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Already, a Clinton Flare-Up

We couldn’t even make it to confirmation — that first Clinton soap opera Barack Obama knew he was asking for when he nominated Hillary Clinton to be secretary of State arrived within two weeks of his announcement, just in time for Christmas.

It was a small one, as Clinton soap operas go. Hillary supporters piled on Caroline Kennedy for wanting to be appointed to Hillary’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. They waited a week while Caroline was playing it coy, then took it to the press and went on the record. Then Hillary made it clear she wanted it to stop. Notice the timing of when the Caroline boomlet began and when the spat ended.

Hillary friends are angry with Caroline for endorsing Barack Obama in the primaries. Of course, Democrats who endorsed Obama in the primaries are all over town, not only in the Senate but at the table where Hillary will attend Cabinet meetings. There she will soon sit with Bill Richardson, whom she scolded over the phone last winter when he was on the verge of endorsing Obama as well — “He can’t win, Bill. He can’t win.”

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who dates top Hillary staffer Huma Abedin, questioned Kennedy’s “fire in the belly” and admitted that though it was no “jihad,” “I’d be lying to you if I said supporters of Hillary’s don’t remember where she was in the primary.” Weiner will have a nice time repairing things with Caroline if she is appointed and he fulfills his goal of becoming mayor of New York City.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) compared Kennedy to celebrity Jennifer Lopez. “I don’t know what Caroline Kennedy’s qualifications are, except that she has name recognition, but so does J. Lo,” Ackerman sniffed.

Caroline Kennedy may not have any credentials for becoming senator, except that she comes from New York. But back when Hillary was hunting for a job, she wasn’t from New York, and her last name took her very far. Yes, last names can take you quite far in politics. And the Clintons will hope so, should Chelsea be interested in that seat when Caroline Kennedy retires one day.

SHOULD CAROLINE BE APPOINTED TO HILLARY’S SEAT? Ask A.B. will return after the holidays in the first week of January. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Have a wonderful holiday, and see you in 2009!

Tags Bouvier family Candidate Position Caroline Kennedy Caroline Kennedy Employment Relation Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton caucuses and primaries Hillary Rodham Clinton Huma Abedin John F. Kennedy Kennedy family Nationality Person Communication Person Location Person Relation Person Travel Political Endorsement Political Relationship Politics United States

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