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Caroline Withdraws

Jan. 22 2009, Published 12:21 p.m. ET

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In a stunning decision that has sent shockwaves through the national political scene, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, has withdrawn her name from consideration to replace departing New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It is a seat that was once held by Kennedy's uncle Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 while campaigning for the presidency.

The odds-on favorite to be appointed by New York Governor David Paterson to fill the seat being vacated by the new Secretary of State, the 51 year-old Kennedy said in a one-line statement, "I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate."

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There has been no further comment from Kennedy or Paterson, but speculation is that she doesn't want to take on such an important new challenge while her uncle Senator Ted Kennedy is ailing. The elder statesman is suffering from brain cancer.

There is also speculation that President Barack Obama, with whom she has close ties, intends to appoint her to an international post, perhaps an ambassadorship.

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While it is likely that Kennedy was disappointed by a recent poll that showed her to be favored less, statewide, than her chief rival, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, sources in Albany tell there is no truth to the rumor that she dropped out to save face after learning that Paterson did not intend to select her.

"This was not a face-saving ploy," our source said. "Ms. Kennedy is an adult. She would have accepted the governor's decision."

With Kennedy out of the race, it is likely that Cuomo will get the nod when Paterson announces his selection on Saturday.



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