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Obama to nominate Caroline Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to Japan

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For years she’s been the intensely private scion of a family synonymous with American public life.

Now, in her appointment as US envoy to Japan, Caroline Kennedy is finally hitting the big stage.

The sole surviving child of assassinated president John F. Kennedy takes over the ambassador’s residence in Tokyo at a time when Asia couldn’t be more important to US foreign policy.

Washington has its eyes on a newly belligerent North Korea, rising rival power China, and, as always, its close alliance with Japan.

Even before she was named, many Japanese were excited at the prospect.

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The government spokesman said her appointment “would deepen people’s feeling of friendliness” to the United States, because the “late President Kennedy was a figure familiar to many Japanese.”

For Caroline Kennedy, 55, a plum diplomatic appointment by a friendly Democratic president might hardly seem a surprise.

After all, Joseph Kennedy, her grandfather, was named just before World War II by Franklin Roosevelt to a controversial spell at the head of the embassy in London.

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There’s also a strong link between Caroline Kennedy and President Barack Obama, whom she helped burst from relative obscurity in 2008, when he was taking on the far more powerful Democrat Hillary Clinton for the party’s presidential nomination.

In a New York Times column titled “A President Like My Father” Kennedy wrote of never having seen a president who matched up to the way people still talked about JFK.

Now, she said, “I believe I have found a man who could be that president.”

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There will inevitably be questions about Caroline Kennedy’s suitability to the high-profile diplomatic job.

However, political appointees in ambassador’s posts are common under both Democratic and Republican presidents, even if the practice sometimes backfires.

During his posting in wartime Britain, Joseph Kennedy became increasingly unpopular for what were seen as his defeatist views.

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One member of parliament called him a “rich man, untrained in diplomacy, unlearned in history and politics.”

Judging Caroline Kennedy’s level of preparedness is difficult.

Wealthy, she graduated as a lawyer, but reportedly never practiced, and although she has penned numerous books, she has never played the celebrity.

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While living on New York’s exclusive Park Avenue, she reportedly uses the subway system and keeps her philanthropic work and support for public education out of the newspapers.

Indeed, for many Americans, Caroline Kennedy is frozen in time — forever the adorable girl photographed riding her pony around the White House grounds or, tragically, attending her father’s 1963 funeral at Arlington Cemetery.

For a time in late 2008 and early 2009, she toyed with the idea of running for the New York Democratic Senate seat vacated by Clinton when Clinton became Obama’s first-term secretary of state.

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But that foray into the hurly burly of politics in 2008 ended in humiliating retreat, with newspapers and opponents mocking Caroline Kennedy for lack of readiness and even an inability to speak coherently in interviews.

Diplomatic circles might suit her better and there’s a plus: her boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, is another New England blue blood and was close to her uncle, the late senator Ted Kennedy.


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Tongue-tied GOP strategist crashes and burns on-air while trying to deny Trump’s racism

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Republican strategist Amy Tarkanian crashed and burned on CNN on Saturday while attempting to deny President Donald Trump's racism.

"I do not believe that the president’s tweets were racist. I do believe they were not well thought out. He needs that extra, 'Are you sure?' button on Twitter," Tarkanian argued.

"I'm a black man, I'm a Republican and a black man," the Rev. Joe Watkins interjected. "My mother's an immigrant, I would be angry if someone said that to my mother."

"Oh, it’s very offensive. But he did not say, because you are this color, go back to where you came from," Tarkanian argued. "I’m not supporting that tweet. Was it racist? No. Was it stupid? Yes."

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CNN

Trump supporter blames Democrats for being targeted by the president: ‘Why is that racist?’

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CNN interviewed a supporter of President Donald Trump in Eau Claire, Wisconsin who refused to acknowledge the racism in the president's "Go Back" attacks on four women of color in Congress.

The network interviewed Kerri Krumenauer of Wiersgalla Plumbing & Heating Company about Trump's attacks.

"How is it racist?" she asked.

"If you don't like this country, get out," she demanded. "Leave!"

She then showed how misinformed she was about the incident.

"He didn't use any names -- they stood up," she falsely claimed. In fact, Trump did use names and the targets did not stand up as they were not at his North Carolina campaign rally.

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2020 Election

Here’s how Trump hopes to recreate his 2016 presidential win — and how Democrats can send him packing

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Writing for CNN on Saturday, election forecaster Harry Enten explained how President Donald Trump's recent, racist behavior lies in his desire to recreate the same electoral conditions that gave him a victory in 2016 in the presidential election next year.

"The Trump strategy is pretty simple: 1. Drive up the unfavorable ratings of his Democratic rival as he did in 2016 in order to compensate for his own low ratings. 2. Bank on an electoral college/popular vote split as he did in 2016. 3. Use a campaign of racial resentment to drive up turnout even more among groups favorable toward the President," wrote Enten. As he noted, Democrats have excellent odds to flip back Michigan and Pennsylvania, but they will have to work harder to win back any of the other states Trump flipped from the 2012 Obama camp — in particular Wisconsin, which was the closest state after those two.

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