February 2nd, 2010
11:15 AM ET
5 years ago

Colbert grills Ford over positions

Harold Ford, Jr. appeared on Comedy Central's Colbert Report Monday night.
Harold Ford, Jr. appeared on Comedy Central's Colbert Report Monday night.

(CNN) - As he continues to mull a potential primary bid against New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. defended what appears to be his shift to the left in the four years since he ran for Senate in Tennessee.

In an appearance on Comedy Central's Colbert Report Monday, Ford specifically defended his more liberal language on the issues of abortion rights and same-sex marriage. In his 2006 Tennessee Senate bid, Ford regularly referred to himself as pro-life and said he was an opponent of allowing gays to be married.

But with respect to abortion rights, Ford maintained Monday he has always been "pro-choice" and said he used the term "pro-life" in 2006 to describe his stances on separate issues.

"When I'd walk into forums, I'd look before the audience I'd say let's tell all the people we are really the pro-life ones, we are the ones who support education, and health care, and veterans benefits," he said. "I stand by that."

On same-sex marriage, Ford acknowledges changing his stance on the issue since his years out of politics, but said he now has a "better position than the president on this."

"It's a changed position, I would agree with you," he said. "If you are looking for politicians who are static in thinking, I'm not your guy."

Ford represented Tennessee's 9th Congressional District for 10 years before losing his 2006 senate bid by 3 percentage points. He is currently the chairman of the Democratic Leadership Committee, an organization formed in the 1980's with the mission of tapping Democratic candidates who embraced more moderate policies.

The young lady I'm looking about running against, Senator Gillibrand, who I know and like, she flipped on this and I might add President Obama is not in favor of marriage equality... So in some ways I have a better position than the president on this."


Filed under: Harold Ford Jr. • Kirsten Gillibrand
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Liberal Jerk

    Since when does Pro-Life mean anything but anti-abortion?

    February 2, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. jenn, philadelphia

    Is he just going to move from state to state until one of them elects him senator?

    February 2, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Dave

    You see, this is where a politician really does them self in. You move to somewhere more liberal and we're supposed to belive that you have suddenly changed. About like a certain Chicago politician that pretended to be moderate to ascend to the office of president. It just isn't so.

    February 2, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Mickey

    Ford is another GOP fake, just like Boehner, Castor, Jindal, Bachmann, etc.

    The Republican Party has devolved into nothing more than Domestic Terrorists. They want this country to fail.

    February 2, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. John From New York

    If you know and like Senator Gillibrand then help her get elected in November. We do not need a self serving primary challenge from you in NY. What are you possibly thinking???

    February 2, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. cathy

    Just another lying politician. Can he please return to Tennessee and leave us alone here in NY. He should not even be considering running for the U.S. Senate in NY. Guess if you can't win in your home state you latch onto another one!

    February 2, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Oh heavens. I thought I was sick of Gillibrand but this I-voted-against-it-before-I-voted-for-it doublespeak is rediculous. Please...Spitzer...we forgive you....come back and run!!!

    February 2, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    You right wingnuts have to take a break from Fox spies and lies (you decide). Obama has been relatively centrist, and still 40% of congress wants to have 100% input in all bills. It is OK not to like Obama, but wanting America to fail is a little too much like terrorism.

    February 2, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Right wingnut liar

    We only say we are pro-life, but in truth, we enjoy seeing people die, not only in unjust wars, but also, Americans without affordable health care.

    February 2, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. This one liberal I know

    Sorry, I don't buy Fords.

    February 2, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. windrider

    Just another GOP faker, talking out of all sides of his mouth. And a carpetbagger to boot. Maybe he ought to head to one of the red states to run for senator but first, he'd better get his political rhetoric together and decide which side of the fence he's on. Doesn't sound to me like he knows.

    February 2, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. FJM

    Why does the term "Carpet Bagger" keep coming to mind.

    February 2, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. GOP???

    Ummm, Mickey, Ford is a Democrat, not GOP.

    February 2, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. RH

    A "gay marriage" is like a bread sandwich – a misnomer. Homosexuals simply cannot be married to one another regardless of any action government may take. Now, that's not to say that their relationships are any less serious or real or worthy of respect. Indeed, committed homosexual couples should absolutely have all the same spousal rights as a married couple, but they are in no way entitled to term their relationships "marriages."

    February 2, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Orange Curtain, CA

    Another phony Democrat? No thanks it's bad enough with Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu and the other spineless sell-outs among the ranks.

    February 2, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    Liberal – the same time the republikkkans termed pro-abortion to mean the same as pro-choice.

    They say whatever sounds worse about anyone not purified by their party rules.

    February 2, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. Tim - Wilmington, DE

    "Yeah, I hate it when women have opinions of their own and I'm scared of the gays, and I'll tell my tea-bagger constituents everything they want to hear, but I'm running in a different state, one that doesn't take to kindly to things like that, and I'm trying to impress you guys, soooo.... yeah. Oh, and the president sucks, too."

    What a sleazy little twerp. He's a perfect fit for today's Republican Party.

    February 2, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. D.U.T.C.H.

    Mr. Colbert needs to watch his back. I don't think Jay-Z liked being called "Z" at the Grammy's the other night.

    February 2, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. ejamdmph

    I love watching Colbert but I turned it off last night in the middle of his interview with Ford, because Ford came across as such an odious, opportunistic snake.

    February 2, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    The far right and the far left, are both bad for the country. Moderates are what we need to get things done, in the best interest of all citizens.

    February 2, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Mesa Mick

    Pay attention now, this post is gonna cause some of you Talibangelicals and Roeder the Tiller Killer fans to have your heads explode...

    Ford's position on the issue is quite rational AND morally sound.

    You can be both pro-life – not for aboriton, and pro-choice – not for taking away someone's right to exercise free will in chosing what to do with their own body, simultaneously.

    For those that need a simpler explaination, that means you should encourage a person to go full term whenever it medically safe to do so but you will respect WITHOUT MALICE the rights of a person who chooses of their own free will not to.

    It's when you want to make your specific religions views the law of the land for everyone that you start to stink up the free will – free choice issue.

    Let the bleating and braying of the "true believers" about sin and hell and why a woman does not have rights over her own body begin...It's what they live for...

    February 2, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. Chris, The Old Dominion

    Mickey: Ford is a Democrat. Take a deep breath, calm down, and have a cream soda.

    February 2, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Jim

    I think Mickey is living on another planet. Ford is a Democrat, not a Republican. Do you honestly think the Dems would select a Republican to run the DLC? Earth to Mickey, this story is about DEMOCRATS, not Rebublicans. It's sad how the only argument you can come up with is to bash the Republicans. It shows lack of knowledge, insight and integrity.

    February 2, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. John in the Burgh

    @Mickey - Ford is a democrat and actually works for the DLC. Get your facts straight. You are probably faking as someone who believes in bi-partisanship.

    February 2, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Jean

    He is the bottom of the barrel. He could never be elected again in Tenessee or anywhere else he is such a pathetic liar.

    February 2, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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