From NBC's Mark Murray
Well, it certainly wasn't as bizarre as that press conference where Rod Blagojevich announced Roland Burris as his pick to fill Obama's vacant Senate seat -- and where Rep. Bobby Rush even made a guest appearance. ("I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer," Rush said at that presser in late December.)
Flanked on the stage by dozens of elected state Democratic officials, New York Gov. David Paterson today officially appointed Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate. The appointment will last until a special election is held in 2010, and that winner will serve until 2012, when the seat's six-year term concludes.
At the press conference, Paterson described his process for filling the seat, which included asking candidates to submit their names, sit down for an interview with the governor, and fill out a questionnaire. (What he didn't mention was that the process lasted for two months, and was dominated primarily by speculation that Caroline Kennedy would fill the seat.) "I believe that I have found the best candidate to become the next senator from New York," Paterson said.
"I appreciate the opportunity that you have afforded me and the trust you have placed in me," Gillibrand said at the beginning of her speech. Then, referring to the fact that few New Yorkers know the two-term congressman, she added: "Over the next two years, you will get to know me, and more importantly, I will get to know you."
Gillibrand also recognized her predecessor, Hillary Clinton. "I aspire to follow in her footsteps."