Is Caroline Kennedy Winning Over Skeptics?
When Caroline Kennedy first let it be known that she was interested in being New York's junior Senator, she received a chilly reception from Hillary Clinton backers and some members of the progressive community. Now, it seems, the tide of popular opinion is turning towards the former first daughter and Barack Obama confidante.
Several prominent voices have lent their support to her political aspirations, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Meanwhile, Clinton herself has let it be known that her supporters should do nothing to impede Kennedy. Already, members of the Clinton rank-and-file are sounding that very tune.
"[Hillary] has been a mensch about the message of reconciliation to the hardcore friends and supporters of her," said Lanny Davis, one of Clinton's most ardent supporters. "I think what she did today is a big, big signal to everyone ... [Caroline] is certainly capable of being a great Senator. And, having said that, she wasn't the only one who disappointed me by endorsing Barack Obama, I had to deal with my own son."
Davis' remarks typify the type of emotional and political hurdles that Kennedy has had to face in her efforts to secure the seat once held by her uncle Bobby. In the past few days, prominent Clinton supporters, including Rep. Anthony Weiner and fundraiser Robert Zimmerman, have criticized her candidacy. Moreover, a growing number of progressives have wondered aloud what type of qualifications she would bring to the post. Surely, they say, there are other New York Democrats with sharper political ids and fatter resumes.
Cognizant of such skepticism, Kennedy's staff in New York has launched what is being dubbed the "whispering campaign" (contrasted to the listening variety), strategically reaching out to key constituencies.