Friday, August 04, 2006

Road To Victory 2006: Ford Kicks Off General Election With President Clinton and a Few Thousand Friends!

Wow! That is about all I can say after yesterday!

As you guys all know, yesterday was primary day here in Tennessee. I am proud to say that Congressman Ford garned 80% of the vote statewide, which is great!

Folks really came out to the polls and sent a message that they were ready for change.

That message was reinforced last night big time, when thousands of Ford supporters from all over the state gathered in Nashville at LP Field to celebrate victory with the Congressman and a few of his friends.

Some of the notables included singer John Legend, Titan great Eddie George, Phil Bredesen, Ned McWherter, the entire Tennessee Congressional Delegation, and former President Bill Clinton!

The place was rocking and folks were ecstatic! You could feel the energy and the hunger for change in the air. It was just beyond words!

Below I have compiled coverage of the event for you guys to read to get a grasp of what took place: (Click photos for larger view)

WBIR-TV Knoxville: Bill Clinton joins Harold Ford, Jr. for Election Night campaign appearance

Congressman Harold Ford Junior said tonight in Nashville that he's prepared for a spirited fall campaign for the U.S. Senate focused on the issues.

Ford, a Democrat, shared the stage with former president Bill Clinton and other Democratic leaders.

He said he hopes the general election campaign won't be marked by the negativism he said was apparent in the Republican primary.

The Tennessean: Bill Clinton says Ford is America's future

Former President Bill Clinton spoke Thursday in Nashville at an Election Night rally and fund-raiser for U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr.

In a 25-minute stump speech for the Memphis-based Democrat, Clinton said he sees Ford as the future of America and the future of Tennessee.

"He will have a positive impact ... " Clinton said at the event, held at LP Field in Nashville. "He's smart enough and experienced enough to know what he doesn't know as well as what he does."

Clinton said he wants the young Memphis Congressman in the Senate, not because he's a Democrat, but because: "He'll be a hard-core thinker, his brain will be thinking every day."

For more on this story, pick up tomorrow's Tennessean.

WKRN: "Ford Addresses Democratic Rally"

To the sound of Big and Rich, Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. stepped up to the podium Thursday night at the Road to Victory Rally at LP Field.

Ford, along with Governor Bredesen and former President Bill Clinton were among the Democrats in attendance and in support of Ford’s campaign.

Watch the video here!

The Tennessean: Corker wins GOP primary, will face Ford

Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker won the Republican nomination to succeed Bill Frist in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, easily besting two former congressmen in a bitter primary battle.

Corker will face U.S. Rep. Harold Ford of Memphis in a Nov. 7 general election that has brought national attention and could tip the balance of power in the Senate. Ford easily won the Democratic primary against nominal opposition. He kicked off his general election campaign by joining former President Bill Clinton at Nashville's LP Field.

"One reason I want Harold Ford to become senator is, he hasn't been there long enough to forget that two and two equals four," Clinton said.

Liberadio: Live Blogging

1) A lovely benediction kicked things off as the sun began to set, thankfully. Erika Dunlap belting out the Star Spangled Banner next and then 3-time Grammy award winning artist, John Legend, performed a handful of songs.

The crowd is extraordinarily diverse (which is something to love about the Democratic party) with a good amount of the young people in attendance (Harold Ford on

And there’s beer!

2) They’ve thought of everything! A giant screen tuned to Channel 5 for up to the minute election returns.

“We’re all here to show our support for a great West Tenneesean,” says Governor Bredesen and then introduces, Ned McWherter.

McWherter: “If you meet Harold Ford you’ll vote for him. He can’t meet everyone in Tennessee but we can. Go back to your respective communities and counties and get core democrats to work it out and then each out to all independents.”

It’s been about 5 minutes with the current Governor and the ex-Governor sitting on stools on the stage waiting. Is Harold Ford late?

Another 5 minutes and the Congressional delegation is introduced: Bart Gordon, Lincoln Davis & Jim Cooper.

5 more minutes then it’s Bill Clinton and Harold Ford.

3) The Harold Ford-Bill Clinton “Road to Victory Rally” message was a one-two punch of true Democratic principles: fairness, equality, opportunity, prosperity and security for all - not just a few. Some highlights: When you’re a real patriot you try your hardest to correct things when things go wrong. Republicans believe that the primary purpose of government is to concentrate power into the hands of a few and we believe that the purpose of governement is to build strong, middle class families. They honestly believe that the source of our country’s greatness is in its wealthy elite and its corporations and we believe that the source of our country’s greatness is people like you. They run a a politics of division and we run a politics of unity.

Congressman Ford also treated us to a bit of nostalgia. “If you are a student you have to remember when Tuition less;” he said, “if you are a working person you have to remember when wages were going up; if you are a true patriot you have to remember when America was at peace and the world looked up to America; if you are a parent you have to remember when crime rates were coming down.”

mmmmmmmmmmm….yes…the 90’s were awesome.

Then our last great president charged us with the task of making sure that Harold Ford wins the November election. “This crowd looks a lot different than if we had this rally 30 years ago,” President Clinton said, “And our candidate looks different too.” He continued, “I want Harold Ford to go to Washington not because he will be a hard core Democrat but because he’ll be a thinker.” It’s up to us, he said, to convince our fellow Tennesseans that Harold Ford is the best candidate. “And you can’t spend all the time talking to people who agree with you,” he added.


Chattanooga Times Free Press: Corker, Ford battle set

Republican Bob Corker and Democratic U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. today are set to hit the campaign trail as they prepare to face each other in the Nov. 7 general election after winning their parties' nominations Thursday.

Former Chattanooga Mayor Corker had won 48 percent of the vote in the Republican U.S. Senate primary late Thursday with 82 percent of precincts reporting. His opponents, former congressmen Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary, conceded the election and urged their supporters to work to get Mr. Corker elected.

Mr. Corker told supporters late Thursday that they are "only halfway up the mountain."

"If you like politics, the next 96 days in Tennessee are going to be lot of fun," he said. "I will be a leader for change based on conservative principles."

Mr. Corker said there are "vast" differences between him and Rep. Ford.

With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Rep. Ford had 79 percent of the vote, leading four opponents in the Democratic primary, according to unofficial results.

At a Nashville event attended by former President Bill Clinton, the congressman from Memphis said he hoped the campaign will be ?spirited and vigorous and focused on issues and substance.?

"We will need Republican and independent support, as well, to be victorious in the fall," Rep. Ford said.

Rep. Ford on Thursday called for Mr. Corker to participate in seven debates. Mr. Corker said he looks forward to debating Mr. Ford.

Mr. Bryant called Mr. Corker and conceded defeat shortly before midnight Eastern time.

"Bob Corker is going to need our help," he later told supporters.

Mr. Bryant said Rep. Ford and Mr. Clinton are "plotting how to take over the United States Senate? and that if Rep. Ford is elected, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., "will tell him how to vote."

Mr. Hilleary told supporters at a party in Murfreesboro, Tenn., that he called Mr. Corker to congratulate him on a "great victory," according to a transcript of his speech.

"He beat us fair and square," Mr. Hilleary said. "He's going to win in November, and I'm going to do everything I can to help him."

Mr. Clinton said at Rep. Ford's rally that he was concerned the Congress is dominated "by a narrow wing" of the GOP.

That is why "I really, really, really want Harold Ford to win this race," Mr. Clinton said.

Rep. Ford said he that while he respected all three GOP candidates as individuals, he has "not always been pleased with the kind of campaign that they have run.?

"I only hope and pray that the kind of division and hatred and negativism that defined their race in the summer won?t carry over into the fall," he said.

During the GOP primary, Mr. Corker characterized his two major opponents as "ineffective congressmen" who went on to become registered lobbyists.

Mr. Bryant and Mr. Hilleary asserted Mr. Corker is not a true conservative who could not be trusted because of his record on abortion and taxes.

Mr. Corker previously said abortion was not a government issue, a position he has now said was wrong. He has said he now opposes abortion except in the cases of rape, incest and to save the mother's life.

Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, which had endorsed Bryant, said Thursday that to support Mr. Corker "would be an abdication of our leadership."

"Bob Corker is pro-abortion. Harold Ford is pro-abortion," he said. "There will be other races for us to devote our resources to."

Mr. Corker overwhelmingly outraised Mr. Bryant and Mr. Hilleary. Mr. Corker raised more than $7.2 million through July 14, including $645,000 he gave to his campaign, according to Federal Election Commission documents. Since filing that report, Mr. Corker has contributed more to his campaign, bringing the total amount of self-contributions to almost $2.2 million.

Mr. Bryant raised more than $2.227 million through July 14, while Mr. Hilleary raised more than $2.237 million through the same date, according to FEC documents.

Political observers said Rep. Ford could be a formidable opponent because he has national status and fund-raising prowess.

"The race will get a lot of national attention just because Harold Ford is a moderate African-American Democrat running in the South,? said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato. "Potentially he could make history."

National pundits have said the race?s outcome could help determine which party controls the Senate. Democrats need to pick up six seats to regain control, and some analysts have speculated that Tennessee could make the difference.

The race is for the seat held by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2008. Dr. Sabato said Sen. Frist?s seat needs to remain in Republican hands in order for him to have any success at a White House bid.

The time has come guys!

Now until November, we have to be out front fighting for Congressman Ford each and every day like President Clinton said last night.

And we just can't talk to those who we know already agree with us and support the Congressman; we need to talk to Republicans and independents as well, because we are going to have to have their help to win this election. However, I am confident, because I know just like us, at the end of the day, they too yearn for change and real leadership.

Whether it be putting up yard signs, raising money, passing out literature, going door to door, blogging, etc., it all helps!

We know Bob Corker is going to have the money to spend in this race. However, the one thing his money can't buy is the right vision for Tennessee.

Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is the candidate in this race that has the real vision that will uplift everyone, while putting our state and nation back on the right path.

It is time we had a U.S. Senator that shared our values, represented us well, and made us all proud to call him our Senator.

I can honestly say that I know Harold Ford Jr. will do all three when he is elected our next U.S. Senator!

96 days to go my friends! Let's get the party started and elect a new generation of leadership this fall!

    214 Days

    Days of Congressional Inaction on Ethics

    Above is the number of days that have passed since Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman.

    It is also the number of days in which Congress has failed to pass an ethics reform bill that would limit private travel, ski and golf junkets, and would call for a full disclosure of expenses by lobbyists on members of Congress.

    It is time for Congress to step up and pass an ethics reform bill that would do all of the above. In addition, it is time to end the pork barrel spending system as we know it and establish an independent ethics commission that would review ethics complaints against members of Congress.

    I am proud Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fighting for that reform!

    Read Congressman Ford's call for reform of the House rules here!