JFK daughter confirms bid to enter Senate: governor

Caroline Kennedy, the only surviving child of slain US president John F. Kennedy, has confirmed her desire to enter the Senate, New York state's governor said Monday.

Caroline Kennedy

Kennedy, who has never held public office, said she was throwing her hat in the ring to replace Hillary Clinton, whose seat in the Senate will become vacant when she becomes secretary of state in Barack Obama's administration.

"She told me she was interested in the position," said Governor David Paterson, who is responsible for picking Clinton's temporary replacement.

The new senator would then face a special election in 2010.

The prospect of another member of America's legendary political family taking high office has excited many in New York. The soon-to-be vacant seat was once held by Caroline Kennedy's uncle Robert F. Kennedy.

Holding fundraisers and appearing on the campaign trail on behalf of Obama's successful White House bid, Kennedy was active in presidential politics to an extent never seen before. She was co-chief of the Democrat's vice-presidential selection process.

Kennedy was also instrumental in persuading her uncle -- Senate veteran Ted Kennedy -- to throw his weight behind Obama during the primary season. In January she wrote a glowing column for The New York Times directly comparing Obama to her father.

"I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them," she wrote.

"But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president -- not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans."

Some critics have cast Kennedy, 51, as a socialite blessed with 24-karat connections and a legendary last name in US politics.

Criticism of a senate bid cites her lack of public experience, but she has maintained some executive, though at times honorary, roles -- including president of Kennedy Library Foundation, director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and an adviser to the Harvard Institute of Politics.

Other would-be takers for the senate seat include New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, former governor Mario Cuomo's son.

Paterson says he will not announce a decision until Clinton's seat is vacated after Obama takes over the White House on January 20.

Source: AFP

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