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  Awkward moment for Gillibrand
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Last EditedJ.R.  Jul 13, 2009 03:44pm
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News DateMonday, July 13, 2009 09:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionNew York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's first moment on the national Senatorial stage was a bumpy one.

In a move that induced cringes in the gallery, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) cut her off in the middle of her extremely long introductory statement on Sotomayor -- telling Gillibrand the committee needed to speed up Sotomayor's swearing-in.

"20 more seconds?" she asked.

"Okay." he said.

She skipped a half-page and hit the coda: "I strongly support Judge Sotomayor's nomination..."

Later, Gillibrand laughed it off, reciting the unread part of her spiel to a trio of New York reporters -- it happened to be a quote by Sam Alito talking about how his Italian-American family had suffered discrimination during his childhood.

"I wasn't aware that the five-minute rule was in effect... or I would have been shorter," she said, referring to the committee's time limits on opening statements.

From there she went on to praise Sotomayor's abbreviated opener. For its brevity.

"I thought her short statement was perfect," she said.
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