ALBANY - 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 Paterson told The Buffalo News this morning.
"The notion that I have to take Caroline is not coming from me," Paterson said in an interview in his Capitol office with The Buffalo News. He said "gossip" has become a "greater force right now than my decision."
"What I would say is that, to the media, it's Caroline and the others. To me, it's there are 10 to 15 good candidates," said the governor, who will appoint the successor to U.S. Sen.Hillary Rodham Clinton after she is likely confirmed later this month as U.S. secretary of state.
One of the "10 to 15 good candidates" would appear to be Rep. Brian Higgins. Higgins is among those people the governor asked in the past week to fill out a background check questionnaire for the job.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, however, was not asked to fill out the packet.
Paterson today said Kennedy has been assisted in her efforts by media outlets that have become consumed with the notion that the daughter of the slain President John F. Kennedy will become New York's junior senator.
"One thing that helps her is the tremendous attention that you all give her works to her advantage. Maybe if you didn't give her so much attention she wouldn't have it," Paterson said. He said certain people, such as Clinton, have an advantage "just because of who they are."
"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.
"But, on the other hand, her lack of elected experience does not help her, but the point is it's the combination of experiences I'll look at in terms of all the candidates, and also how balanced the ticket would look," Paterson added.
JFK's Little Girl is not in a happy political place, Paterson just put a stiletto between her ribs. She needs to either step aside or step up her game.