New Kennedy Book: Caroline’s Kids Nixed Senate Bid

By Lindsey Ellerson

May 5, 2009 11:10am

ABC News’ David Chalian Reports:  It appears the ailing Sen. Ted Kennedy’s vision of his niece Caroline to carry the Kennedy family banner forward in the Senate for another generation may have been thwarted by Ms. Kennedy’s children according to a published excerpt of a new book about Sen. Kennedy’s life. The public and messy courtship of Caroline Kennedy by Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) to replace Hillary Clinton in the United States Senate came to a screeching halt in January when Ms. Kennedy removed herself from contention citing "personal reasons." In an excerpt of his new book entitled, "Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died," that has been published in the current issue of Vanity Fair, author Edward Klein writes that Caroline Kennedy’s three children — Rose, Tatiana, and Jack — were the instrumental force that caused their mother to take her name out of the running for the New York Senate seat and to choose not to follow in her father and uncles’ footsteps. The Kennedy children “felt that she was becoming a different person — one that they didn’t much like,” writes Klein.   Rose, the eldest, said to her mother, “‘Mom, you are above this,’” according to Klein’s account.   Klein writes that a Kennedy friend said it “was a wake-up call. It jerked Caroline back to reality.” The whole notion of who is poised to succeed Ted Kennedy as the leader of the famed Kennedy family is explored in Klein’s new book.  The author reports that a Kennedy family friend described a hospital room scene in the aftermath of Sen. Kennedy’s seizure last year thusly: “The elephant in the room was the notion of succession. . . The question was: Who was in line to take over for Ted, not just, or necessarily, in his Senate seat but as head of the family?” Mr. Klein reports that Caroline Kennedy expected an easier path to the New York Senate seat once making her intentions clear.  But it was the botched handling of the process by Gov. Paterson and the rough and tumble of New York politics that apparently was cause for alarm for her kids. A family adviser tells Klein that "Caroline was stunned" by her kids’ reaction.  But according to the adviser, her children “told her that if she was getting this worked up just getting the job, they didn’t want to see what she would be like in the trenches of a political campaign or a fight in Washington. . . It was Caroline’s conversation with her children that tipped the balance.” At the time, Gov. Paterson and his aides attempted to attribute Ms. Kennedy’s withdrawal from the senate selection process to possible vetting issues such as nanny and tax problems.  But Ms. Kennedy and her allies continued to assert that her decision was for personal reasons.

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