Caroline Kennedy said she was "surprised and dismayed" by her own voting record, after failing to cast her pick for the very Senate seat she now hopes to take over.
Kennedy offered no excuses for why she failed to vote in a number of elections since registering in New York City in 1988, including in 1994 when Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was up for re-election as the state's senior senator.
"I was really surprised and dismayed by my voting record," she told the Associated Press. "I'm glad it's been brought to my attention."
In her first sit-down interview since she emerged as a Senate hopeful, the 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy said she has always pondered jumping into politics, but waited for the right moment.
"I am an unconventional choice. I understand that. I haven't pursued the traditional path. But I think that in our public life today, we're starting to see there are many ways into public life and public service," she said.
She asked Gov. David Paterson 11 days ago to consider her for the position Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will give up if she is confirmed as secretary of state. Kennedy said Paterson told her he did not want people to appear to be campaigning for the position.
"He encouraged me. He said he has a lot of qualified candidates," Kennedy said.
More than a half-dozen elected officials are vying for the seat, including New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and several members of Congress. Since word of her interest leaked out in early December, Kennedy has faced sometimes sharp criticism that she cut in line ahead of politicians with more experience and has acted as if she were entitled to it because of her political lineage.
"Anybody who knows me knows I haven't really lived that way. And I think that in my family, I come into this thinking I have to work twice as hard as anybody else. Nobody's entitled to anything, certainly not me," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.