‘long, hard thought’ to pres­i­den­tial run

NY Demo­crat tells “Late Show” host Col­bert she will give “a long, hard thought” to chal­leng­ing Trump in 2020

Albany Times Union - - FRONT PAGE - By Dan Freed­man

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand tells TV host that she will con­sider whether to run for the na­tion’s high­est of­fice in 2020.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand will give “a long, hard thought” to launch­ing a 2020 pres­i­den­tial bid, she told Stephen Col­bert in an in­ter­view broad­cast Thurs­day night.

It was the Demo­crat’s clear­est in­di­ca­tion that she’s con­sid­er­ing a chal­lenge to Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump.

On CBS’ “The Late Show,” Col­bert asked Gil­li­brand if, af­ter her re-elec­tion to the Se­nate on Tuesday, she might be in­ter­ested in any other post — mak­ing it clear that he was re­fer­ring to the White House.

In an ex­tended re­sponse, she said that “the ha­tred and the divi­sion” that Trump had en­gen­dered has “called me to fight as hard as I pos­si­bly can to re­store the moral com­pass of this coun­try.”

Cir­cling back to Col­bert’s ques­tion, Gil­li­brand re­sponded: “I will give it a long, hard thought of con­sid­er­a­tion.”

Dur­ing the cam­paign, she in­sisted she was to­tally fo­cused on her Se­nate re­elec­tion bid and not look­ing be­yond that.

In her lone de­bate against Repub­li­can op­po­nent busi­ness­woman Chele Far­ley, Gil­li­brand said she would serve out her full six-year term.

Far­ley re­sponded, “Hon­estly, I don’t be­lieve that.”

Gil­li­brand trounced Far­ley, (64-33 per­cent) on Tuesday, rack­ing up big num­bers in New York City, Al­bany and the state’s other ur­ban ar­eas. She also did well in tra­di­tion­ally Repub­li­can zones such as the North Coun­try and the stretch be­tween Syra­cuse and Bing­ham­ton.

As­sured of six more years on Capi­tol Hill, Gil­li­brand is now free to en­cour­age spec­u­la­tion — at least un­til next spring, when she would need to start a na­tion­wide net­work if she chooses to run.

Gil­li­brand, who re­cently au­thored a chil­dren’s book on the suf­frage move­ment, will be on high-pro­file tele­vi­sion talk shows such as “The View” in the com­ing weeks.

The 52-year-old, who lives in Rens­se­laer County, would not be the first pres­i­den­tial can­di­date to have ini­tially de­nied an in­ten­tion to run.

As a U.S. sen­a­tor from Illi­nois, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama de­nied he had pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions on NBC’S “Meet the Press” in 2006 — two years be­fore he won the White House. Dwight D. Eisen­hower sim­i­larly said he was too busy as supreme al­lied com­man­der of NATO to con­sider a pres­i­den­tial bid in 1952. But the ar­chi­tect of the Al­lied vic­tory in Eu-

rope in World War II ended up run­ning as a Repub­li­can that year, and went on to win two terms.

On Col­bert’s show, Gil­li­brand cast the de­ci­sion in moral terms. “I be­lieve in right ver­sus wrong, and un­til this

elec­tion, I thought wrong was win­ning,” she said, re­fer­ring to Tuesday’s Demo­cratic gains such as win­ning the ma­jor­ity in the House.

Whether Demo­cratic gains are enough to em­bolden Gil­li­brand re­mains to be seen. Repub­li­cans claim Gil­li­brand’s record is too in­sub­stan­tial to chal­lenge Trump, who has called her a


“She’s an empty suit — a non-en­tity,” state Repub­li­can Party Chair Ed Cox said in an in­ter­view Fri­day.

He pointed to her A rat­ing from the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion when she served in the House a decade ago, only to get down­graded to an F af­ter her 2009 ap­point­ment to the Se­nate to re­place

Hil­lary Clin­ton. Gil­li­brand has ex­plained her shift on gun con­trol and other is­sues as the re­sult of ed­u­cat­ing her­self on is­sues that weren’t as much in fo­cus for her con­gres­sional district.

“She was An­nie Oak­ley and now she’s Jane Fonda, play­ing to the left of the party,” Cox said.


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