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Paterson: I Made Choice Before Inauguration, Will Announce Tomorrow

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Gov. David Paterson offered a bit of insight Thursday evening into how the removal of Caroline Kennedy's name from the list of possible New York Senators has affected the process, and said he would make an appointment to that seat tomorrow.

Speaking on a conference call for supporters, the New York Democrat said that he had settled on a choice before the inauguration, held off on making the announcement to cede the stage to Obama, and will finish the process soon.

"As of Sunday or Monday, when I was in D.C. I had arrived on the person who I believed would be the best Senator from New York at this time," Paterson said. "And what I wanted was to let the inauguration process play out and bring my selected person forward. And I'm probably going to do that tomorrow. So I would hope that within the next 24 hours we will know who the next U.S. Senator from New York will be."

The remarks came after the process of choosing a replacement for Clinton was thrown into a tailspin on late Wednesday evening, when Kennedy abruptly took her name out of the running. There have been a variety of sometimes conflicting reports about what, exactly, transpired. The New York Post, which broke the story, reported on Thursday that Paterson "had no intention" of picking Kennedy because "she was "mired" in a personal issue. This may indeed be true.

Another high-ranking source in the New York political scene, however, claims that Kennedy was told the spot was hers only to ask for more time to consider. Her hesitance wasn't what Paterson wanted to hear. And, from there, it was decided that the vacancy would no longer be filled by the famous (albeit famously non-political) former first daughter.

A statement from the Governor's office issued Thursday said that: "The Governor had a private conversation with Ms. Kennedy yesterday afternoon. Out of respect for her decision making process, the Governor's Office did not respond to any inquiries in order to allow her time to deliberate."

Whatever transpired during that "time to deliberate," a common thread seems to be emerging: an issue in Kennedy's personal life, whether it was her uncle's health, taxes, an undocumented nanny, or possibly her marriage, compelled her to avoid the public spotlight.

As it stands now, the list of possible New York Senate appointments includes the state's attorney general Andrew Cuomo, Reps. Steve Israel, Kirsten Gillibrand, Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, as well as New York State Assembly member Richard Brodsky of Westchester. The publication The Root proposed that Paterson appoint himself. Paterson's new media guru Brian Keeler -- introducing the governor on the call -- jokingly proposed himself for the position.

"I did run for the state senate in 2006 and I lost, so I am available for any appointment you might have coming up," said Keeler, sarcastically.

"So I've been told a number of times," Paterson responded.