Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) said "it's important to know when you're wrong" Wednesday while defending herself against charges of political opportunism in a career marked by major shifts on significant issues.
Gillibrand, who pledged during her 2018 Senate reelection campaign that she would serve a full six-year term, announced Tuesday she was running for president. At a press conference in Troy, New York, a reporter noted her shifts to the left in her career, notably on immigration and gun control.
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"If a voter was suspicious of you, figuring that you're taking different sides at different times, how would you explain all this to them?" the reporter asked.
"I would just tell them to look at my heart," Gillibrand said. "When I, now 10 years ago, became senator for New York, when I met parents who met their child to gun violence … the pain and the suffering that families are facing every day, I was convicted and said, ‘I have to fight for them, too.'
"I have to make sure that we fight to end gun violence and what I learned 10 years ago is what American families are learning with these kids from Florida, who are literally creating a movement to talk about how we can all fight to end gun violence," she added. "That is part of what's happening for the rest of America right now, and so I think it's important to know when you're wrong, and to do what's right."
Gillibrand had an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives while serving an upstate New York district, and she also opposed amnesty and sanctuary cities.
She quickly tacked left after being appointed to the Senate in 2010 to replace Hillary Clinton. She is now one of the most liberal members of the chamber and one of President Donald Trump's most steadfast critics.
On "60 Minutes" last year, she said she was "embarrassed" and "ashamed" by her old stances.