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UPDATE: Caroline Kennedy reallywithdraws from Clinton seat race

Caroline Kennedy and her uncle and surrogate father Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, now ailing from a malignant brain tumor

(AN EVEN LATER UPDATE: Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for Caroline Kennedy, confirmed late Wednesday evening that she has, in fact, withdrawn her name from consideration to fill the vacant Senate seat of Hillary Clinton. She cited "personal reasons."

(Which could well mean she understood she wasn't going to get it anyway. The announcement ended a confused day of yes, she's out-no, she isn't reports from various New York sources.)

The N.Y. Post and Times are reporting this evening that Kennedy, once thought to be a shoo-in as the nominated replacement for new secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has informed New York Gov. David Paterson that she's withdrawing her name from consideration.

Earlier, there was no immediate confirmation from Paterson or Kennedy of the pair of newspaper reports.

(UPDATE: Later Wednesday evening NBC quoted a Kennedy family source as contradicting those reports, blaming a miscommunication and saying she remained in the running. The Associated Press, quoting an unidentified Albany source, also said the withdrawal reports were erroneous.)

But the removal of the 51-year-old big-name family name, whose assassinated uncle Robert once held the seat, would make life a whole lot easier for Paterson, who has many fellow Democrats with much longer public service records in line competing quietly for the coveted high-profile seat.

Kennedy has made several stumbles once she basically announced she wanted the job. Her interviews were stumbling, often uninformed, inarticulate. It came out that she has not been a regular voter, let alone regular Democratic donor in her life as an attorney life. The daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy had been encouraged to seek the seat by her ailing uncle, Ted, now suffering from a malignant brain tumor.

She's said to have listed concern over her uncle's health as the reason to give up, and the leak comes one day after he had seizures during an inaugural lunch in the Capitol. Sen. Kennedy has been very ill since May, though, long before she made her announced autumn entrance into the nomination race.

Of course, she may also have belatedly realized the scale of the job and have received a heads-up that it wasn't going to be her getting the governor's nod. And he's giving her a facing-saving exit. Or even pushing with an anonymous leak. That would be particularly helpful if the governor's nominee turns out to be N.Y. Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo, the otherwise likely candidate with Washington experience and a man who had a bitter divorce from a relative of Kennedy's.

As The Ticket reported, Paterson said he expects to make his choice by this coming weekend. He's also said that he's giving economic concerns added weight in his selection process. Whomever he picks will run with Paterson in that Democratic state next year.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Associated Press


Comments () | Archives (22)

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I think Caroline did the right thing. In time, I hope she'll run for office and win.

Dear Ruth Ann King:

WHY? Because her name is Kennedy? Cripes. Get over this family already.

Caroline has been a huge disappointment to those of us who supported her father. She should have at least been a regular voter. She needs to return to her privileged lifestyle and let us working class folks figure out how to make this country run properly.

I hope that Caroline can get some needed experience, and then one day maybe she can grow up to be a mayor or the governor of Alaska!!!!!

I'm tired of elit-ism. Kennedy (rum runners), Bush (oil), Clinton (women)... let's get down to some basics for the American people. Oh, McCain (beer)... Obama (we still await)....

I think Obama will most likely offer Caroline a position in his administration. I seriously doubt that she would be denied a chance to support Obama since it would be a positive for him.

She was INFINITELY more qualified than Hellary Clinching!

Just 10 minutes ago, NBC News' David Gregory reported that Kennedy has not in fact withdrawn and that there may have been a miscommunication.

Thank goodness. A senate seat is such a silly sinecure. After all, there is champagne to drink, horses to ride, and galas to attend.

Maybe she is contemplating a move to Massachussetts??? Uncle Ted's seat might be open.

I know this is supposed to be a "blog," but this article has some of the clumsiest prose I've ever seen. Ugh. Do newspapers still hire editors, or have they been cut from the payroll?

Thank God somebody wised up and realized Caroline Kennedy was running on her name and NOTHING else--she has NO experience and can barely string a sentence together . (listen to her, folks) That kind of person is not anyone Obama needs in his administration--enough with the nepotism the Kennedy's seem to think they deserve-talk about an ignorant silver spooner!

Good news for Patterson. He can send his most likely challenger on an extended vacation.

She never impressed me as being a politician. A well-written lawyer who looks at big issues, yes. A politican, not really. It's too bad her brother didn't live --I'm sure he would've fit the bill well.

CK simply was not qualified and trying to get by on her name alone. Please don't compare her to Hillary. Hillary helped build the Clinton brand and took her licks to ultimately win the NY Senate seat and has proven to be a very capable and talented politician.

Kennedy replacing Hillary Clinton was an insult to all Hillary Clinton supporters, and the Barack Obama people knew, know it, and are the snarkier for wanting it.

Trying to get Caroline Kennedy in as Hillary Clinton's replacement was the Barack Obama camp's way of sticking it to Hillary Clinton one more time by showing that ANYBODY can be a senator from New York, even a person with NO experience who didn't even have to run for the seat.

It was also a way to reward the Kennedy's for their support of Barack Obama against Hillary Clinton.

Caroline has lost her father, mother and brother, so outside of her husband and children I would guess Ted is the one she's closest to. After his seizure on Tuesday, I expect that brought home to her that he really isn't going to be around forever, and a freshman U.S. Senator isn't going to have much free time. Also, she's certainly intelligent enough to realize there is no shortage of qualified people for the job. I think she did the right thing. There are lots of other ways she can contribute, and I'm sure she will.

Appoint Bill Clinton. He'll do a good job, but he won't want to be there forever.

Then when the regular election comes along, a fresh set of candidates can fight it out for the job, all from the same level playing field (i.e., none of them having the advantage of being an incumbent by appointment).

Leaving Caroline in the 'Tea Room', and Teddy soon to meet MaryJo sounds like camelot to me.

This is all about Hillary Clinton helping Andrew Cuomo to stick a knife in Barack Obama's biggest supporter in New York. Some loyalty from the new Secretary of State.

I can't believe how hard people are on Carolyn Kennedy. Do you have any morals. This woman suffered the most terrible tradegy ever.her father THE PRESIDENT mowed down in Texas and the terrible loss of her Brother Maybe she's worried about the hate mongers that have never let up on her family get real about their rum running past. REmember the song about our old friends Bobby, Martin Luther and John. Have some respect. I bet your gonna expect respect for Obama and what about his relationship with a known enemy. Lets keep on the negative side of everyone and just keep spewing the crap, but keep it equal, now.

seriously Jim George, are you serious?

This is HILLARY CLINTON'S seat, it's not about Caroline Kennedy, and it never should have been. My gosh, the level of "mineness" from some Barack Obama supporters just amazes me.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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