Gillibrand Consolidates, Maloney Denies That Biden Asked Her to Desist

As part of her continuing effort to become primary-proof, Kirsten Gillibrand announced on the steps of City Hall today the

As part of her continuing effort to become primary-proof, Kirsten Gillibrand announced on the steps of City Hall today the support of two more Democratic members of Congress, Ed Towns and Nydia Velazquez.

"I'm extremely grateful," said Gillibrand, as she stood flanked by the two representatives in front of four reporters and one television camera.

She called Towns a leader in the House and said that Velazquez introduced her to Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. She also promised to work with Velazquez on immigration reform, an issue on which she has been moving left since her time as a representative from a conservative upstate district.

"There was a lot of reaction among the immigrant community" following her appointment, said Velazquez, who added that Gillibrand immediately reached out to her following her appointment as senator.

"Today I can say that I love this lady," said Velazquez, who then received a kiss on the cheek from Gillibrand as cue cards holding her talking points fell to the floor.

Towns then said that he has come to know Kirsten Gillibrand well (he pronounced her name, repeatedly, with a hard G) and praised her for being "family-oriented" and added that he would work "to make sure that she was elected again to the Senate."

Last week, Gillibrand announced the support of Al Sharpton and Representative Gregory Meeks. Last month, Barack Obama personally asked Representative Steve Israel, who was arguably the most formidable potential threat to Gillibrand's seat, to withdraw his consideration, which Israel duly did. Last week, Vice President Joe Biden called Representative Carolyn Maloney, who continues to threaten Gillibrand with a primary.

On Sunday, Maloney told me that she did receive the call from Biden but said he did not "personally" ask her not to run.

"I have great respect for Vice President Biden," Maloney told me at an event for a Jewish charity at the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown. "We had a very cordial conversation."

Asked whether he asked her not to run, she said, "He personally did not." And when asked whether he expressed support for Gillibrand in the call, she said, "He did not express his support for anyone, and I don't repeat private conversations from anyone. He was in my district and he gave me a call. I appreciate it."

Maloney said she was "still considering" a run. "And that's about all I'm going to say."

Gillibrand Consolidates, Maloney Denies That Biden Asked Her to Desist