Previously unreported problems involving taxes and a household employee came to light during the vetting of Caroline Kennedy and torpedoed her candidacy for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, said a source close to New York Gov. David Paterson.
Early Wednesday afternoon, The New York Times reported, Kennedy became aware of what an aide “referred to as a ‘personal situation’ that could prevent her from fulfilling her duties as senator.”
The aide said Kennedy called Gov. Paterson — who has the sole authority to name Hillary’s replacement — Wednesday afternoon to inform him that she was withdrawing from consideration for the appointment.
Several media outlets have asserted that Kennedy cited concerns about the health of her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, as the reason. Sen. Kennedy has been diagnosed with brain cancer.
But her aide told The Times that the “personal situation” was not related to the seizure that Sen. Kennedy had suffered during Tuesday’s inauguration luncheon. The aide declined to elaborate.
Fielding Caroline’s call, Gov. Paterson suggested she take some time to rethink her decision, the Kennedy aide said.
As Kennedy began consulting with friends and family, reports surfaced that she had withdrawn from consideration.
Around 7 p.m. Wednesday, a Paterson spokesman told an interviewer that the governor had called those reports a “rumor.”
But Kennedy ultimately decided to go ahead with her withdrawal, and called Paterson between 10 and 11 p.m. to inform him of her decision.
The source close to the governor told The Times on Thursday that Paterson “never had any intention of picking Kennedy,” and said “the fiasco of the last 24 hours reinforced why the governor never intended to choose her.”
The New York Post and the New York Daily News have both quoted sources saying that Caroline withdrew after learning that Paterson had decided not to select her.
Meanwhile Sen. Kennedy’s inner circle is “furious” that his brain cancer was cited by some people in Caroline’s camp as the reason for her withdrawal, according to Time magazine’s Web site.
“It looks horrible,” a former Kennedy aide said. “It makes him look like he is at death’s door.”
Sources close to the senator say is generally doing well and is engaged in an effort to pass universal healthcare legislation.
One close associate told Time that citing Sen. Kennedy’s health as a reason for Caroline’s withdrawal “is not going to be O.K. with him. This will get in the way of health reform” by suggesting that a key lawmaker involved in the healthcare legislation may be incapacitated.
But a source close to the senator said his people are not upset with Caroline, because they know the Ted health reference “didn’t come from her.”
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