Apartment  properties Kirsten Gillibrand’s Fox News Town Hall: What to Watch For

Apartment properties Kirsten Gillibrand’s Fox News Town Hall: What to Watch For

Apartment properties ImageSenator Kirsten Gillibrand appeared on Fox News Sunday night for a town-hall event from Dubuque, Iowa.CreditCreditCharlie N

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Apartment properties ImageSenator Kirsten Gillibrand appeared on Fox News Sunday night for a town-hall event from Dubuque, Iowa.CreditCreditCharlie Neibergall/Associated PressSenator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York headlined a Fox News town-hall event Sunday, fielding questions on abortion, the #MeToo movement and gun control, and taking the opportunity to promote her flagging presidential candidacy on a network that frequently tops the cable news ratings.The event, moderated by the “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace and broadcast live from Iowa, was at times contentious. Asked by an audience member whether she believed third-trimester abortions should be legal, Ms. Gillibrand spoke instead about abortion rights in general, reiterating a promise to appoint only Supreme Court justices who would uphold Roe v. Wade and sharply criticizing the debate host, Fox News.Mr. Wallace cut her off, calling it impolite for her to disparage the network that was giving her an hour of airtime and suggesting that she was doing so to protect her “credentials” with Democratic competitors who refused to appear on Fox.While some of her rivals for the nomination, like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have indeed said they would not appear on the network because they believe it promotes bigotry and misinformation, a number of others, including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., have seized on the chance to present themselves to an audience that may not be familiar with their ideas.[The Fox News Primary? How Trump’s Favorite Network Became a Democratic Power Player]Abortion has emerged as a central campaign theme for Democrats in recent weeks as state legislatures have passed a series of highly restrictive laws. Ms. Gillibrand, long a prominent advocate for issues affecting women, has placed herself at the forefront of the debate, hoping that some primary voters may factor the new measures into their decisions.“Why should male legislators across this country decide when you are having children, how many and under what circumstances?” she asked Sunday, her voice rising. “I don’t understand it. It’s a human right. It’s about having bodily autonomy. It’s about being able to control your physical self.”She did not specifically address third-trimester abortions (which account for less than 1.5 percent of abortions in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), even when the audience member asked a second time. She argued instead — continuing the line of criticism Mr. Wallace had objected to — that the recent framing of the abortion debate, focused on late-term abortions and the incorrect idea that doctors commit “infanticide,” had created “a false choice and false narrative.”In another exchange, Ms. Gillibrand was discussing her enthusiasm about women in politics when Mr. Wallace interjected.“We want women to have a seat at the table,” Ms. Gillibrand said.“What about men?” Mr. Wallace asked.“They’re already there!” Ms. Gillibrand shot back. “Do you not know?”Ms. Gillibrand also took a moment, at Mr. Wallace’s request, to explain intersectionality, the concept that discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation and other factors can overlap in complex ways. She also promised that as president, “someone from the disability community will be part of my cabinet, because they will not be left behind.”On Saturday, Ms. Gillibrand rolled out a broad policy agenda for rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people that would include, among other things, undoing the Trump administration’s ban on most transgender people serving in the military, and creating an “X” gender option on government identification cards.In contrast to some previous Fox News town halls, the questioning in Ms. Gillibrand’s focused heavily on her past.VideoSenator Kirsten Gillibrand announced in January that she’s running for president in 2020. But since then, she has struggled to raise money and gain traction in what has become a crowded Democratic primary. Here’s what you need to know about her.CreditCreditScott Kowalchyk/CBSMr. Wallace asked about her choice in 2017 to speak out against Senator Al Franken of Minnesota after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct, a decision that has shadowed her. Mr. Franken had been a popular Democrat, and some in the party continue to blame Ms. Gillibrand for his departure.Ms. Gillibrand’s response was defiant. She made the decision to speak out, she said; Mr. Franken made the decision to resign.“If some Democratic donors are angry because I stood by the women, including a young woman who worked in Congress,” she said, “that’s on them.”Mr. Wallace also pressed her, multiple times, on an inconsistency in her record: When she represented a conservative House district in upstate New York, Ms. Gillibrand opposed gun control measures and had an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association. (She has an “F” now.)In campaign appearances, Ms. Gillibrand has said her early breaks with liberal orthodoxy gave her an understanding of rural and conservative voters that would allow her to win a broader range of support in a general election. That was the first answer she gave on Sunday, too.But when Mr. Wallace pushed, saying her shifting views seemed more a matter of politics than principle, she said she had concluded after becoming a senator that she could not base her views exclusively on the needs of her rural district. “It is not good enough to care only about your backyard,” she said.In one of the first questions of the night, an audience member asked Ms. Gillibrand what she would do to combat gun violence that previous presidents had not. The three points she suggested were longstanding goals of gun control advocates: universal background checks; a ban on bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and military-style firearms; and a federal law against gun trafficking. Ms. Gillibrand argued that she could achieve them by reducing the political power of the N.R.A.She said she would do so by creating public financing for campaigns, though the N.R.A.’s power is not quite so simple: It comes not only from direct donations to candidates but also from its ability to mobilize a reliable base of single-issue voters.In what has become a theme in the Democratic primary — in stark contrast to previous election cycles — Ms. Gillibrand did not hold back in denouncing the N.R.A., which she called “the worst organization in this country.”It was not until near the end of the event that Ms. Gillibrand was asked to comment on some of President Trump’s policies, namely immigration and his recent announcement that he would impose tariffs against Mexico.Ms. Gillibrand rejected the tariffs and described Mr. Trump as “more interested in a fight than he is in actually solving the problem.” She noted, as many Democrats have, that the president’s previous tariffs have hurt many farmers, including in Iowa.And she called Mr. Trump’s immigration policies — including his separation of families and rejection of asylum seekers — counterproductive.“We need to be able to fund the part of Homeland Security that’s focused on antiterrorism, cross-border crime, anti-gun trafficking, anti-human trafficking and anti-drug trafficking,” she said. “The funds that would normally go to fund those operations under ICE and under Homeland Security have been taken away, and they’ve been placed into other efforts, particularly for-profit prisons that are locking up mothers and children.”She called for a “humane” asylum application process, for immigration judges to be independent from the attorney general’s office, and for “comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.”Lisa Lerer contributed reporting.A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A9 of the New York edition with the headline: Gillibrand Talks Guns And Abortion In Hour on Fox. 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