Friday, October 07, 2005

Ford Jr. Addresses Sullivan Democrats

The guest speaker spoke at the Sullivan County Democratic Party's Jackson Day Dinner Saturday night, only he wasn't there.

U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., who'll be running next year for Tennessee's U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, addressed Sullivan Democrats at the MeadowView Conference Resort through a public address system linked to what sounded like a cell phone.

Ford said he was with his father, former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr., who had what was described as "a surprise procedure."

Harold Ford Jr. did not elaborate.

"I'm thankful it went well, and he is well, and unfortunately I had to be with him tonight and could not be there," Harold Ford Jr. said of his father.

Harold Ford Jr. told Sullivan Democrats that America needs Democrats more than ever since Frist is under Securities and Exchange Commission investigation for his sale of HCA stock and House Majority Leader Tom Delay is under indictment for campaign finance irregularities.

"The country is crying out for a different kind of leadership, a leadership that's accountable to them and a leadership that pays attention to their future needs, not only for Tennessee but for all of them," Harold Ford Jr. said. "When we consider how pathetic and how lackluster the response was to Americans who suffered through the hurricanes in the last three weeks ... one can only imagine what it would have been like had Al Gore or Bill Clinton or John Kerry or a Democrat would have been in the White House. ... One thing is for certain – we care about people."

Sullivan County Democratic Party Chair Janie Barnes stepped to the podium to speak about Harold Ford Jr. after the the audio connection ended before he could finish.

"We knew that your family comes first, and he needed to be there with his father," Barnes said of Ford.
On Saturday, Ford's campaign issued a prepared statement calling on GOP Senate hopefuls Bob Corker, Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary to denounce former U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett's "immoral comments regarding the killing of black babies."

On his syndicated radio show last Wednesday, Bennett said "you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down," but he added immediately that such a thing would be "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do."

"There has been not one word from the three Republicans running for the U.S. Senate," Harold Ford Jr. said in campaign statement. "As a matter of fact, not one Congressional or Senate Republican leader has denounced Bennett's remarks or demanded an apology. Is there a double standard applied by my three Republican opponents? I believe it speaks to one of the many differences between them and me when it comes to values and public service. Corker, Bryant and Hilleary should denounce Bennett's abortion remarks immediately."

Back at the Sullivan Jackson Day Dinner, a spokeswoman talked up the candidacy of Ford's likely primary opponent, state Sen. Rosalind Kurita of Clarksville. Kurita also couldn't make it to the dinner.

Kurita's spokeswoman, Janet Meek, said she would like to make "a charitable contribution" to the Securities and Exchange Commission. "I would sure love to help them take Frist down," Meek said.

Gov. Phil Bredesen, who is expected to run for re-election next year, told Sullivan Democrats at the dinner through a video address that Democrats define themselves through their actions.

"Since the days of Tennessee's own Andrew Jackson, we Democrats have defined ourselves not by what we say we're for, but instead by what we do," Bredesen said. "While everybody says they are for fiscal responsibility, Tennessee Democrats prove it by balancing budgets without smoke and mirrors. ... We've proved it over and over again. Our party truly is the party of the common man."

Source: The Kingsport Times News