News & Politics

Gillibrand picks up local endorsements, including Bill Clinton; Ford impresses Brooklyn politicians


Last week, Bill Clinton was Harold Ford Jr’s model for “what I came to know a Democrat should stand for.” Well, turns out what Bill Clinton stands for is Kirsten Gillibrand. Matt McKenna, a Clinton aide, said Thursday “President Clinton thinks she’s doing a good job and he supports her.”

The Ford camp’s outreach to LGBT new yorkers isn’t going as well as he’d hoped either.

During a Friday event on the City Hall steps in which gay Democratic elected officials endorsed Gillibrand, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick strongly questioned Ford’s bona fides as a supporter of gay marriage. A few pullquotes:


“Other people have suggested that they could do a better job. At least in one instance, that individual twice – twice! – voted for a constitutional ban on the right of same-sex couples to get married – a constitutional ban that Dick Cheney didn’t support.”

It’s pretty hard to be the right of Dick Cheney but apparently, someone thinks that that makes him more in step with New York. I don’t think so.”


Harold Ford hasn’t gone from voting for the so-called Defense of Marriage Act to now saying he’s for marriage quality. He has a record that he twice, twice – a position Sen. Schumer never had, and a position President Clinton never had – voted to amend the Constitution.

He twice said he wanted that document to now be a document which denied a particular group of Americans a right.

Cooper (who considered his own run against Gillibrand)

Said Ford ran on “anti-gay” issues in Tennessee, said his two votes for the “hateful homophobic federal marriage amendment” were “unconscionable and unforgiveable.”

Ford takes issue with the implications of that. According to spokesman Davidson Goldin, the possible candidate’s conversion to supporting gay marriage came from a change of heart, and “[a]ny suggestion otherwise is misleading and just another example of what party insiders will do to protect the unelected senator, Kirsten Gillibrand.”

That kind of thing upsets Harold Ford Jr, because that’s not how politics are supposed to work. Certainly, he had no-one on the inside to protect him when he ran for the congressional seat being vacated by his predecessor, long-time incumbent Representative Harold Ford Sr.

Speaking of Tennessee, Harold Sr. is reportedly keeping the fire of robust competitive politics lit back there. According to a rival candidate, Ford Sr. worked the refs to clear the field for his brother, Joe Ford, to be appointed Mayor of Shelby County, TN in November when the previous Mayor departed. Previously, Mayor Ford served on the County Commission from 2002, when he was appointed to his deceased brother’s seat. He is said to be considering running for re-election as an incumbent.

Anyway, back to Harold Jr and New York. It’s not all downside.

At a lunch with political insiders in Brooklyn last week, he impressed Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, formed an instant long-time friendship with Assemblyman Vito Lopez, and reminded State Senate Majority Leader John Sampson of his own conversion on gay marriage. He managed to squeeze in a power lunch up in Buffalo with popular Democratic Mayor Byron Brown, who back in the day was considered a leading candidate for appointment to the seat eventually handed to Gillibrand.

Also, Al Sharpton wants us to know that the Al Sharpton endorsement may be in play, depending on what “Harold” decides to do.

Side note to Mr. Ford: the bird that repeats things mindlessly is a parrot. Calling a woman a parakeet means, um, something else. You might want to look it up. Cheers.


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