Paterson Downplays Kennedy's Chances

I’m beginning to think that New York Governor David Paterson really doesn’t intend to name Caroline Kennedy to succeed Hillary Clinton in the Senate:

Caroline Kennedy’s lack of elected office experience “does not help her” in her quest to represent New York in the U. S. Senate, Gov. David A. Paterson told The Buffalo News on Thursday.

“The notion that I have to take Caroline is not coming from me,” Paterson said in an interview in his Capitol office. He said “gossip” has become a “greater force right now than my decision” and suggested the media have become too consumed with just one big-named candidate.

“What I would say is that, to the media it’s Caroline and the others. To me, there are 10 to 15 good candidates,” said the governor, who will appoint the successor to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton after she is confirmed later this month as U. S. secretary of state…

“So I would ask the question back: Why do you all pay so much attention to her? She’s just another person. So what? Her name is Kennedy. Why do you pay so much attention to her? I’m not reacting to what I think, I’m reacting to what I see,” he said.

Elsewhere, the New York Times reports that Kennedy has submitted the ‘questionnaire’ required by Paterson to be considered for the opening, as have four New York representatives and two other officials. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo — widely expected to challenge Paterson in the Democratic primary in 2010 — refuses to say if he has submitted the questionnaire.

Paterson is complaining loudly and often about the apparent assumption on the part of many that he will eventually name Caroline Kennedy. He has criticized her qualifications for the position. In a way, it would be very surprising if he ultimately chooses her, after having discouraged speculation about her at each turn.