Gillibrand meets with Paterson, Schumer, Clinton

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(AP) - Senator-designate Kirsten Gillibrand pledgedSunday to combat gun violence while protecting hunters' rights,which she called "a core value" upstate.

Gillibrand, whose selection to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton inthe U.S. Senate was announced Friday by Gov. David Paterson, spokebriefly after meeting privately with Paterson, Clinton and Sen.Charles Schumer at a Manhattan hotel.

She promised to "hit the ground running" and said that onissues on which she differs from fellow Democrats, such as guncontrol, "there's enormous space for common ground."

Paterson's choice of Gillibrand to replace Clinton, who wassworn in as U.S. secretary of state last week, came after thepresumed front-runner, Caroline Kennedy, withdrew from contention. Asked at a news conference about Kennedy, Paterson said,"Caroline Kennedy called me on Wednesday ... to inform me that forpersonal reasons she had to withdraw. ... She had gotten noindication that she wouldn't be selected."

Neither Clinton nor Schumer attended the news conference. Gillibrand, a second-term congresswoman from a rural upstatedistrict, said Clinton "has always been a mentor of mine andsomeone I've always admired."

Gillibrand has a 100 percent voting record with the NationalRifle Association, and her pro-gun record is at odds with the viewsof many politicians in New York City and other downstate areas.Anti-gun crusader Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was killedand whose son was wounded in a shooting massacre on a Long IslandRail Road commuter train in 1993, has vowed to challenge Gillibrandin the Democratic primary next year or find someone who will.

Appearing earlier on "Fox News Sunday, Schumer said he washappy with Paterson's choice but added that Gillibrand's district"is quite different than much of the state. It's very rural. Insome ways, it's more like Montana than New York City."

Gillibrand didn't disagree.

"As I've said before, I grew up in a family of hunters," shesaid. "It's a pastime in upstate New York. It's a sport. It'ssomething that's part of our heritage, part of our culture. So Ivery much believe in protecting hunters' rights, and I've alwaysbelieved in protecting hunters' rights. ... It's a core value forour region and for our state."

But she acknowledged that "there's a lot of concern in our citycommunities about gun violence," and she said that while sherepresents all of New York, "my advocacy will be broader."

Gillibrand makes first public appearance in Harlem

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