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The real reason Caroline Kennedy didn't get Hillary Clinton's Senate seat?

May 5, 2009 |  6:34 pm

Hillary Clinton and Caroline Kennedy

New information out just now explaining why Caroline Kennedy isn't Sen. Caroline Kennedy today.

Ticket readers will recall that back in January when Hillary Clinton's New York Senate seat became vacant with her becoming secretary of State, the daughter of assassinated president John F. Kennedy expressed an interest in receiving the seat appointment from the state's governor David Paterson.

This would have continued an historic family position in the Senate. Caroline's father held the seat from Massachusetts, as does her fatally-ailing uncle, Edward, now. Another uncle, Robert, once held the New York Senate seat after serving as his brother's attorney general.

According to a new book by Edward Klein, Kennedy assumed that her mere expression of interest in the political plum would ensure her appointment by the fellow Democratic governor. Uh, no.

Yes, New York politicians can inherit family power, witness, actually the governor himself, son of longtime Bronx Democratic political boss, Basil Paterson. But the wealthy Kennedy had not only not been involved in Empire state political life, but had not even donated much to develop alliances and owesies. And, she later admitted, had sometimes cared so much about politics that she had even failed to vote.

Not good.

The initial public fascination with Kennedy faded substantially after some inarticulate and uninformed interviews. And sources close to the governor, who would have to run next year on a ticket with his appointment, leaked word there were some vetting problems.

Not so, ABC's David Chalian points out. Klein writes in "Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died" that it was really Caroline's three children -- Rose, Tatiana and Jack, who shocked her with their negative reactions to her possible public life.

The children expressed the unanimous opinion to their mother, Klein says in a Vanity Fair excerpt, "that she was becoming a different person, one they didn't much like."

"Mom," Rose is said to have told Kennedy, "you are above this." It was, Klein concludes, a rude wake-up call that ultimately caused the wealthy Kennedy to withdraw her name. And end at least that line of the political dynasty in Washington.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo : Reuters

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