Obama Taps Caroline Kennedy for Japan Post

Kennedy faces Senate confirmation before heading overseas.


The Obama administration has tapped Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former president John F. Kennedy, to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Japan, the White House officially announced Wednesday.

A critical early supporter and fundraiser for President Barack Obama during his 2008 primary campaign, Kennedy likened Obama to her father in a high-profile New York Times op-ed piece.

"I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them," Kennedy wrote. "But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president—not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans."

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The endorsement came as Obama was still fighting for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton.

Kennedy, 55, is a lawyer and author. She also has worked to fundraise and serve on the boards of a number of nonprofit organizations. Most recently, she has served as the president of the Kennedy Library Foundation.

Ambassadorships have traditionally gone to political supporters and allies and Kennedy had been rumored to be headed somewhere around the globe following Obama's 2012 re-election. If confirmed, she will replace John Roos, another key Obama fundraiser.

Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, did not raise any immediate red flags following Kennedy's nomination.

"Japan is very accustomed to having people who are very well-known as their ambassadors. And for what it's worth, she obviously is someone who fits that bill," Corker told the Wall Street Journal.

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Kennedy would be the first female U.S. ambassador to Japan and her boss would be Secretary of State John Kerry, someone she knows well from his service alongside her now-deceased uncle Sen. Ted Kennedy; Kerry was the state's junior senator alongside the liberal lion for decades.

According to Kurt Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, Kennedy is exactly the sort of ambassador any country would love to have because of her high-profile and close relationship to the White House.

"What you really want in an ambassador is someone who can get the president of the United States on the phone," Campbell said, according to The New York Times. "I can't think of anybody in the United States who could do that more quickly than Caroline Kennedy."

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