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Kennedy out of Senate contention?now what?

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Hillary Rodham Clinton starts her new job as secretary of state today with a mandate from President Barack Obama to step up diplomatic efforts and restore the nation's tattered image abroad. This morning she'll be joined by Obama at the State Department where they'll address department employees together. Clinton was confirmed by the Senate on a 94-to-2 vote yesterday. After her swearing-in she sent a letter to Gov. David Paterson, informing him that she was resigning her seat in the U.S. Senate.

Meanwhile, back here in New York, the field of potential candidates for her seat shifted dramatically. With one brief statement, Caroline Kennedy withdrew her name. Shortly after midnight she released a one-sentence statement that said she was dropping out of contention for "personal reasons." The reports were a shock to supporters and to Paterson, who had appeared likely to appoint her to the seat. Brian Mann joined Martha Foley to consider the alternatives, and how Clinton redefined what it takes to be a senator for all of New York.

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Reported by

Martha Foley
News and Public Affairs Director

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