Gillibrand for President? New York senator appeals to center, left: Maggie Haberman By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Apr 29, 2013 12:25 PM CDT 25 comments Comments FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2010 file photo, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., debates in Troy, N.Y. Gillibrand was derided as a vulnerable flip-flopper when she was appointed to the Senate in 2009. Today,... (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File) (Newser) – Everyone's talking about Hillary Clinton in 2016—but the next time the Dems are choosing a candidate, Clinton's Senate successor might be their best bet. Kirsten Gillibrand has a reputation as a moderate, but as a senator since 2009, she's managed to win over skeptical lefties, too, writes Maggie Haberman at Politico. Just ask Howard Dean, who calls her "a first-class political mind." She's a Blue Dog Democrat who has carved a political career that gives her firm footing for a national run. During the 2012 election, Gillibrand fought for women candidates via her Off the Sidelines PAC, which pulled in $1 million to back women candidates. Meanwhile, she easily won election to a full term. Her work on both women's rights and against Don't Ask, Don't Tell "appeal to a huge swath of the Democratic primary electorate," notes Haberman. Meanwhile, despite some position changes, "she has remained center-left" on issues like business. "If Hillary doesn’t run, I think there’s going to be a legitimate woman candidate, and it’s likely to be Kirsten Gillibrand," Dean says. Click for the full piece.