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Ackerman makes Kennedy-Palin comparison

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A prominent New York House Democrat compared Caroline Kennedy to Sarah Palin.

"They basically Sarah Palin-ized her," Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) said Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation," while discussing how Kennedy had released written answers through a spokesperson in response to media inquiries about her policy positions.

Kennedy said she favored an "undivided Jerusalem" as the capital of Israel and said that "Israel’s security decisions should be left to Israel." The daughter of former President John F. Kennedy announced her interest in being appointed to the seat last week.

Ackerman, who has served 13 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, said Kennedy’s name and family wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, be enough to get her appointed to the U.S. Senate seat that Hillary Rodham Clinton will vacate once she is sworn in as secretary of state.

“Everyone knows who she is, but I’m not sure what she is,” Ackerman said. “Eventually she has to get in the ring and face the public.”

“DNA in this business can take you just so far,” said the congressman, before joking, “Rembrandt was a great artist. His brother Murray, on the other hand, Murray Rembrandt, wouldn’t paint a house.”

In a radio interview a few days earlier, Ackerman compared Kennedy to actress and singer Jennifer Lopez.

“I don’t know what Caroline Kennedy’s qualifications are except that she has name recognition. But so does J. Lo," he said. "I wouldn’t make J. Lo the senator unless she proved she had great qualifications.” Ackerman later said he meant no offense to either Kennedy or Lopez.

Meanwhile, rumors out of Albany have another Jewish Democrat, Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), as a possible appointment to the Senate seat. Israel is on a trip to Iraq this week with New York Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, who will make the appointment, and the New York Post quotes a "source close to Paterson" who says that on their mission to the region, the governor "will be talking to Steve about his interest in the Senate, and you could say this gives Steve Israel a leg up on Caroline."

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