Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Stephen Colbert on Harold Ford (and a new New York Senate poll)

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alpha Dog of the Week - Harold Ford Jr.
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr.'s increasingly likely primary challenge to appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in New York is drawing lots and lots of national press.

Last night, Stephen Colbert awarded Ford his "alpha dog of the week" award and, in the process, absolutely eviscerated the former Congressman.

Among Colbert's shots:

* "[Ford] believes that every American has the right to choose when it is politically expedient to be pro life."

* "Bravo Harold Ford for knowing who you are and who you might be in 15 minutes."

Of course, while Ford probably wasn't laughing at Colbert's rants, new polling done by Research 2000 for the liberal Daily Kos blog should make him smile.

The survey showed Gillibrand leading Ford 41 percent to 27 percent, data that suggests that if he runs (and can raise enough money to get his message out) he could have a chance at winning the Sept. 14 primary.

The survey also shows that Ford has room to grow as just less than half of likely Democratic primary voters (47 percent) don't know enough about him to offer an opinion. (Less than three in ten -- 28 percent -- didn't know enough about Gillibrand to offer an opinion.)

The problem for Ford -- aside from money -- is that some of his past positions on social issues are considerably more conservative than those of the average New York primary voter (as Colbert so brutally pointed out).

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 26, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Poll shows Democrats slipping, Obama dismisses impact
Next: Mike Pence says "no" in Indiana as Senate GOPers try to widen playing field


I think New Yorkers are cynical enough to trounce someone who takes them for deaf dumb and blind idiots.

As a lifelong New Yorker, I know I find his carpetbagging and attempts at revisionism offensive in the extreme.

Posted by: yowcow | February 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Or, Ford could switch to GOP and run (unless NY law prevents a switch like that before the election).

Posted by: JakeD | January 26, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

A Rasmussen poll showed if Ford ran as an independent against a generic Republican, Gillibrand lead 39%-34%-34%. Ford may have an option to run as an independent better than a primary against Gillibrand.

Posted by: reason5 | January 26, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

***I think Libs are predisposed to lie about just everything. If they ever had to tell the truth, they would never get elected.***

mission accomplished;
saddam hussein was behind 9/11;
abstinence education will reduce teenage pregnancies;
trillion dollar tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% will result in job expansion for the masses;
death panels.....

nah. republicans prevail.

Posted by: mycomment | January 26, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

What no mention of your lies about the deficit?

I think Libs are predisposed to lie about just everything. If they ever had to tell the truth, they would never get elected.

when the facts emerge, they dissappear into the woodwork faster than a liberal can spend other people's money.

Posted by: drivl | January 26, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Caribis wrote:
Ethical baggage? Carpetbagger? I thought these were the two defining qualities that New Yorkers looked for anymore in senators. And Ford isn't from Arkansas, but Tennessee is about as close as one can get.
NY is about ambition and money, and is a place where highly talented people are a 350 year old tradition of newcomers on the rise. Whereas the venerable Senators from Nevada (Ensign), Utah (Craig), Louisiana (Vitter), and the DC Madam's other GOP clients, etc. are just good old hound dogs with a huge zipper problem, male and female.

Human beings are what they are and Both parties have certain characteristics of human beings, and no monopoly. The problem is that the right has a selective memory, whereas Democrats admit their mistakes - Barney Frank's hooker at home boy friend, etc. Except for John Edwards, and that was a doozy, nothing like Congressman Dan Burton's love child also denied...
Your independent truth squad man

Posted by: enough3 | January 26, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone looked at the non-partisan 24 year summary, state by state, showing what each state paid in Federal taxes, and received back in Federal spending, year by year?

If you haven't looked at this clarifying non-partisan document then you are avoiding being enlightened and educated about this deficit topic being discussed. Read it and you'll probably want to save it and refer to it often!

Posted by: enough3 | January 26, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

caribis wrote:

I thought that with the Ford's long political history in Tennessee they had the inevitable ethical baggage. Being New York, is this a help or a hindrance? And does New York want another carpet bagger?


Ethical baggage? Carpetbagger? I thought these were the two defining qualities that New Yorkers looked for anymore in senators. And Ford isn't from Arkansas, but Tennessee is about as close as one can get.

Posted by: blert | January 26, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Liberals lying again about money:

What’s driving Obama’s unprecedented massive deficits? Spending. Riedl details:

President Bush expanded the federal budget by a historic $700 billion through 2008. President Obama would add another $1 trillion.
President Bush began a string of expensive finan­cial bailouts. President Obama is accelerating that course.
President Bush created a Medicare drug entitle­ment that will cost an estimated $800 billion in its first decade. President Obama has proposed a $634 billion down payment on a new govern­ment health care fund.
President Bush increased federal education spending 58 percent faster than inflation. Presi­dent Obama would double it.
President Bush became the first President to spend 3 percent of GDP on federal antipoverty programs. President Obama has already in­creased this spending by 20 percent.
President Bush tilted the income tax burden more toward upper-income taxpayers. President Obama would continue that trend.

President Bush presided over a $2.5 trillion increase in the public debt through 2008. Setting aside 2009 (for which Presidents Bush and Obama share responsibility for an additional $2.6 trillion in public debt), President Obama’s budget would add $4.9 trillion in public debt from the beginning of 2010 through 2016.
UPDATE: Many Obama defenders in the comments are claiming that the numbers above do not include spending on Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush years. They most certainly do. While Bush did fund the wars through emergency supplementals (not the regular budget process), that spending did not simply vanish. It is included in the numbers above.

CLARIFICATION: Of course, this Washington Post graphic does not perfectly delineate budget surpluses and deficits by administration. President Bush took office in January 2001, and therefore played a lead role in crafting the FY 2002-2008 budgets. Presidents Bush and Obama share responsibility for the FY 2009 budget deficit that overlaps their administrations, before President Obama assumes full budgetary responsibility beginning in FY 2010. Overall, President Obama’s budget would add twice as much debt as President Bush over the same number of years.

Posted by: drivl | January 26, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I thought that with the Ford's long political history in Tennessee they had the inevitable ethical baggage. Being New York, is this a help or a hindrance? And does New York want another carpet bagger?

Posted by: caribis | January 26, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse


The $1.3 trillion is the same deficit Bush had in his last year, not the $420 Billion he claimed. Bush always asked for "supplemental appropriation" for the 2 wars because he wanted to continue the fiction that he had a $429 B defict, not $1.3 Trillion. And the TARP< AIG, etc were all engineered by the Bush gang, not Obama. Get your facts straight.

This is fascinating and a must see non-partisan document:

The table shows1981-2005 amounts sent to the Federal Government vs. Receipts back from the Federal Government in Federal state spending.
The pattern generally is that red/GOP states get back much more in Federal spending than they pay in in taxes, whereas blue/Democratic states pay in more than they get back. Texas now is pretty neutral. 2005 is the latest data year.
California sent almost $50 billion more to DC than it gots back in 2005! New Jersey, NY, Illinois, etc. also were huge losers.
Mississippi gets a 102% bonus, Alaska, Alabama, North Dakota, etc. receive huge amounts, much more than they send.
So most solidly red states are on welfare, and the blue states are subsidizing the welfare states, pretty much year after year.
Plus blue states generally are more prosperous than red states!
Maybe this is why California, NY, NJ, etc are in such a huge budget bind - because the tax money leaves and goes to subsidize other states' economies?
Maybe the red states should stop lecturing Democrats on responsible spending and deficits and get their own house in order?
Democrats should consider using some of this information to strike back/respond to GOP and Tea Party attacks...

Posted by: enough3 | January 26, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Let me be CLEAR

Obama drives the deficit up to $1.3 TRILLION - which is 3.5 BILLION DOLLARS a DAY

And Obama wants to go to the State of the Union and say "Let's Freeze it at this level."



Posted by: 37thand0street | January 26, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Let's get to the root of the problem shall we:


Someone copying and pasting the same extended post in thread after thread? Nah, couldn't be.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 26, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Maybe somebody can help me understand why Ford thinks it's a good idear for him to run. He has no party backing, no media sympathy, and no real record of doing much of anything in NY other than living there a few years. I'm serious; I just don't get it.

Posted by: mbcnewspaper | January 26, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Harold, call me!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 26, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

sorry chrissie, but you are wrong. there's no way nyrs will elect harold ford once they get a look at his wall street devotion. he may be the choice of the villagers, but, then, you don't live in new york where we're not especially enthralled with the corporate @ss-kissers as elected officials.

Posted by: mycomment | January 26, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse


Harold Ford was raised in DC, not tennesee, and attended St. Albans - a private and highly rated prep school in DC. Any more questions? NYC blacks won't like him so much as he is just an opportunist and isn't a committed brother in politics, background or spirit like MLK, Rangel, Dinkins, or any of the great Harlem pols like Percy Sutton, Adam Clayton Powell, Al Sharpton (Brklyn) etc.

Posted by: enough3 | January 26, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I have met Gillibrand various times and she is impressive, and smart and talkative. All this talk about her positions being unpalatable to New York City folks and liberals is mostly just not accurate. So she hunts; most liberals are meat eaters, and she is against hand guns in cities.

Harold Ford is a flopping fish and doesn't seem to understand that the thing that makes NYC work and so interesting is that all classes, races, ethnicities, lifestyles, religions live and work in close, very close proximity - like riding the same elevator and subway seat, elbow to elbow and knee to knee. Hasidim talking with dreadlock types and executuve ladies, street vendors from Egypt with Wall Street customers.

Ford doesn't understand that elitists like him will remain outsiders. And being black doesn't get you a free ride since NYC is the least tense and race conscious city in the country.

Posted by: enough3 | January 26, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Lose the glasses, Cilizza. They make you look too "nerdy."

Posted by: fenarkleman | January 26, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The DOJ has been investigating the scandal, but only those cases that come to trial will yield more evidence and information about how the system of corruption works in Washington. The clock is running and most of the Abramoff era crimes are now 6 to 16 years old. It is getting late in the game to expect that many more prosecutions will come out of the DOJ—especially with the Supreme Court getting ready to rule whether it is Constitutional to charge people with honest services fraud, a charge use in most political corruption cases. Between this case and the recent corporations-can-flood-the-zone-with-as much-money-as-they-want ruling, the SCOTUS seems more committed to kleptocracy than democracy.

Posted by: drindl | January 26, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Once people in NY get to know Ford and how easily he can be bought, his number will fall through the floor.

Posted by: drindl | January 26, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Let's get to the root of the problem shall we:

U.S. Presidents since 1900 and their highest levels of executive or national legislative experience.

McKinley - Governor of Ohio

Teddy Roosevelt - Vice President, Governor of New York

Taft - Secretary of War

Wilson - Governor of New Jersey

Harding - U.S. Senator (1915-1921)

Coolidge - Vice President, Governor of Massachusetts

Hoover - Secretary of Commerce

Franklin Roosevelt - Governor of New York

Truman - Vice President, U.S. Senator (1935-1944)

Eisenhower - Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (World War II)

Kennedy - U.S. Senator (1953-1960)

Johnson - Vice President, U.S. Congressman and Senator (1937-1960)

Nixon - Vice President, U.S. Congressman and Senator (1947-1952)

Ford - Vice President, U.S. Congressman (1949-1973)

Carter - Governor of Georgia

Reagan - Governor of California

George H. W. Bush - Vice President, Director of the CIA, U.S. Congressman (1966-1970)

Clinton - Governor of Arkansas

George W. Bush - Governor of Texas

Obama - U.S. Senator (2005-2008)

Of these twenty presidents, fourteen had been vice president and/or governor of a state. Another two had held cabinet posts, and one had been Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World War II. The remaining three had never held such an executive position, but had been in U.S. Senate.

For those three of the twenty, the number of years in the Senate before becoming president were as follows:

Harding: 6 years.

Kennedy: 6 years.

Obama: 3 years.

Posted by: drivl | January 26, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The Cook Political Report now predicts Republicans will win 25-35 House seats in the fall. That’s up from 20-30 seats about a month ago and 15-25 seats a few months before that. To win the 40 seats necessary to flip the House to the GOP, Cook says the recent trend of Democratic retirements in battleground districts would have to continue for a couple more months

As for the Senate, Cook personally believes Republicans will pick up five to seven seats this year.

There’s a long time until November. Few people had any idea Scott Brown would pull off the Massachusetts stunner until just a couple weeks before the Jan. 19 special election. Conditions could get better or worse for Democrats. But so far President Obama and Congress have not changed course.

The last six months, since we began writing about impending Democratic problems in August, has been like watching a car wreck in slow motion.

We keep watching, expecting one of the drivers to swerve or hit the brakes, but they never do. The White House and Democratic congressional leaders have done nothing to halt the impending collision.

Posted by: drivl | January 26, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I think nliberals in NY will like Ford. After all, he is light skinned, he doesn;t talk in that Negro dialect, he is clean and articulate.

Yup, all those Democrat racists will find him passable. It will asuage their guilt as they include a black, a liberal and a southerner all in one big happy package.

Only one questions remains - where did he go to school?

Posted by: drivl | January 26, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Colbert on Ford?! I thought only Obama was bi?

Posted by: JakeD | January 26, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company