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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., told reporters at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday that she won't be running for president.
Asked by reporters whether she had any interest in running, she answered with a flat-out "No."
What's more, she said New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo - seen by many as a Democratic front-runner in 2016 - would make a great president.
Speculation about Gillibrand's possible national ambitions spiked after she decided to speak today before the Democratic delegation from Iowa, which holds the nation's first presidential caucuses every four years.
But in her talk with reporters Wednesday, Gillibrand said she would be doing that at the invitation of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and in part to boost the congressional campaign of Iowa Democrat Christie Vilsack.
Still, Gillibrand is maintaining a much higher profile than Cuomo during this week's convention.
Cuomo will be in town for a day and has only one public speaking engagement, at today's breakfast for New York delegates.
Gillibrand, in contrast, spoke to the delegation Wednesday morning and set an appearance in the afternoon at an EMILY's List event, "Celebrating Women's Leadership."
In addition, she appeared Tuesday on PBS and was a guest on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart on Tuesday night.
Gillibrand's national standing has been rising in part because of her "Off the Sidelines" effort to get women elected to public office.
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A remarkable change in attitude toward the subject of same-sex marriage has permeated the convention, as acceptance seems to grow following its legalization in several states and its inclusion in the party's national platform this week.
While the subject was only tenderly mentioned when the party last convened in 2008, speaker after speaker at Tuesday's opening session - including first lady Michelle Obama - extolled the party's embrace of same-sex marriage.
Indeed, New York State Democrats featured the role of the party and Cuomo at Wednesday's delegation breakfast. It honored State Sen. Thomas K. Duane and Assemblyman Daniel J. O'Donnell - gay legislators who for many years in Albany championed the cause of same-sex marriage.
Behind a lectern proclaiming the party's embrace of "marriage equality," State Democratic Co-Chairman Keith L.T. Wright, a Manhattan assemblyman, said "New York has always been about, fairness, equity and justice."
"New York made history by becoming the largest state in the union to grant full same-sex marriage equality," he told cheering New York delegates. "And for the first time, it's in our party's national platform."
Wright said that adoption of the marriage-equality plank in the national platform is an important step. "It's about sexual orientation, about as immutable as the color of one's skin." he said. "The time has come for the nation to recognize this important civil right for all loving couples regardless of orientation."
In a morning devoted to celebrating passage of the state's marriage-equality law in 2011, Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy gave credit to Cuomo, who is slated to visit the convention today.
"Gov. Cuomo organized and led this effort," he said, calling it a crusade for "justice and civil rights."
"It makes us all proud to be part of this," Duffy said.
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New York delegates ought to bring Kleenex to the convention not because they might be moved to tears, but because their seats could induce nosebleeds.
The New Yorkers sit, quite literally, close to the rafters at the opposite end of the arena from the stage. "We're practically in South Carolina," griped Duffy.
Other delegates and guests weren't complaining, though.
"This is what you get when you're from a deep blue state," said Anthony J. Colucci III, a Democratic lawyer from Buffalo.
Francis J. Letro, another Buffalo lawyer, said: "I'm just glad to be here. Any seat in the house is a good seat."
- Robert J. McCarthy
and Jerry Zremski