'Nightline' Hosts Gush Over Idea of Caroline Kennedy as Senator

"Nightline" anchor Cynthia McFadden and ABC reporter John Donvan on Monday gushed over the possibility that Caroline Kennedy could replace Hillary Clinton as the senator from New York. McFadden (see file photo at right) teased the segment by cooing, "So, is another chapter in the Camelot story about to be written?"

Donvan repeatedly mentioned that Caroline Kennedy wouldn't have much experience for such a post. But, he didn't seem bothered at all by this, at one point stating, "All she will have at first is that name. But, at least she has kept it the way it was remembered, as part of a story that so many wanted to believe in." Contrast this with the coverage vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin received over a perceived lack of experience. Certainly, the media were not as forgiving for a non-Kennedy such as the governor of Alaska.

Donvan contributed the requisite vapid reminiscing of the Kennedy years. The ABC journalist described Washington D.C. as a place "where, when her dad was the president, we first came to know the little girl, riding his shoulders, saddled up on ponies."

Donvan did, at least, note that some "Kennedys of her generation ran afoul of the law," but he quickly followed up by boosting Caroline Kennedy because she "raised her kids and did work for charity and did the family name proud."

A transcript of the December 15 segment, which aired at 11:58pm, follows:

11:35pm tease

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Plus, Senator Kennedy? Caroline, that is. President John F. Kennedy's sole surviving child wants Hillary Clinton's New York Senate seat. So, is another chapter in the Camelot story about to be written?

11:58pm

MCFADDEN: We turn now to politics and certainly one of the most famous names of the past century, Kennedy. But this Kennedy, Caroline, who told New York Governor David Paterson today that she is indeed interested in being appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, is in many ways a political newcomer. The 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy has, until recently, shunned the spotlight. She does has a law degree and has written several books, though always avoiding politics. But no longer, as John Donvan reports.

JOHN KENNEDY: We are not here to curse the darkness. We are here to light a candle.

ROBERT KENNEDY: -the same confidence, the same support you gave so generously to the efforts of President Kennedy and his administration.

TED KENNEDY: The work goes on. The cause endures. The hope still lives and the dream shall never die.

ANNOUNCER: Please welcome Caroline Kennedy to the podium!

DONVAN: Consider what it would mean if this woman with America's most political name, who in her 51 years has never done politics, were now to be named to the U.S. Senate. She would be the fourth Kennedy to be called senator. Surely a new dynastic record. And her return to Washington would close a circle after nearly half a century. For this is where, when her dad was the president, we first came to know the little girl, riding his shoulders, saddled up on ponies. And then to the sound of different hoof beats in the pictures of a funeral, the little round face, held forever this the light of that day and in our collective memories. Never did politics, never in any big way, until in a very big way she stepped forward last winter and endorsed Barack Obama for president.

CAROLINE KENNEDY: I've been deeply moved by the people who told me growing up all my life that they wished that they could feel the same sense of hope and inspiration that Americans felt when my father was president.

DONVAN: It was the most powerful compliment she could possibly pay.

CAROLINE KENNEDY: Fortunately, there is one candidate who offers that same sense of hope and inspiration, and that candidate is Barack Obama.

DONVAN: And the surprise was not just that this was hurting Hillary Clinton, the same Clinton whose Senate seat she may be getting. What was surprising is that she decided to be so public at all. Because Caroline Kennedy, who was one of the world's most photographed kids until she was six years old, was afterwards whisked by her mom out of Washington and into a life out of public view to the degree that was possible. And, so, the glimpses were relatively few during the near half century that intervened, time spent in high-rise apartments and private schools and the Ivy League.

[Clip of "Sweet Caroline" plays]

DONVAN: Oh and the song, Neil Diamond says he composed sweet Caroline after seeing a photo of her sometime in the '60's. By the '90's, she was married to Edwin Schlossberg a designer. And while there was more grief, the deaths of both her mother and her brother, there was never show boating or scandal. Other Kennedys of her generation ran afoul of the law, but Caroline Kennedy raised her kids and did work for charity and did the family name proud. The name-

TED KENNEDY: And the dream lives on.

DONVAN: Is it all she has going for her now that she says she wants in the game, the same game that her uncle Ted Kennedy played so well? It was she who embraced him last summer, possibly his last appearance at a Democratic convention due to health problems. But, consider this, Ted Kennedy, same name, but it took him years to figure out how to become the lion of the Senate, with multiple missteps along the way, not always doing the name proud. She, if she gets the post, will be on the job training from day one. All she will have at first is that name. But, at least she has kept it the way it was remembered, as part of a story that so many wanted to believe in. I'm John Donvan for "Nightline" in Washington.

MCFADDEN: Governor Paterson has said he will not make the appointment until Senator Clinton is confirmed as secretary of state, but that he may announce the decision before that.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org