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Liberal Groups Gunning for Ford

By Kate Phillips at New York Times

Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. has yet to make official a primary bid against Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in New York. But by raising his hand and expressing interest, he has unleashed a torrent of opposition among liberal Democrats, bloggers and activists who are mining his every quote. Never mind that the New York media have yet to move into full-blown, old-style tabloid gear, either.

So far, the latest is a Web video put out by Brave New Films and Robert Greenwald, which clips together interviews and TV appearances Mr. Ford gave (mainly on Fox News) during his years as a member of the House from Memphis and when he ran in his home state of Tennessee for the United States Senate in 2006. The video calls him “Ann Coulter’s favorite Democrat” and runs through his previously stated positions on gun rights, abortion, former President Bush’s policies on military tribunals and warrantless wiretapping.

In addition to the new video, lots of other tidbits of news have been pouring (or spewing) forth about a potential Ford candidacy in his newly found environs of Manhattan (or perhaps Sag Harbor).

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who, as we all know, loves to stay in the thick of things and be wooed for his endorsement, has invited Mr. Ford to travel with him to Haiti. Our colleague Michael Barbaro writes of the invitation — which might have been extended to Ms. Gillibrand as well — at our sib-blog, City Room.

Senator Gillibrand, appointed last year to the seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, last night basically told Mr. Ford to bring it on. But some of his fellow lawmakers seem a bit lukewarm about Mr. Ford’s tenure in Congress, according to the latest from Jonathan Martin at Politico.

And for just a hoot of an aside, Maggie Haberman at The New York Post tracked down the female actress used in that widely denounced “Harold, Call me,” ad from 2006. She wishes him well.

Of course all these developments follow Mr. Ford’s interview with Mr. Barbaro earlier this week. Just search Harold Ford’s name on Twitter, and you’ll understand that swaggering New Yorkers haven’t stopped mocking the lifestyle facts he divulged this week.

That interview was a lesson in what not to say, the Tweeting furies have declared. To prove you’re a New Yorker, you don’t brag about helicopter flyovers that only let your tail rotor touch down on Staten Island or admit that you don’t ride the Lex Line ’cause it’s too cold to walk to the subway. (By the way, it is generally the quickest route from offices in lower Manhattan or home in the Flatiron district to any of the TV studios where screen-time punditry awaits. Of course, not if you’re traveling from Sag Harbor, but that’s another transportation nightmare.)

At least Mr. Ford hasn’t wondered aloud, as Al Gore once did during an introductory campaign visit to New York years before 2000, what a bialy was! The tabs had a field day.

That was way back then, when Ed Koch was mayor and would promote his favorite places to buy your morning bialy or bagel. Before mayors began cracking down on things like butter and salt.

But we digress. The point being New Yorkers are dogged defenders of the code. It’s a test.

They’re not alone. given that this is a statewide race, wait’ll upstate New Yorkers test his pronunciations of scenic places like, say, Skaneateles.