Monday, May 01, 2006

Harold Ford Jr. In Newsweek

When you're an out-of-work Southern governor with time on your hands and your eye on the presidency, driving a NASCAR pace car around a deserted speedway should probably come naturally. Or at least it did for former Virginia governor Mark Warner when he stumped for Harold Ford Jr. in April at the Bristol Motor Speedway in northeast Tennessee. Ford, like Warner a Democrat, is running for the state's open Senate seat; the trip to the track was his photo op, and he got to drive first. Ford looked nervous behind the wheel, though; passing a flock of flashbulbs, he was all clenched fists and tight shoulders, keeping his speed under 70. "I'm from the western part of the state," he said, a little defensively, after slipping from behind the driver's seat. "We race trucks."

But politics in Virginia, just a few miles to the north, had sent Warner to speedways often, and he knew the drill for navigating the track. Taking the pace-car wheel, he grinned coolly as he zoomed fast once, twice, three times around the track. "Man, governor, you have got a lead foot," a Ford aide called from the infield. Ford, too, sounded impressed: "I could take lessons from this guy."

Source: Newsweek