Caroline Kennedy emerged from weeks of near-silence Friday about her bid for a Senate seat by saying that after a lifetime of closely guarded privacy, she felt compelled to answer the call to service issued by her father a generation ago.
The daughter of slain US president John F. Kennedy said two events shaped her decision to ask New York Gov. David Paterson 11 days ago to consider her for the position if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is confirmed as secretary of state: the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and her work for US President-elect Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
In her first sit-down interview since she emerged as a Senate hopeful, the 51-year-old cited her father's legacy in explaining her decision to seek to serve alongside her uncle Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy.
"Many people remember that spirit that President Kennedy summoned forth," she said. "Many people look to me as somebody who embodies that sense of possibility. I'm not saying that I am anything like him, I'm just saying there's a spirit that I think I've grown up with that is something that means a tremendous amount to me."
She also credited her mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, with giving her the courage to run.