Ackerman says Caroline Kennedy no more qualified than JLo to be New York Senator

December 11th, 2008 - 6:03 pm ICT by ANI  

Jennifer Lopez

Albany (New York, US), Dec.11 (ANI): A prominent New York Democratic congressman has publicly questioned Caroline Kennedy’’s credentials to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as the area’’s junior senator, saying she’’s no more qualified to hold office than Hollywood actress Jennifer Lopez.
Representative Gary Ackerman, a 25-year veteran of Congress, declared in a radio interview: “I don”t know what Caroline Kennedy’’s qualifications are. Except that she has name recognition, but so does J.Lo.”
“I wouldn”t make J.Lo the senator unless she proved she had great qualifications, but we haven”t seen them yet,” the New York Post quoted him, as saying.
Ackerman’’s interview was posted on the Web yesterday after being broadcast Monday.
Ackerman is the first prominent New York Democrat to question Kennedy’’s credentials at a time when State Governor David Paterson is considering John F. Kennedy’’s daughter as one of a dozen potential replacements for Clinton, President-elect Barack Obama’’s choice for secretary of state.
Some Democratic activists have publicly questioned the fitness of Kennedy, a lawyer and mother of three who has never sought public office, for the Senate. But no prominent elected Democrat had been willing to take on a member of the powerful Kennedy clan until now.
Ackerman also joked that he had taken himself out of the running for the Senate in a way that appeared to highlight Kennedy’’s lack of statewide experience. He said he wouldn”t want to replace Clinton “because I don”t do Utica, and that’’s a qualification for the job.”
A Marist College poll Tuesday showed that Kennedy, who lives in Manhattan, has her weakest support for a potential Senate race among upstate voters.
Ackerman’’s eyebrow-raising comments came as Paterson signaled his unhappiness with efforts by several prominent people, including members of Kennedy family, to lobby him on behalf of their favored candidates.
“It’’s important for the candidates to focus all of their activities on trying to establish that they are the best candidate, and not on trying to assert any undue influence,” said Paterson.
“It’’s important for me to concentrate only on how the candidates will help New York if they are chosen to serve in the Senate.”
Some members of the Kennedy family - including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of former New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy - have been lobbying for Caroline to get Clinton’’s job. (ANI)

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