Friday, January 29, 2010

Former President Bill Clinton Endorses Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in Her Likely Fight vs. Harold Ford by M Saul, D Saltonstall & C Katz - NY Daily News

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Former President Bill Clinton with Kirsten Gillibrand in 2006. McKnight/AP

Bubba's for Gilly.

Former President Bill Clinton endorsed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Thursday - a possible indication that the seat's former occupant, Hillary Clinton, approves too.

"President Clinton thinks she's doing a good job and he supports her," aide Matt McKenna said.

Bill Clinton's entrance would make him the newest big-name Democrat to throw his weight behind Gillibrand, who faces a possible primary from ex-Tennessee congressman Harold Ford.

It would also be "consistent with [Hillary Clinton's] role as a member of the Obama administration, which has strongly endorsed Sen. Gillibrand's candidacy," said Baruch College's David Birdsell. But she can't endorse a candidate as Secretary of State.

An aide said Gillibrand - who heartily backed Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid - "greatly appreciates President Clinton's support for her agenda fighting for core Democratic values."

The ex-commander in chief is focused on the Haiti crisis and hasn't yet scheduled any events with Gillibrand. But the Clinton seal of approval could still be a powerful tool for Gillibrand if Ford jumps into the race.

The endorsement is a bit of a blow for Ford, who like Clinton, once led the clubby Democratic Leadership Council.

The ex-President has long been a fan of the 39-year-old Ford, once calling him "the walking, living embodiment [of] where America ought to go in the 21st century."

Ford, for his part, suggested yesterday that Gillibrand may be going a little crackers.

After Ford dubbed Gillibrand a "parakeet" this week for parroting the Democratic Party line, she mockingly said on Twitter that if Ford were at the State of the Union address, he'd be sitting on the Republican side.

Ford, who toured a Westchester hospital and a Bronx pharmacy yesterday, said he hadn't seen Gillibrand's tweet, but "would imagine that some of the political pressure and things are probably getting to her and her team."

The blazing rhetoric - which is being lobbed before Ford has even declared he's a candidate - had state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs calling for a ceasefire on NY1 News.

"I don't like the name-calling. I don't think it's helpful," he said.