Caroline Kennedy, taking increasing flak from within New York’s Democratic establishment, has started to interact a little bit more with the media, granting the Associated Press and the New York Times interviews. This clip from MSNBC has some highlights. Kennedy (and the non-campaign campaign) has lost some important support in the past week, including powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The Governor has publicly expressed some irritation over media reports that Caroline’s appointment is inevitable, and her close relationship with New York Mayor David Bloomberg has caused her some problems with Democratic officials that are not favorably inclined towards the Republican turned Independent Mayor. The Times has posted audio clips from her interview on its website which you can access at this link. Kennedy took some positions during the Times interview. From the New York Times:
Ms. Kennedy, 51, has had only a few weeks to think through a platform and a message, and she has already taken positions on issues like same-sex marriage, which she supports, and school vouchers, which she opposes. She spoke knowledgeably about education issues and said that, if appointed, she hoped to be particularly involved in the debate over the reauthorization of the federal legislation known as No Child Left Behind, of which her uncle Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts was a lead author.
But she also demurred on a few issues, including the question of potential differences with others or in areas where she could point to differences with standard Democratic orthodoxy.
But in the interview on Saturday, she said she hoped to be a consensus-builder, and declined to describe her positions on other pressing public issues — even in education, where she has some expertise. Ms. Kennedy would not say, for example, whether she supported proposals to abolish tenure for teachers and offer them merit pay instead.
“To pick out the most controversial one as a stand-alone thing, I don’t think that’s really the way to go about this,” Ms. Kennedy said. “People can vote; it’ll be really interesting to see what happens. There’s a lot of experimentation going on in the country that we should pay attention to.”
So her initial thrust is carefully calibrated to diminish the criticism over lack of press access without taking positions that will lead powerful Democratic constituencies to oppose her appointment. She could use a little more polish, but overall she managed to get her limited press agenda accomplished without damage. She still brings a powerful political presence that presents Governor Paterson with an interesting political quandry.