While she was certainly the front runner in name recognition, Caroline Kennedy was not appointed by Governor David Paterson to take over Hillary Clinton‘s Senate seat. Instead this past Friday Paterson selected the virtually unknown New York congresswoman Kirsten E. Gillibrand.
Those following the appointment process may remember supposed baggage of tax, nanny and marital problems that were cited as the cause of Kennedy’s downfall, and which are now being accredited to Judy Smith, a “Washington-based PR guru and former Bush White House deputy press secretary,” according to the Daily News.
The report also insinuates Paterson and some of his staff approved of the campaign. Meanwhile, others are “bemoaning his willingness to listen to a hired gun with little knowledge of New York politics, undercutting his own staff and projecting the image of an administration in chaos.”
Paterson himself has denied any association, telling the Associated Press, “I’m denying it, but there have been leaks coming from my administration during this entire process of choosing a senator…As you said, this is a pretty serious thing and one that I would condemn for whoever was gossiping about the reason that Ms. Kennedy would have withdrawn from the race.”
Interestingly enough, Smith’s firm, Impact Strategies, lists the DC Board of Elections and Ethics among other high profile past and current clients including McDonalds, the Bush 2000 and 2004 Presidential Election, and Kobe Bryant.