(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."