Gov. Paterson yesterday named upstate Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to be the state's new US senator - but the press conference took a bizarre turn when Republican mega-lobbyist Alfonse D'Amato moved front and center.
Democrats statewide were aghast to see the former senator and GOP power broker standing close to Gillibrand on stage throughout the nationally telecast news conference that Paterson called to unveil his surprise replacement for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The panic-stricken caterer rushed out with a cleaning crew but it was too late.
[...] "Twenty-two years ago, [Gillibrand] was an intern in my office," D'Amato told reporters before being rushed off stage by Paterson aides after the news conference.
The liberals are suspicious of her for bucking party leaders and taking right-leaning positions on gay marriage, immigration and gun rights.
"It's the wrong message that she's sending out by having Alfonse D'Amato there," said Assemblyman Peter Rivera (D-Bronx), who called Gillibrand "anti-immigrant."
"The message is that she's still to the right and is going to continue to stay to the right."
Oh, I hope so. And the list of agita afflicted dems is impressive.
Sources told The Post that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Paterson Thursday night to express displeasure with his choice, multiple sources said. Her spokesman strongly denied the claim and insisted they talked about politics.
Mayor Bloomberg blasted Gillibrand for opposing "common-sense measures to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals."
Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of liberals.