As for why Paterson took so long to decide, the source said that the governor had always been mindful of John Tower, the late Senator from Texas who was nominated by George H.W. Bush in 1989 to be Secretary of Defense and was considered a sure bet because he was a member of the Senate and a leading member of the Armed Services Committee, to boot. Tower's nomination, though, was defeated after allegations of drinking and sexual harrassment. He later died in a plane crash. (The job went to a congressman named Dick Cheney.) Paterson, the governor, was also mindful of the case of William Paterson, who was nominated to the Supreme Court and then had his nomination withdrawn and resubmittedby George Washington. The first president did this because Paterson had been a member of the Senate when the Supreme Court was created by statute in 1787. Washington thought his nomination of Paterson unconstitutional and waited until Paterson finished out his Senate term before reappointing him a few days later in 1793. In other words, it ain't over 'til it's over.
Thus, Gov. Paterson wanted to see Hillary Clinton confirmed before he made a final call on the remote chance that she would keep her Senate seat and, indeed, the former First Lady, unlike Obama, did not vacate her elected post until her Secretary of State post was in hand. As for why Caroline withdrew, the source said it wasn't tax issues--"that was of no consequence," the source added--and not an affair, as papers like the New York Post have implied. "She's not telling people why," the source added. The source was mystified as to why Paterson's office was going after Kennedy so hard, implying she had not been in the running for weeks. Will keep reporting.