NY-SEN: Caroline Kennedy Out (UPDATED X3)

The woman who many thought would be the next Senator from New York has withdrawn her name from consideration:

Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn from consideration for the vacant Senate seat in New York, according to a person told of her decision.

On Wednesday she called Gov. David A. Paterson, who will choose a successor to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her concerns about Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s deteriorating health (he was hospitalized after suffering a seizure during President Obama’s inaugural lunch on Tuesday ) prompted her decision to withdraw, this person said. Coping with her uncle’s condition was her most important priority, a situation not conducive to starting a high profile public job.

Mr. Paterson had indicated to her that the job was hers if she would accept it, the person said.

I have no reason to discount this description of how events unfolded, but it all seems pretty odd to me.

Earlier today, Governor Paterson said he had made a decision and would announce his choice before Saturday. Now, just a few hours later, Kennedy is withdrawing her name from consideration. I don’t doubt that her uncle’s health is very important to her, but it makes me wonder if that’s the real cause behind this. I mean, Kennedy suffered a health scare yesterday, so why didn’t Caroline make this announcement then? Or at least earlier today? Why wait until now?

To me, it seems equally likely that the Governor simply didn’t choose Kennedy, informed her of this fact, and this is her way of saving face. Remember, she was being touted as the front-runner for months on end, so I imagine it would be pretty crushing not to have been chosen after all that hype.

But, like I said, this is all idle speculation and it’s all meaningless anyway. The bottom line is that Caroline Kennedy will not be the next Senator from New York, which is a good development in the minds of many people (though I’m pretty ambivalent). Recent polling shows that New Yorkers like Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for the position, so he’s a likely choice. But, of course, the Governor could surprise us all and pick someone completely unexpected, particularly if Kennedy was his first choice and now he has to pick someone else on the fly.

I guess we’ll know before Saturday. Though, it goes without saying that this has–at least publicly–shaken up the contest to succeed Hillary Clinton in the Senate.

UPDATE: The New York Post–hardly a paragon of good journalism, so take this with a giant grain of salt–agrees with my unfounded assessment:

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.

[…]

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.

UPDATE II: Either someone has a bad source or someone is trying to muck up Kennedy’s bid, because this is now what’s being reported:

However, A Kennedy family source told NBC’s David Gregory that Caroline Kennedy has not withdrawn. Two sources hinted to NBC News that there may have been a miscommunication between Kennedy and Gov. David Paterson’s office and that initial reports of her withdrawing are incorrect.

The Times reported that she called Paterson to express concerns about the health of her uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who was hospitalized Tuesday after a seizure during the inaugural luncheon. She said his health concerns were her top priority. A statement from Kennedy could come as early as Wednesday evening, the Times reported.

UPDATE III: Politico is saying she’s officially out:

Caroline Kennedy abruptly ended her bid to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate early Thursday morning amid increased friction with Gov. David Paterson’s office and after an evening of confusion among her aides and supporters.

“I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate,” she said in a statement emailed to reporters by her spokesman at 12:07 a.m. Thursday.

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