U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, once a conservative Democrat who kept a gun under her bed, was recently ranked by the National Journal as the most liberal senator in the United States.
The state GOP pounced on the Democratic senator's seeming philosophical change, claiming that she went from Calamity Jane to Jane Fonda. She's up for re-election in November.
Here's what Mrs. Gillibrand said about the ranking, courtesy of Times staff writer Gordon Block, who covered her appearance at a Fort Drum event.
TIMES: When you were in the House, you were considered one of the more conservative representatives in the Democratic party. The new list from the National Journal puts you down as the most liberal member of the Senate.
How do you react to the new labeling? How does that affect you?
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: I can't speak for the National Journal and how they come up with their designations, but I feel very proud that I get to represent New York State, and I feel that I'm a very strong advocate for our state and our families.
Whether it's fighting for middle class tax cuts or whether it's fighting for the repealing of Don't Ask Don't Tell, I don't know if those are liberal or conservative issues. I just know that I'm going to put the families of New York first.
TIMES: You were saying you had somewhat of a more conservative track record....
GILLIBRAND: You'd have to ask them how they rate it, and the nature of what the votes are.
If they're going to say that repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell is a liberal issue...I think equality, freedom and making sure the men and women who are serving in our military have the ability to serve regardless of who they love, I don't think that's to be considered liberal or conservative.
It's about basic equality and fairness.
I would just challenge how they rate these things and what they rate different votes as. That's why I can't really speak for the National Journal.