In Kirsten Gillibrand, David Paterson will replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate with a woman known, already, for political deftness and a little-disguised desire for rapid advancement. But some of the people who knew her before she officially entered politics envisioned a different track for her.
"I always foresaw a future for her as a judge, but she went over to the dark side, as I say," said Roger J. Miner, who is now Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and for whom Gillibrand clerked fresh out of UCLA law in 1992 and 1993.
"She was always a balanced person," Miner added. "Never too radical in her beliefs one way or the other, that's why I always thought she would be a good judge."
Miner had only good things to say about his former clerk, who he called bright and diligent and talented.
"I swore her in for her second term of Congress," said Miner, who testified to her personnel skills.
"You still like Yankee bean soup?" he recalled her asking. "You used to send me out to get your Yankee bean soup."