Caroline Kennedy’s non-campaign campaign is in full dial-a-thon mode, but she will soon hit the road just like an ordinary politician. Today’s lucky recipients of calls from the U.S. Senate aspirant include Mike Fishman, head of 32BJ, the politically savvy “doorman’s union”; Kelli Conlin, executive director of Naral Pro-Choice New York; and Jack Kittle, political director of DC 9, the painters’ union. “There’s no reason why government experience ought to be a prerequisite for the job,” Fishman says. “If she gets down to me on the list, it shows a lot,” Kittle added. “I just told her, ‘Go work hard.’ My group thinks she’s a good choice—not to say anything bad about the others.”
Conlin says Kennedy is planning to travel the state in the next few weeks, introducing herself to elected officials and regular folks as she ramps up her bid to replace Hillary Clinton. “Caroline is very genuine, and as she travels around the state and talks to people, that will be the impression she’ll leave, that she’s genuine and she takes this very seriously,” Conlin says. “It’s really hard when you just have this media swirl around you. It’s so much better when you actually go out and talk to real people in real places in New York.”
With Clinton apparently telling her loyalists not to get in Kennedy’s way, what else does she need to do to convince Governor Paterson to send her to Washington next year? Reach out to her putative rivals in the state’s congressional delegation, including Kirsten Gillibrand and Steve Israel, to smooth over tensions, for one. And if Kennedy’s media blackout continues, the papers will start accusing her of hiding. She may consider that less risky, however, than flubbing some state-trivia question — or sounding as if she has the job locked up before Paterson makes it official.
Related: The Cinderella Kennedy