzberger her very close friend.

Posted by: rdklingus | December 16, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

is there a more powerful fusion than spiritual class and aristocratic pedigree to affect change when change so much needed?

Posted by: tabita | December 16, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

So I guess its all but official at this point. HRC's seat will go to Caroline Kennedy. Gov Patterson would be committing political suicide to appoint someone else at this point. Besides, with all of the endorsement CK has received, it would be an incredible slap in the face to CK NOT to appoint her to the seat.

Posted by: PeixeGato1 | December 16, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

king_of_zouk - Regardless of whether or not the Obama campaign is entirely right (I guess it depends on your definition of "contact"), those situations aren't really similar.

Palin released that report because she undoubtedly knew the odds were good that the bipartisan Alaska state board would say she was guilty of an ethics violation re: Troopergate.

You can't investigate yourself to determine whether or not you've violated state ethics.

Obama is basically saying that his internal review says no one on his team talked to anyone on Blagojevich's team about being involved in pay-to-play politics, which he's willing to have vetted by a federal investigation.

That's not really the same as clearing himself of an ethics violation, since Obama wasn't investigating himself to clear himself of a crime.

Posted by: mediagadfly | December 16, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"zouk" there is a difference. Palin was found to have violated ethics laws in her state.

the US Attorney said the day the story broke that there was not any wrong doing by the President-Elect.

You're attempts to link Obama to this scandal are weak.

Posted by: sjxylib | December 16, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Get a load of the first two grafs from AP's December 15 article, ''Obama: Probe shows no contact in Illinois gov scandal.'': (Snip) By contrast, back in October when Gov. Sarah Palin (R) released her own report denying impropriety in her firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner, the AP noted that ''Palin Pre-Empts State Report, Clears Self in Probe.''

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 16, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

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