Caroline Kennedy hires key Democrat fixer to soothe critics

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Albany (New York, US), Dec.16 (ANI): Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former US President John F Kennedy, has made her ambitions for the soon to be vacated New York Senate seat more explicit by hiring one of New York's top political consultants to gain some altitude.

After a week of coy courtship and low-key feelers, Kennedy signed up major Democratic fixer Josh Isay, who has deep connections to New York powerhouses Senator Charles Schumer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Kennedy spoke with Sharpton on Monday, and he said he told her about another "lady that wanted to run for U.S. Senate [who] came to Harlem, to the House of Justice, and they told me she wasn't qualified; they told me she was just there because of who she was married to - and that was Hillary Clinton."

Sharpton said Kennedy chuckled.

Monday's outreach efforts came as the 51-year-old former first daughter had begun to receive withering criticism about her lack of political experience.

"She had to work to undo the buzz for the last week - New Yorkers were starting to say, 'We don't know her,' 'She's got no experience,' 'She's presumptuous," Politico quoted a top New York Democrat, as saying on condition of anonymity.

"That's why hiring Josh makes a lot of sense. She doesn't know anybody, and he's the guy to make the introductions and guide her through the process," he added.

Hiring Isay accomplishes several goals for Kennedy. It signals her seriousness to New York Governor David Paterson, who has been cool to her weeklong whisper campaign; it initiates her courtship of state power brokers who know her only through the media and the History Channel; and it "scares the s--" out of lesser-known Democrats actively pursuing the appointment, the New York Democrat said.

For a novice, Kennedy was working the phones like a pro on Monday, reaching out to prominent state politicians, including Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Schumer, who said at a press conference Monday that he'd "talked to Caroline Kennedy, and she is clearly interested."

The ultimate decision is Paterson's alone, and it's unclear how the governor, who is grappling with a nightmarish state budget deficit and continued uncertainty over his own political future, will react to Kennedy's game-changing declaration. (ANI)

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