Friday, January 23, 2009

Kirsten Gillibrand and Grape-Nuts

During her first political race in the days leading up to the 2006 election, I had an opportunity to conduct a sit-down interview with the then-relatively unknown, long shot congressional candidate Kirsten Gillibrand.

We talked about Springsteen, Saratoga, and cereal.

"My father liked Grape-Nuts and we used to share the cereal in my house when I was growing up,' she said.
'What I really liked when I was very young, though, was Cap'n Crunch.
Later, as I got older it was Frosted Mini-Wheats,' said the Democratic candidate, reminiscing about her childhood, while in her campaign headquarters on Broadway in Saratoga Springs.

Her earliest concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center featured The Doobie Brothers. The most recent was last June's appearance of Bruce Springsteen.

One of her all-time favorites was seeing The Clash perform at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

'My first concert (though) was seeing Cheap Trick at the Palace. All the girls in the seventh grade liked them,' she recalled with a giggle that came right out of middle school.

She likes swing music, and hums a few bars of 'Fly Me to the Moon' as proof, and enjoys listening to Sarah McLaughlin and U2.

Gillibrand also holds a special affinity from her childhood of The Spinners, whose tune 'Rubber Band Man' she recites verbatim while accompanying herself with light percussive taps on a table top.:
'Hand me down my walkin' cane/ Hand me down my hat/ Hurry now and don't be late.'

Gillibrand sticks to the classics when it comes to films - 'It's A Wonderful Life' is her favorite - and describes herself as a book nerd when it comes to reading current volumes of political biographies.

As for TV, these days she said she watches '60 Minutes' and 'Meet the Press,' years removed from childhood favorites like 'Gilligan's Island,' 'The Partridge Family' and 'The Brady Bunch,' where her favorite, she said, was 'the middle one - Jan.'

And if there were a TV movie made about her life, Gillibrand said the actress she would want to portray her is Jodie Foster.
'She seems like me - serious, and policy-focused.'

Thomas Dimopoulos

November, 2006

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