ALBANY—Almost criticizing Caroline Kennedy has become something of an art, as journalists drop worm-laden hooks before the running mouths of all interested parties.
Today it was Representative Carolyn Maloney's turn, on the radio with the NY Post's Fred Dicker before meeting with state legislators about high-speed rail service.
"Quite frankly, it doesn't matter what I would believe," the congresswoman said. She then started talking about something else before Dicker re-popped the question.
"I think she's a wonderful person and a great friend of mine," Maloney said. "I would say that Andrew Cuomo is qualified and every member of the New York delegation is qualified."
There you see both of the common punts: (1) Deferring to David Paterson, who alone will pick the senator and (2) speaking warmly of Kennedy without saying she's qualified. (Andrew Cuomo has also done this, damning Kennedy with praise of all sorts other than the sort that might be construed as even a tepid endorsement.)
Afterward, Maloney was asked to clarify what that meant (see video below), as Bob Liff, traveling with her, handed out a copy of an editorial from Crain's New York titled "Caroline not ready for U.S. Senate."
Very subtle. At this point, you have to wonder – why doesn't somebody just say "no?"