The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

Whatever happened to Ambassador Caroline Kennedy?

06/20/2013 6:02 PM

06/20/2013 6:03 PM

Question: Whatever happened to Caroline Kennedy’s impending nomination to be the next ambassador of Japan?

In early April, the news was full of stories that Kennedy was all but packing her bags for Tokyo. When she was on my radio show on April 1, she

would say hardly a word about the possibility

even though she was on the front page of almost every major news website in the country that morning announcing that her pick was imminent.

Truth be told, interviewing her was about as fun as having someone pluck my fingernails one by one. She was reticent, unresponsive and just a lousy interview.

I was told ahead of time not to ask about the ambassadorship, which was a patently ridiculous request given the story’s prominence that morning. The interview began with that question, which may be another reason why the conversation collapsed almost as soon as it began.

Why does all this matter? Because if Caroline Kennedy can’t handle an interview with an NPR affiliate in Kansas City with grace, how is she going to handle political negotiations in one of the thorniest parts of the world?

Within days of her KCUR appearance, stories began popping up that questioned her qualifications to be the Japanese ambassador. (Look

here and here


Those stories reminded readers about Kennedy’s disastrous bid for the U.S. Senate in 2009 to succeed Hillary Clinton after President Barack Obama named Clinton as secretary of state.

“Disastrous” isn’t too strong a word given her performance at a now-legendary New York news conference at which she stumbled and bumbled answering the most basic questions.

So, maybe it’s not a surprise that the Ambassador Kennedy stories have faded. Just maybe she’s now out of the running.


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