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Kirsten Gillibrand to Guest on ‘Colbert’ as She Moves Toward Presidential Run

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Stephen Voss for Variety

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) will be a guest on “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday, leading to speculation that she will use the platform to announce that she is forming a presidential exploratory committee.

To announce on “Late Show” would be a bit unusual, as campaigns have usually debuted with carefully scripted web videos, as Hillary Clinton did in 2015, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) several weeks ago in announcing the formation of her 2020 committee. But it is not new. John Edwards announced that he was running for president in 2004 in an appearance on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”

But if she announces on Colbert, Gillibrand would draw on the more relaxed atmosphere of late-night comedy and on the most-watched of all talk shows. She’s comfortable in the format — as she was most recently on Colbert on Nov. 9 and also guested on the show in February. Tuesday will be her third appearance on the show.

As the Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere wrote, “GIllibrand’s media strategy, beginning with a relationship with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show that grew out of their work on the 9/11 health bill, has always been much more rooted in late night comedy shows than cable news hits.”

Colbert has been booking a series of possible 2020 presidential contenders, not just Gillibrand but Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in November, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) last week.

Gillibrand and Warren are expected to join a large field of Democrats Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Julian Castro announced a presidential bid over the weekend, and former Representative John Delaney launched his campaign in 2017. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) appeared on Van Jones’ CNN show on Saturday and said she planned to enter the race.