Reps. call Kennedy 'celebrity' candidate

Dec. 21, 2008 at 5:13 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Democrat Caroline Kennedy isn't qualified to be one of New York's U.S. senators, one of the state's leading Republicans said Sunday.

Kennedy, a 51-year-old Ivy League-educated lawyer who is the daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy, is seeking appointment to the seat being vacated by Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was tapped by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as his secretary of state.

In an appearance on CBS's "Face The Nation" program, U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Kennedy is a "People magazine celebrity" who, as far as he knew, has "never held a real job." King, who has mostly held government jobs since graduating from the University of Notre Dame law school in the 1970s, isn't the first New York congressman to label Kennedy in such a way. Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., also knocked her experience level.

King said Kennedy comes from "an outstanding family," but has not taken public positions on issues. Kennedy has been active in education issues while serving on various non-profit boards.

"She's never even held one news conference. She hasn't gone to one American Legion hall or Knights of Columbus hall or Masonic temple, or one synagogue to answer questions," he said. "When she does go on her so-called listening tour upstate, she's, like, running from city hall into the car to avoid reporters."

Former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, D-N.Y., said she recommended to Gov. David Paterson that whomever he selects to replace Clinton should be familiar with Congress.

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