Caroline Kennedy's sudden, apparently last-minute decision to abandon her Senate bid is the talk of the Empire State, you know? After varying reports about why she was ditching the chance to be junior Senator—her uncle's failing health, learning that Governor David Paterson wasn't going to choose her— plus one on saying she wasn't dropping out, Kennedy did nothing to clear things by only saying in a statement, "I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate."

While the NY Times cites a source who "suggested that her concerns about the health of her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who suffers from brain cancer and was hospitalized after a seizure on Tuesday, contributed to her decision," the Post stands firm on the hypothesis that she found out Paterson wasn't selecting her: "Three sources said Paterson had conveyed to Kennedy on Tuesday that she wasn't likely to get picked."

Further, Politicker NY was listening to Post editor Fred Dicker's radio show, and Dicker was not buying the Uncle Ted excuse, "Does that make any sense? He’s been ill for months.” A Congressional Democrat seems to agree, telling the Daily News, "This has face-saving written all over it." Another Democrat says to the Observer's Jason Horowitz, "It's obviously a cover. She needed a graceful way to get out, and this gives her a way out." Um, we find it more ghoulish to use your ailing uncle as an excuse, but...whatever goes? Horowitz sums up the situation well: "Kennedy's bizarre and unexpected exit made for a fitting coda to her ungainly foray into the race to replace Clinton."

Now it's a sorta-new game. According to the Post, "Sources added that Paterson recently requested information on three possible candidates: upstate Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, Manhattan Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Speaker Nancy Pelosi also gave a leg-up to Maloney with the announcement of her appointment to serve as chair of the Joint Economic Committee." Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is also, per the the News, "a top contender." If only this were a reality show: "Top Senate Replacement!"

UPDATE: Aha! The NY Times: "Problems involving taxes and a household employee surfaced during the vetting of Caroline Kennedy and derailed her candidacy for the Senate, a person close to Gov. David A. Paterson said on Thursday, in an account at odds with Ms. Kennedy’s own description of her reasons for withdrawing." Hey, aren't taxes and household staff issues "personal"? And the Post spoke to someone who was a little more gabby: "A source close to Gov. David Paterson insisted this afternoon that the governor 'had no intention' of picking Caroline Kennedy for New York's vacant senate seat - because she was 'mired' in an issue over taxes, her nanny and possibly her marriage."