Friday, August 26, 2005

Harold Ford Jr. Responds To GOP Attacks

The following release was issued by Congressman Harold Ford Jr. today in response to the many misleading stories that have been published by right wing blogs regarding the parole hearing for convicted murderer Phillip Britt:

"I do not support parole for convicted murderers. In this case, a mistake was made and corrected before the parole board decision was announced on Britt's parole request. Fortunately, the board denied the request. I spoke with the board chairman, who assured me before announcing the board's denial that he had no doubt that I was against Britt’s parole.

I have spoken to the victim’s family. In our conversation, I expressed my regret for the letter and assured them of my enduring support for them and all other victims of crimes, especially murder victims. If it were up to me, convicted murderers would get the death penalty, including Britt, Eric Rudolph and the BTK murderer.

But the rightwing attack dogs are at it again. They are not interested in the facts, only in politicizing the ultimate loss of a family to score political points. This represents a new low for even Team GOP and the right wing bloggers. Now, Team GOP and all other right wing bloggers should stop politicizing the tragedy and apologize to the deceased's family."

Additional Comments: Today's actions by the right wing blogs demonstrate yet again that they are bankrupt on ideas for this campaign. Instead of talking about the issues that face our nation and state, they are issuing misleading attacks and are playing on the emotions of a family who suffered a great tragedy.

I too call on the right wing bloggers who have politicized this issue to apologize to the deceased's family. However, my plea comes not as a supporter of Harold Ford Jr., but as a relative to a murder victim. About six years ago a member of my family (my uncle) was murdered, so I can relate to the pain they have felt throughout this whole ordeal.

Families of murder victims do not deserve to be used and abused by political opportunists such as this.

I sincerely hope that the right wing bloggers will retract their misleading attacks and express their regret to the family of victim of the case in question.

Follow Up: The following excerpts appeared in today's Memphis Commercial Appeal:

"I've read some of the right-wing attack blogs and I think it's insensitive (to the victim's family) for Republicans to make political capital out of this," Ford said Thursday. "I made a mistake, I've corrected it and I've apologized to the family. It's an unfortunate situation, but the reality is parole was denied."

"Ford wrote a second letter on Aug. 19 informing the parole board he does not support Britt's request for parole."

"He said he wished Britt had gotten the death penalty."

"I think he didn't have a clue about the crime Britt committed, which his staff didn't bother to research," Groseclose's sister Rebecca Easley said Thursday, adding that she appreciated Ford calling her this week to discuss the issue. "Hopefully, this is a very valuable lesson for him. I doubt that sort of thing will happen again out of his office."

"Ford said his office sends out hundreds of letters a week, but that he has now established stronger safeguards to ensure that his correspondence accurately reflects his position, including form letters that might go to the parole board."

"It's never happened before and I'm going to try my hardest to see that it never happens again," he said, "whether I'm in Congress or the United State Senate."

"It's part of the problem of sitting congressmen or senators running for office or higher office. They have a record of their own, but there's also other people speaking constantly on their behalf who might be called to task." (Political science professor Marcus Pohlmann of Rhodes College)

(More content added on 8-26-05. Date changed)