NY Post;CAROLINE KENNEDY ENDS SENATE SEAT BID
By FREDRIC U. DICKER IN ALBANY and MAGGIE HABERMAN IN NEW YORK
Last updated: 7:55 pm
January 21, 2009
Caroline Kennedy tonight withdrew her name from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate after learning that Gov. David Paterson wasn't going to choose her, The Post has learned.
Kennedy's decision removes the highest-profile name in the ring to step into Clinton's now-vacant seat, as she departs after getting confirmed today as President Obama's Secretary of State.
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Sources said the reason Paterson had decided not to tap the daughter of John F. Kennedy was her poor performances in media interviews and in in private sessions with various officials.
Aides to Kennedy couldn't be reached for comment.
Paterson has said he is not yet sure who he will select, but plans to announce his pick by this weekend - and an announcement is expected either Friday or Saturday.
For the first time on Tuesday, shortly after Obama was inaugurated, Paterson acknowledged publicly that he is considering state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for the slot.
Cuomo, who has soared in public polls over Kennedy in the past two weeks in popularity for the seat, has not said whether he's interested in the job, but has not tamped down speculation that he's making a play for it.
Kennedy's entrance into the bidding for Clinton's seat was intended to have the effect of clearing the field, and forcing other contenders to see her as the inevitable choice for the post once held by her uncle, Robert F. Kennedy.
Mayor Bloomberg privately backed her and publicly praised her abilities, and his top deputy, Kevin Sheekey, worked the phones aggressively on Kennedy's behalf, and set her up with powerhouse consulting firm Knickerbocker SKD.
But her rollout received stiff criticism, as she ducked press questions during her first trip upstate, fared poorly in her initial round of media interviews - and several critics said she had a lack of a clear rationale for her candidacy.
The decision to appoint Clinton's successor is solely Paterson's, and he has offered conflicting comments about where he is in the process over the past few days - suggesting almost simultaneously that he'd made up his mind, and then that he hadn't.
The surprise decision leaves a crowded field of about 15 people, mostly elected officials, vying to replace Clinton - including Long Island Rep. Steve Israel, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, upstate Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and teachers union head Randi Weingarten.
Kennedy's brief foray into politics lasted just under a month, from the time she roiled New York politics shortly before Christmas to say she was interested in being picked for the seat to today.
Kennedy, who attended Obama's inauguration on Tuesday, campaigned aggressively for the new president - and infuriated Clinton loyalists by dissing her during the primary races - and her relationship with him was often cited by her boosters as a value add if she had been picked.
Several sources said Obama was pulling for Kennedy as the pick, and Kennedy herself said the president had been "encouraging" about her making a play for it.
Clinton, meanwhile, was confirmed by the Senate today almost unanimously, in a vote of 94-2.
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