BY Michael Saul
DAILY NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
Vicki Kennedy should be considered as a potential interim replacement for her late husband in the U.S. Senate, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said Sunday.
"I think Vicki ought to be considered," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said on CNN's "State of the Union."
"She's a very brilliant lawyer. She's a very solid individual," Hatch said of Sen. Edward Kennedy's widow. "She certainly made a difference in Ted's life, let me tell you. And I have nothing but great respect for her."
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), a close friend of Ted Kennedy, said he too would be supportive of Vicki Kennedy if she wanted the job. So far, she's told friends she's not interested.
"She's expressed to me her own sort of reluctance to do that, but she could change her mind," Dodd said. "If she did, I'm for it."
"She'd be great," Dodd added. "She brings talent and ability to it, and to fill that spot I think is something the people of Massachusetts would welcome."
Current state law in Massachusetts requires the seat remain vacant for roughly five months until a special election is held.
Ted Kennedy wrote to state leaders this month requesting that the law be changed to allow full representation during the ongoing debate over health care reform.
Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, has voiced support for a change in the succession law.
Momentum appears to be building around the proposal, especially because the health care overhaul could be determined by a razor-thin margin.
- More coverage from the New York Daily News.