“On the one year anniversary of Katrina, Bob Corker attacks me with a false and misleading ad. He continues to lie about my record because I am fighting for change – a record that Washington Republicans have failed to produce. For six years now, Washington Republicans have been in charge of the House, Senate and the White House. Since 2000, Washington Republicans have run up the highest federal debt in the nation’s history, done nothing to lower gas prices or oppose oil executive compensation that for the recently retired CEO of Exxon Oil soared to over $400 million, have stood by while our borders are penetrated by more and more illegals and mismanaged the war in Iraq and on terrorism. Since Mr Corker can't defend Washington Republicans, he now wants us to believe that he will change the ways of the very Washington Republican insiders club he wants to join. In fact, the only way to break the ways of Washington is to vote for real change. My record is crystal clear. I’ve never voted for a budget that wasn't balanced. I’ve supported the strongest ant-illegal immigration bill in history. And opposed President Bush and Washington Republicans when they tried to sell our ports to the United Arab Emirates - home to 2 of the 9/11 hijackers.
“The voters have a clear choice - the mayor from Chattanooga who raised taxes twice, enriched himself with a insiders land deal and cut funding for cops and the 911 emergency response program or a new generation of leadership unafraid to stand up and fight for everyday hard working Tennesseans.
“If Mr. Corker thinks he can make the case for the failed record of Washington Republicans over the last six years, why won’t he debate me more than three times?”
DECONSTRUCTING BOB CORKER’S ATTACK:
“Most Liberal Member”? Not according to these third parties, including conservatives like White House Press Secretary Tony Snow:
- National Journal ranks Harold Ford Jr as more conservative than 90% of House Democrats: "In its annual rankings of U.S. House members, the National Journal placed Ford as the 21st most conservative out of 203 Democrats in the House," (Tennessean, 06/16/06)
- Congress Daily touts Ford’s moderate record and demonstrated ability to appeal to voters across racial lines: “Ford, who is black, has compiled a moderate record and demonstrated an ability to appeal to votes across racial lines – the latter of which will be key in a state whose population is less than 17 percent black” (Congress Daily, 08/05/05).
- Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal.com columnist John Fund says Harold Ford is a moderate Democrat “who votes for Republican tax cuts”: “The Democrats have done something very smart. In key states they are running much more moderate candidates than they used to. Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, who is pro-life, against Rick Santorum; Tennessee--Harold Ford, a Democrat who votes for Republican tax cuts.” (Wall Street Journal, 05/29/06)
- Chattanooga Times Free Press characterizes Ford’s centrist positions: “Rep. Ford opposes partial birth abortion, supports a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, backs a constitutional amendment banning flag burning and has taken what some characterize as a more conservative stance on immigration, saying that illegal immigrants should not be granted amnesty.” Chattanooga Times Free Press, 07/09/06
- John Kasich, former Republican House Budget Committee Chairman and 2000 candidate for the Republican nomination for President, says Harold Ford Jr is providing Democrats the road map for success by advocating lower taxes: "No Democrat running in a close race in America--no Democrat running in a close race is going to advocate higher taxes. That's just a fact. You look at Harold Ford's behavior in Tennessee, and that's a road map as to how to be a successful Democrat and give yourself a chance to win."--John Kasich. (Kudlow and Company, CNBC, 06/13/06)
- Andrea Hopkins, Bristol Herald Courier opinion editor, writes that the Democratic Party continues to be dominated nationally by its left wing, instead of those closer to the middle like U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr: “Polarized politics aren't limited to the right. The Democratic Party continues to be dominated (at least nationally) by its left wing. Thus, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy are its public persona, rather than former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, up-and-comer U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. or others closer to the middle. The seeds for a centrist movement are there. The right candidate could capture the imaginations of the marginalized middle and ride their irritation with the political status quo into office. It's bound to happen, sooner or later.” (Bristol Herald Courier, 06/12/06)
- Dick Morris calls Harold Ford is a new generation of African-American politicians with considerable appeal across party lines: “Ford, one of a new generation of African-American politicians with considerable appeal across party lines”… “Ford himself is a Southern version of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), a moderate who has the capacity to attract independent votes. Ford rejects the extreme liberal ideology of many other black Democratic congressmen. He has also, one hopes, absorbed the lessons his ethically challenged family has to teach him about keeping his nose clean. Harold Ford is exactly the kind of black Democrat whom moderates would love to love.” (Dick Morris, The Hill, 06/21/06)
- Ford is “a moderate whose appeal crosses racial lines”: “Ford seeks to be the first African American since Reconstruction to win a Senate seat in the old Confederacy. He is a moderate whose appeal crosses racial lines.” (Seattle Post Intelligencer, 03/18/06)
- Pro-growth, centrist, fiscal hawk: “In the tradition of other Southern Democrats who prospered in conservative times, Mr. Ford presents himself as a pro-growth, centrist, fiscal hawk. He voted for the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq (he has also called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld), for a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage and for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. NARAL Pro-Choice America considers him "mixed choice" on abortion; the National Rifle Association gave him a grade of C in the 2004 election. He also backs a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget.” (New York Times, 05/31/06)
- Tony Snow, former Fox News reporter and current Bush White House Press Secretary applauds Harold Ford Jr for his ability to reach cross both sides of the aisle: “Guys like Evan Bayh, guys like Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford on the House side, these are people who know how to reach -- cross both sides of the aisle. They're solid men.” (Tony Snow on The O’Reilly Factor, 11/08/04)
- Non-partisan Congressional Quarterly publication points out that Congressman Ford is a “pro-business” centrist who is working to move his party toward the center: “But in his ideas and voting record, Ford is much more clearly revealed to be a centrist. He is one of the few black members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of his party’s most fiscally conservative members, and also the pro-business New Democrat Coalition. He cast himself as a moderate alternative to California’s Nancy Pelosi when he ran for House minority leader in 2002, and has made it clear he would like his Senate campaign to be something of a referendum on pushing the party toward the center” (CQ Weekly, 08/15/05)
- Right-of-center Democrat able to generate considerable national attention and support: “Ford is a right-of-center Democrat who will generate considerable national attention and support” (The American Spectator Online, 07/15/05).
- Even Republican Senator Rick Santorum’s communications director says Ford ‘believes in the issues in a moderate way’: “Harold Ford…really believes in the issues in a moderate way.” Robert Traynham, communications director for the Senate Republican Conference and communications director for Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). (National Public Radio, 06/02/05)
- Conservative magazine, Human Events: Ford deviates from liberal script. The ultra-conservative online magazine Human Events Online admits that Ford “takes a walk from the left on certain issues: He favors prayer in school, an anti-flag-burning amendment to the Constitution, the balanced budget amendment, cutting the capital gains taxes and repealing the death tax. The Tennessee lawmaker also supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq.” (Human Events Online, 4/5/06)
- Ford “has not hesitated to vote with conservatives” says FOX News: “Ford, a familiar face on television news interviews and often called on as a spokesman for the party, has not hesitated to vote with conservatives on key issues such as banning partial-birth abortion or for prayer in school. He voted to give President Bush authorization to invade Iraq and for cuts in the capital gains tax” (FOX News, 03/10/05).
- The most recent National Journal vote ratings list Harold Ford Jr in the ideological center: “These are the members at the ideological center of the Senate and the House, according to National Journal's 2005 vote ratings. The members with composite scores closest to 50 are at the exact center of each chamber.—Harold Ford Jr.” (National Journal, 02/24/06)
- Ken Rudin, NPR political editor, says Ford has compiled a centrist record in the House: "Congressman Ford retains a completely clean image and has compiled a centrist record in the House." Ken Rudin, National Public Radio political editor, http://www.npr.org/news/specials/election2006/map/, 05/12/06
- Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida called Harold Ford Jr “one of the more conservative” members of his party and a “fiscal watchdog”. "Well I congratulate Harold, because he really is one of the more conservative and I would say level headed members of his party. He is a fiscal watchdog, he wants to make sure we don’t raid the coffers for when we really need it like in emergencies like this one (hurricane relief).", CNBC's Squawk Box, 09/23/05
- Merrill Matthews of the conservative think tank the Institute for Policy Innovation calls Harold Ford Jr more fiscally responsible than the former Republican Senate Majority leader Trent Lott:. "A statement from Sen. Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, about groups that hold members of Congress accountable for millions of dollars in special-interest spending, known as "earmarks." "I'm getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina." A statement from Rep. Harold Ford, a Tennessee Democrat: "First, institute a 'stand by your earmark' rule. If a member of Congress wants to insert an earmark into a bill at the final stage of the legislative process, he should be forced to sign his name to the provision and explain why it is in the interests of the nation as a whole." Now, which political party, Republican or Democrat, sounds more fiscally responsible? You must decide-come November." (Human Events Online, 05/04/06, http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=14566)
- Jackson Sun editorial calls Republicans attempts to label Ford as a liberal are an exaggeration and also says in fact Ford is a moderate to conservative Democrat: "As for his "liberal" voting record, I think that's an exaggeration. I mean, liberal compared to what? Certainly, Ford is a liberal if you compare him to the hard-right zealots currently in control of the Republican Party. But Ford is hardly a Nancy Pelosi liberal. In fact, I would put him more in the mold of another congressman from West Tennessee, John Tanner, D-Union City. He is, in fact, a moderate to conservative Democrat. That could play very well in a state that has become increasingly conservative in recent years." Jackson Sun Editorial, 03/05/06
- “One of the findings that most surprised Dr. Swansbrough was that U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tenn., backed President Bush’s positions half the time. Rep. Ford, who is black, represents an urban district that tends to be more Democratic, Dr. Swansbrough said” (Knoxville News Sentinel, 12/23/03).
- Mort Kondracke of Fox News called Harold Ford, Jr a conservative “new” Democrat: “Harold Ford, Jr., interestingly, is an African-American but he is also a blue dog, which is to say a conservative Democrat, and he's also a new Democrat.” (Fox News: The Beltway Boys, 08/14/00)