Caroline Kennedy: Let the Blame Game Begin

Caroline Kennedy ran a disastrous quasi-campaign for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat before deciding to bow out last night. Initially she refused to answer reporters' questions; when she eventually changed her approach and opened up, she demonstrated such little skill for dealing with the press that even some of her supporters started to wonder if she was up to the job. Kennedy now says she abandoned her bid for the Senate because of "personal reasons," which one Kennedy insider suggested was due to Caroline's concerns about Ted Kennedy's declining health. The much more plausible theory, of course, is that she bowed out when she heard she wasn't going to get the nod from Gov. David Paterson: making the decision herself provided her with a much more graceful exit. It was one of the only wise moves Kennedy and her team have made in the last few weeks. All of the blunders that have embarrassed her since she kicked off her campaign? Here are two people you can already start blaming: Kevin Sheekey and Stefan Friedman.

Kevin Sheekey, the city's deputy mayor and the man responsible for Michael Bloomberg's non-campaign for president, was one of Kennedy's most vocal advocates. He twisted so many arms trying to garner support for Kennedy that he immediately created suspicions that the fix was in, a sentiment that soon led a number of top Democrats to instruct Sheekey to pull back.

The other person who won't be sitting so pretty as pundits chew over the political trainwreck: Stefan Friedman of the political communications firm KnickerbockerSKD and the man responsible for managing Kennedy's press campaign and public image. (Friedman may or may not have been consulted on Kennedy's hat choice for the inauguration (above), so we can't blame him for that one.) Of course, he isn't the only member of his immediate family to have endured a tough streak recently: His mother, Jane Friedman, was ousted as HarperCollins's CEO back last June.