Thursday, December 15, 2005

Harold Ford Jr: Tennessee's 'Hope'

On Wednesday Roll Call reported, "Former President Bill Clinton helped Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D) raise more than $300,000 for his Senate campaign Monday night at an event in New York. Clinton was the special guest for the fundraiser at the Core Club, located on E. 55th St., where guests paid $1,000 to $4,200 for admission."

This is not the first time President Bill Clinton, who is arguably our nation's most popular and respected public figure, has came out in support of Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (Note: Clinton won Tennessee both times he ran for President)

I found the following speech which President Clinton gave in Memphis during the 1996 election, when Ford was first running for Congress.

In his speech, Clinton basically called Harold Ford Jr. one of our nation's future great leaders.

Boy was he was right!

As one of the most brilliant leaders and minds in the last century, Bill Clinton knows something special when he sees it.

Please take the time to read the following excerpts of what President Clinton had to say about Harold Ford Jr. almost a decade ago and think about how much of what he said back then can be applied to this election and the situations we currently face.

"But when candidate Harold Ford was up there speaking tonight, I said, thank goodness that there's a young person and a young generation who believes that, yes, he got where he did partly because he worked hard, partly because God gave him a good mind, partly because God made him an attractive person, partly because he grew up in a family where he could learn about politics. But he doesn't want this job just to sit and warm the seat, or for the privilege of having power. He thinks he's there to help other people live out their dreams, too. (Applause.)

So when I was a little boy living with my grand-daddy, I don't believe he ever did work a five-day week in his life, I think he always worked a six-day week, full-time. I don't believe he ever worked an eight-hour day. I don't believe -- but he never thought that that meant he wasn't supposed to be for all of us working together to try to give every child a good education, or to try to grow the economy to where it benefited everybody.

And I've been mystified these last several years at this debate. And I think one of the reasons that the other fellows had so much success is they never had a chance to show people what they meant. And then they gave us that budget that did what it did to Medicare and Medicaid and education and the environment. And then we showed you could balance the budget without doing all that, that we could do the responsible, tough, disciplined thing and still go forward and go forward together.

So that's really the great question. That's why I talked about building a bridge to the future, a strong bridge and one that's wide enough for us all to walk across. This is the greatest country in history. This is the greatest country in history. (Applause.) We started out not even living up to the -- of the Constitution. We nearly tore the country apart to get rid of slavery. We spent another hundred years trying to get rid of the vestiges of it. We worked hard to give women more opportunities. Now we're dealing with such diversity that your wonderful Olympic gold medal winner who is over here was part of an Olympics -- (applause) -- I want you all to think about this -- was part of an Olympics that had 197 different nations represented. In the biggest country in America, Los Angeles County, there are representatives from 150 of those places. In your country, in one county.

So I say to you, if you believe that we can go forward and that our best days are still ahead, it's really worth investing in the life and career and growth and the spirit of a young man like Harold Ford, Jr. because he is basically carrying out what I think has always been America's best sense of itself. And I think now we understand that government is neither the problem, nor the solution, it's just a reflection of who we are at any given moment in time. And we've got to make it work to do what it can do so that we can make the most of our own lives."

I could not agree more with what President Clinton said in that speech.

As the President said, Harold Ford Jr. believes he is there to help others reach their hopes and dreams in life.

He believes in having a government that works for everyone, not just a select few.

That is why he is running for the U.S. Senate.

Lets make sure our best days are still ahead of us by electing Harold Ford Jr. our next U.S. Senator in 2006!