As we reported on Tuesday night, Caroline Kennedy indeed went upstate on a mini, one-day stumping trip yesterday. She met with officials and regular voters, in a sort of ultralite version of Hillary Clinton's "Listening Tour" in 1999 and 2000. The Times observed that her handlers exhibited Sarah Palin–like caution while she was answering questions, but what did the people she was actually "listening" to think? Well:
• Even though no press releases or advance details were sent out prior to the tour, people (mostly the press) still figured out where she was going to appear and showed up in droves.
• The mayor of Rochester, Robert J. Duffy, called Ms. Kennedy “delightful.”
• "I know she is," said Representative Louise Slaughter, who heard her in Rochester. "You know, who ever said you had to have had elected office before? Hillary didn’t."
• "She's wonderful," said Stacy Cibula, a random member of the public in Syracuse.
• Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Kennedy "certainly is qualified to be a senator."
• “I thought it was fine,” said Mayor Matthew J. Driscoll of Syracuse. He added that she was "well-read."
Hmmm. Not exactly a rave from upstate politicians, but certainly nothing bad was said. She'll lunch with Al Sharpton at Sylvia's in Harlem today, and he'll probably (okay, definitely) have much more to say. And now that Kevin Sheekey, Mayor Bloomberg's political guru, is on the warpath on her behalf, people are sure to get talking even more than they usually are. Still, Kennedy only has a couple of weeks to win over people's confidence, and Charlie Rangel says that Paterson's already made his decision anyway.
At least now she can say she's been to Rochester.