- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 25, 2008

ALBANY, N.Y. | Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg’s bid to get appointed to the Senate and extend the Camelot dynasty has run into the bare-knuckles world of New York politics, where a backlash appears to be building against her.

Some politics-watchers have accused the 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy of a series of missteps last week doing an upstate tour, when she evaded questions and in one case was hustled away by an aide after meeting with reporters for all of 30 seconds.

At the same time, some New York politicians, privately and publicly, have complained that Mrs. Schlossberg is jumping the line ahead of political figures with far more experience and that she has become the presumed front-runner by virtue of her name alone.

As the process has dragged on, political adversaries have had all the more opportunities to undercut her candidacy through various attacks, sniping and newspaper leaks.

On Wednesday, Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, said the bickering sounded “more like the prelude to a high school program than the choosing of a U.S. senator.”

“She’s a pinata now,” said Maurice Carroll, a long-time New York political reporter and now pollster for Quinnipiac University. “Until Paterson says ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ she’s going to be a pinata for everybody to take a whack at, using anonymous sources.”

The whole process has left Mrs. Schlossberg damaged as she looks to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and inherit the seat that her slain uncle, Robert F. Kennedy, once held.

“I think the people who are handling Caroline Kennedy’s campaign are screwing up,” said former New York Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat. “I think it’s becoming less and less certain that the governor, who I hope will appoint her, does appoint her.”

Mr. Paterson has said he won’t appoint a new senator until Mrs. Clinton is confirmed as secretary of state. He has not tipped his hand as to whom he prefers.

In addition to being a member of the closest thing America has to a royal family, Mrs. Kennedy is a Harvard- and Columbia-educated lawyer, an author and a prodigious fundraiser for the New York City public school system.

Among those who are also said to be interested in the Senate seat are New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi of Long Island, and Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, Steve Israel, Jerrold Nadler, Kirsten Gillibrand and Brian Higgins.

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