(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."
(CNN) - A top political adviser to President Obama will headline a fundraiser later this month for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York Democrat who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Plouffe will appear at a $250 per person breakfast at a New York City law firm on Feb. 22, a Gillibrand campaign aide said. The aide added that the campaign specifically asked Plouffe to appear at the fundraiser.
Last month, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs made clear the Obama administration's support for Gillibrand.
"I think the White House is quite happy with the leadership and the representation of Senator Gillibrand in New York," Gibbs said at a press briefing. "And as many are in the DSCC, we're supporting her reelection."
The DSCC, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is the political arm for Democratic senators.
Washington (CNN) – A day after New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sharply criticized potential Democratic primary challenger, Harold Ford Jr., she hit him again just hours before President Obama's first State of the Union address.
"Looking forward to the #SOTU tonight," Gillibrand wrote on her Twitter account. "If HF [Harold Ford] were here, he would probably be sitting on the Republican side."
Earlier this month, Ford, a former moderate Democratic congressman from Tennessee, announced that he was considering a primary challenge to Gillibrand.
Washington (CNN) - New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand accused potential primary challenger Harold Ford Jr. Tuesday of being beholden to Wall Street interests, a day after he charged that she was following in lock step behind national Democratic leaders.
"I dont (sic) know who Harold Ford thinks I am, but I will not be pushed aside by him and a handful of his big banker buddies," Gillibrand said in a statement released by her campaign that described Ford's party affiliation as (I-Wall Street). "As for his childish name calling, I would not allow that kind of name calling from my 6 year old son and I certainly dont (sic) think it is appropriate for someone who says they want to be a Senator from NY. Fords attacks dont (sic) hurt me, they do hurt the people of New York by distracting us from the real economic challenges that middle class families are facing."
On Monday, Ford sharply criticized Gillibrand in a radio interview on Talk 1300 Radio in Albany. "Understand that you're not elected to the United States Senate to be a parakeet or to take instructions from the Democratic leadership," said Ford, a former Tennessee congressman now living in New York.
Earlier this month, Ford announced that he was considering a primary challenge to Gillibrand, a former congresswoman appointed by Gov. David Paterson to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton. The former first lady turned senator resigned her seat to become President Obama's Secretary of State.
Full text of statement after the jump:
(CNN) - A second straight poll of New York State voters indicates that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York holds a double digit lead over a potential Democratic challenger.
But the Siena Research Institute survey, released Monday, also indicates that more New Yorkers have an unfavorable view of Gillibrand than have a favorable view.
Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee last week announced he's considering a primary challenge to Gillibrand, a former congresswoman from upstate New York who was was named a year ago to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton, who stepped down from her Senate seat after being confirmed as secretary of state.
Gillibrand is running this year to serve the final two years of Clinton's term. Ford, a former five-term congressman who narrowly lost a 2006 bid for the Senate in Tennessee, now lives in New York.
According the the Siena poll, Gillibrand leads Ford 41 to 17 percent in a hypothetical Democratic party primary match up, with 37 percent undecided. Gillibrand had a 19 point advantage over Ford in a Marist College survey released Friday, with one in three voters undecided.
But some other results in the poll also spells trouble for Gillibrand.
(CNN) - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York holds a double digit lead over a potential Democratic challenger, according to a new poll.
Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee this week announced he's considering a primary challenge to Gillibrand, a former congresswoman from upstate New York who was was named a year ago to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton, who stepped down from her Senate seat after being confirmed as secretary of state. Gillibrand is running this year to serve the final two years of Clinton's term. Ford, a former five-term congressman who narrowly lost a 2006 bid for the Senate in Tennessee, now lives in New York.
A Marist College poll released Friday indicates that Gillibrand leads Ford 43 to 24 percent in a hypothetical Democratic party primary match up, with 33 percent undecided.
"Gillibrand has an early lead, but she still has a lot of ground to cover," says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of Marist Institute for Public Opinion. "She's below 50 percent against Ford, and a third of Democrats is undecided. Her approval rating among Democrats statewide is only 31 percent."
NEW YORK (CNN) – Former New York Gov. George Pataki wouldn't say Monday if he is interested in challenging Kirsten Gillibrand for her U.S. Senate seat next year - but didn't rule it out, either.
Asked if he's considering a bid, a coy Pataki wouldn't go any further than: "People have talked to me about a lot of different things."
Pataki's comments came as he was giving the Republican National Committee's response Monday to President Barack Obama's economic speech at Hudson Community College in Troy, New York.
A recent Marist College poll of New York State voters suggests that Pataki leads Gillibrand 48 percent to 44 percent in a hypothetical matchup in next year's Senate race. Pataki's lead in the survey is within the poll's sampling error.
(CNN) – Peter King made it official Monday.
The Republican congressman from New York State announced that he won't take on Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand next year when the appointed senator runs for the final two years of Hillary Clinton's term.
After Clinton announced that she would step down from her seat to become secretary of state, King - the last remanning GOP congressman from Long Island, a former Republican bastion - hinted that he might make a bid for statewide office. But in recent months, most political observers wrote off any actual run by King.
King says it came down to money.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Calling her a "rising star in the Democratic caucus," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday that he's backing Kirsten Gillibrand's bid to retain her Senate seat in 2010.
“I am endorsing Senator Gillibrand’s campaign because she is a rising star in our caucus,” Reid said in a statement. “As a working mother with two young children, Kirsten brings unique perspective to the challenging issues we are debating in Congress. In just six month, Kirsten has introduced a number of new and innovative legislative approaches to the problems many families face.”
Reid picked Gillibrand over Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York lawmaker who plans to challenge the sitting senator in next year's Democratic primary. Gillibrand, a former congresswoman, was appointed to the Senate in January to succeed Hillary Clinton.
(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton will attend a fundraiser for a congresswoman from New York City who's challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in next year's Democratic primary.
The fundraiser is for Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Her campaign's chief strategist, Joe Trippi, tells CNN that Maloney has made her decision to run against Gillibrand and will soon formally announce her Senate bid.
Gillibrand, a former congresswoman from upstate New York, was named by Gov. David Paterson in January to succeed Hillary Clinton.
The White House has been hoping to prevent a primary fight next year in New York by trying to clear the field for Gillibrand. Steve Israel, another congressman from New York who was considering a run against Gillibrand, decided against such a bid after lobbying by the White House.
Former President Clinton has not made an endorsement in the race, but his appearance at a Maloney fundraiser will raise some eyebrows. Clinton also attended a fundraiser for Gillibrand earlier this year.