Caroline Kennedy marked Camelot's next chapter Thursday during a Senate confirmation hearing to become the next ambassador to Japan.
"I'm humbled to be following in the footsteps of some strong people," said Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Other than a near-run for Senate in 2008 and several years working for the New York City school system, she has stayed out of public life. "If confirmed, I will try to live up to the standard they set."
A prominent and early supporter of then-Senator Barack Obama, Kennedy and her uncle, longtime Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, delivered a pivotal endorsement of Obama during his heated primary race with then-Senator Hillary Clinton.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle praised Kennedy's commitment to public service Thursday and endorsed her ability to represent the U.S. to a crucial ally and one of the world's most important economic powers.
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker said he thought Kennedy would be "great... the kind of ambassador they're used to having in Japan." A number of high-profile figures have held the post, including former Vice President Walter Mondale, and former Senate majority leaders Mike Mansfield and Howard Baker. Kennedy's grandfather Joseph P. Kennedy was U.S. ambassador to Great Britain during FDR's presidency. Her aunt Jean Kennedy Smith served as ambassador to Ireland.
Kennedy, the famously private steward of America's most prominent political family, is a lawyer, author, and board member of a handful of organizations. The ambassadorship would provide her with an influential platform, but without the intensity scrutiny that surrounded her abandoned Senate bid.
Kennedy is married to an artist, Ed Schlossberg, and has three grown children.
"This appointment has a special significance as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of my father's presidency," Kennedy said. "I'm conscious of my responsibility to uphold the ideals that he represented. A deep commitment to public service, a more just America and a more peaceful world. As a WWII veteran who served in the Pacific, he had hoped to be the first sitting president to make a state visit to Japan. If confirmed as ambassador, I will be humbled to carry forward his legacy in a small way."