Hillary turns to husband's former aide for PR counsel

WASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton is turning to Jim Kennedy, a trusted former White House press aide of her husband's, to handle her communications and provide the PR and policy support she needs to get her career in the US Senate off to a good start.

WASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton is turning to Jim Kennedy, a trusted former White House press aide of her husband's, to handle her communications and provide the PR and policy support she needs to get her career in the US Senate off to a good start.

WASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton is turning to Jim Kennedy, a trusted former White House press aide of her husband's, to handle her communications and provide the PR and policy support she needs to get her career in the US Senate off to a good start.

Kennedy told PRWeek that he sees his role as being a polite traffic cop of sorts with the news media, given that Hillary Clinton's own national star is likely to rise. Already there is talk of her mounting a 2004 White House bid. Such speculation, however, can be dangerous early on, particularly if the residents of New York state feel she is courting national political interest at the expense of the people she was elected to represent.

'Our first priority will be the people of New York and the media who communicates to them,' Kennedy emphasized.

Kennedy's assignment is unusual in that he has been granted a seat at the table to provide policy advice, but he explained that few communications directors in the Senate have the experience that he offers Hillary.

He had been a longtime press aide to Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), starting when he was running a losing congressional campaign. Kennedy then continued to provide assistance with communications during Lieberman's years as the elected state Attorney General and then as US senator.

Working for Lieberman as a freshman concerned with home state matters is what Kennedy singles out as his most relevant experience.

But should the Clinton scandal-mongering continue, Kennedy will be well equipped to handle such an onslaught, having done a two-year tour of duty as a spokesperson in the White House Counsel's office during the Clinton impeachment process.

During the last year, Kennedy divided his time between serving as a deputy press secretary in the White House press office under Joe Lockhart and functioning as communications director for ex-Vice President Al Gore.

Kennedy said one of his first assignments will be to help Hillary unveil legislation to improve the unemployment situation in upstate New York.

'When we have the legislation done, we'll be visiting upstate New York and talking about the initiative,' he promised.



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