The Times may have backed off from its comparison of Caroline Kennedy to Sarah Palin last week, but there was no retreat in today's coverage of the senate hopeful's finance secrets.

Reasoning that senate candidates have to file an elaborate, 10-part report on their assets, debts and income, and that Kennedy herself oversaw intensive vetting of Barack Obama's running mates, the Times asked Kennedy for "a variety of basic data," including "potential ethical, legal and financial entanglements." Appropriate.

Kennedy refused!

So the Times found three ethics advocates (from Citizens Union, Common Cause and Democracy 21) and a public policy professor (from NYU) to weigh in, and all but one were outspoken that Kennedy should open up.

The paper also said some people "wonder if Ms. Kennedy's unwillingness to disclose personal information suggests she lacks the stomach for the kind of intrusive questions that could come her way as a candidate in 2010." Ouch!

Also, the Times has been counting how many questions Kennedy has taken from the press on her "tour" of the state (only 11).

The picture (left) makes Kennedy look friendly, but the story is pretty tough. More like this!

Also in Kennedy coverage, the Times explained in an Editor's Note how it inadvertently published a forged supposed letter from the mayor of Paris slamming the candidate: It sent a copy of the edited letter back to the email address attached to the original (presumably a French government address), and was supposed to wait for an affirmative reply before running the letter, but did not.

Sadly, the fake letter was the most skeptical writing about Kennedy in the Times all weekend. Surely there's a genuine cynic out there yearning for space in the opinion section!

Archive: Caroline's Times File