While Obama’s second-term ambassadors will report to Secretary of State John Kerry, political appointees often have the ability to go directly to the president. Their status as a friend of supporter of the president can give them more leeway than envoys who achieved ambassadorial ranking by working their way up the foreign service.
Obama has drawn ambassadors from the political ranks at a higher rate than the historical average of 30 percent, according to the American Foreign Service Association. In his first term, Obama nominated 59 ambassadors, including 40 fundraising bundlers, who lacked experience in the diplomatic corps.
For Kennedy, becoming an ambassador would allow her to continue a family tradition of public service. Her father, the 35th U.S. president, was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963. Her uncle Robert Kennedy, a U.S. senator, also was assassinated, while running for president in 1968. Another uncle, former Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, died in August 2009, after serving in the Senate for almost 47 years.