The Essence of Politics

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Looking for liberal we'll like voting for

By Wendi C. Thomas
September 28, 2006

There are more than five weeks to go before the midterm elections, and I'm already sick of the ubiquitous Senate campaign ads on TV -- especially those from the Johnny one-note former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker.

I know, I know, he's just doing the Republicans' well-practiced three-step shuffle -- repeating buzz words, labeling Democrats as evil people and ignoring the massive failures of the last six years. The spots that feature Corker's overbearing mother are quickly becoming as annoying as the "Head-On! Apply directly to the forehead!" ads.

For this voter, who isn't exactly a fan of the Democratic candidate, either, this name-calling blather is not scaring me off the fence -- especially not the ads that accuse Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of being a liberal.

Really? That's wonderful, if unsubstantiated, news.

I, like my colleague columnist David Waters, find liberal to be a quite delightful term.
Liberal, as in generous, not stingy. Open-minded and willing to listen, if not agree, with a range of viewpoints, not given to sticking fingers deep into ears at the first sound of an opposing opinion.

Full of true compassion for life, not pseudo-compassion for the unborn. You know, the kind that opposes anything but abstinence-only sex education, rails against a woman's right to choose, then derides women who have more children than they can support.

So every time a Corker campaign ad brands Ford as Tennessee's "most liberal" congressman, I get giddy at the possibilities.

The conservative, Republican-dominated Congress hasn't done much I'm proud of since President Bush took office.

Come Nov. 7, there's a chance that the Democrats could gain enough seats to right this listing ship.

For those of us who think a course correction is in order -- a recent poll shows 69 percent of Americans say the nation is off-track -- a vote for Ford would appear to be the wise choice.
Except that Ford is fighting mightily to cast himself as virtually identical to Corker.

Ford, like Corker, is against gay marriage. Ford, like Corker, is against a woman's right to choose.

Corker says he's tough on crime. Me too, Ford says. Corker says he supports the military's efforts in Iraq. Same here, Ford says.

The most significant difference between the two that I can see is on another hot-button issue: immigration reform, where Ford has demonstrated far more common sense than Corker.
The Chattanooga mayor calls simply for a stronger border and immediate deportation of undocumented workers.

How naive, not to mention devastating to California farmers, who this season watched tons of fruit rot on the trees and on the ground, because migrant workers couldn't get into the state for harvest time.

If -- and this is a big if -- we are really so outraged at the strain some claim that taxpaying, hardworking, opportunity-seeking undocumented immigrants put on our schools and our healthcare system, then there's a fairly simple fix: Round up all the employers who hire illegal immigrants and put them in jail.

In 1999, during the Clinton administration, the government levied fines against 417 companies that hired illegal workers. Guess how many companies the Bush administration levied fines against in 2004? Three.

The Republican jaw-flapping on immigration reform is just that -- a tired, meaningless song xenophobes love to hear and Corker loves to sing.

The most honest message in the litter of Corker's ads is this: The Republicans are getting scared. This is a race they could lose; the latest Rasmussen poll shows Ford just 6 percentage points behind the Corkster.

For Ford, the liberal except when he isn't, and for progressives who wear the L-word proudly, that's a campaign tune we could listen to all night

New Ford ad hits Corker for ‘freezing’ workers’ pay

NASHVILLE — A new ad from Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. attacks his GOP rival, millionaire and former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, for "freezing the pay" of city police and firefighters five years ago.

But the 30-second spot, a spoof of the television program "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," isn’t a laughing matter with the Corker campaign, where workers say the ad is wrong.

Corker campaign manager Ben Mitchell called the charge "100 percent, verifiably false" in an interview Wednesday night. "He should stop running the ad and do what is right, and that’s admitting the facts are wrong and apologizing and taking the ad off the air," Mr. Mitchell said.

An examination of Chattanooga budget ordinances for fiscal years 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 shows all have language granting police and firefighters some type of pay increase. But Ford senior consultant Michael Powell said the ad is accurate. He said the charge is based on Mr. Corker’s recommendation to City Council members in the fiscal year 2002 budget to suspend a step-pay program that granted annual raises to police and firefighters.

"He did freeze the step in pay and, rather than getting anywhere from a 3 1 /2 to a 5 per cent increase in their step pay, they received 2 percent, and on top of that their health care premiums went up and they never during the rest of Bob Corker’s tenure as mayor were ever made whole," Mr. Powell said. "They lost that money. Bob Corker cut their pay."

In the ad, an announcer, sounding much like "Lifestyles" British host Robin Leach, says "Bob Corker lives in a 30-room mansion, is worth over $200 million and owns six SUVs. As mayor he took three pay increases ... while freezing the pay of Chattanooga’s police and firefighters."

Mr. Mitchell said then-Mayor Corker had nothing to do with the pay increases for himself because they automatically are linked to what Hamilton County’s mayor is paid. The suspension of the step-pay plan came at a time when newly elected Mayor Corker was trying to deal with a $17.3 million shortfall that City Council members have blamed on his predecessor. According to news accounts, the city raised property taxes by 48 cents, cut positions and boosted employee contributions for health insurance.

Sgt. Ken Neblette of the local Police Benevolent Association said in an August 2001 interview that a regular step increase was 3.4 percent to 4.9 percent and that health insurance premiums for family coverage went up $600 a year. Depending on an employee’s salary, the Corker budget proposal gave raises ranging from 2.62 percent to 4.95 percent, with employees at the lower end of the scale getting higher percentage increases, according to the account.

Mr. Powell said that if "you were expecting anywhere from a 3 to 5 percent increase and you got 2 percent, it is a cut in pay." He said Mr. Corker should "apologize" to city employees.

Police officers said at the time that the suspension of the step-pay program could hurt recruiting. The Chattanooga Times Free Press later quoted then-police Chief Jimmie Dotson saying he would ask the mayor to revisit the plan. "Our whole compensation system is based around the step-pay plan," he said. Corker campaign manager Mr. Mitchell pointed out that the next year Mayor Corker pushed through a 7 percent increase for the employees.

The ad comes as the Senate race, which could help determine control of the Senate, continues to heat up with both campaigns attacking each other and national party organizations jumping into the fray, as well. Two independent polls show the race a statistical dead heat.

In an assessment of the contest issued Wednesday, Jennifer Duffy with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report wrote that Rep. Ford "has made a race that seemed (the) Republicans to lose a truly competitive contest and has won over even the most dubious members of his own party in the process."


Compiled by Nashville correspondent Andy Sher

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Harold Ford Jr. is attacking Republican rival Bob Corker over the millionaire’s "fabulous lifestyle" and for "freezing the pay" of Chattanooga police and firefighters as mayor. The 30-second spot, airing statewide and on cable TV, is a spoof of "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous." It is titled "That’s Cold." He’s got a 30-room mansion. He’s worth over $200 million. Took three pay raises for himself. And yet nothing for police and firefighters. As senator, who do you think he’ll look out for?" the ad asks. Corker campaign officials say the ad, produced by GMMB Creative, is false, and they offered up city budget resolutions that show the employees got pay increases each year. The Ford campaign says it was based on Mr. Corker’s suspension in 2001 of a step-pay program that granted automatic raises. The ad announcer’s voice sounds like that of "Lifestyles" host Robin Leach. The ad features a shot of Mr. Corker’s home in Riverview, purchased for $2.4 million back in 2000. It also shows a smiling Mr. Corker with pictures of a policeman and firefighters standing with ice on them.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Senate and Governors Editor Jennifer Duffy assesses the political outlook in the Senate.
TN SEN: Ford Defies the Conventional Wisdom

September 27, 2006

In some Democratic quarters, the idea that this open Senate seat where Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is retiring is within their reach has been a hard sell. After all, with the exception of winning the 2002 gubernatorial contest, Democrats have had something of a dry spell here.

Republicans won both Senate seats in 1994 and President Bush won the state in 2000, defeating favorite son Al Gore. Bush improved his performance in the state in 2004. But, Democrats are hardly in the wilderness. In addition to the governorship, they hold five of nine congressional seats and have a seven-seat majority in the state House; Republicans have a two-seat majority in the state Senate. Even so, there are some Democrats who are only now coming to believe that they even have a shot at this Senate seat.

Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., the Democratic nominee, has been running a strong race. He has traveled the state to stake out moderate positions on a host of issues from homeland security to immigration. He is not afraid to talk about his faith or values. He has worked hard to inoculate himself against one of his biggest vulnerabilities--his rather controversial family. And, he has proven to be a strong fundraiser, although he has come under some criticism for how fast his campaign has spent its resources.

Most Republicans and more than a few Democrats believed that former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker posed the biggest threat to Ford. Corker is conservative, but it is difficult to label him as a right-wing ideologue. In other words, he is more than acceptable to moderate voters. He also has some pretty deep pockets and spent liberally to win the nomination. The three-way primary was very contentious, but Corker ran a nearly textbook-perfect race, which gave Republicans hope and Democrats concern going into the general election.

One can't help but feel that Corker and his campaign thought they would get some breathing room before the general election started. That might have been a reasonable assumption a few election cycles ago, but campaigns move at a faster pace now. That Ford didn't face a challenge for the nomination pretty much guaranteed that he would be ready to start the campaign soon after the August 3 primary and he was on the air almost immediately with an ad railing against tax breaks for "big oil."

The media also played a role in jump starting the general election with reports in mid-August that a lawsuit against Corker had been reinstated. The lawsuit focuses on an access road constructed on environmentally sensitive land. The road led to a new Wal-Mart Super Center in 2003 and Corker's company was involved in the project. Democrats were also pounding Corker to release his tax returns. And finally, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee started airing an ad that resurrected charges raised during the primary that Corker had neglected Chattanooga's 911 emergency call system as Mayor. While raised some questions about the accuracy of some of the charges made in the spot, it clearly got some traction, as did another ad linking Corker to "big oil." The DSCC is currently hammering Corker on immigration, pointing to an Immigration and Naturalization Service raid on one of Corker's construction sites in 1988. It appears that the undocumented workers were employed by a subcontractor. It didn't help that the contentious primary appears to have taken more of a toll on Corker's favorable ratings than originally thought.

The Corker campaign appeared caught off guard by the news reports and the television spots; they clearly weren't expecting the DSCC to go on the air so soon. In fact, there is a general feeling that perhaps Corker believed that winning the nomination would be the hardest part of the race.

Corker and the Republican National Committee have been on the air attacking Ford and trying to paint him as a liberal. Corker has criticized Ford's votes against the Patriot Act, accused him of voting to allow the early release of prisoners when facilities are overcrowded and alleged that he is soft on illegal immigrants. Republicans have also labeled him as "Tennessee's most liberal congressman."

The GOP's efforts to tar Ford as a liberal do not seem to be gaining much traction. The Ford campaign has released two polls since the GOP primary. The first Benenson Strategies survey (August 10-15 of 1,118 registered voters) had Ford up by two points, 44 percent to 42 percent. In the second poll (September 21-23 of 605 likely voters) he led Corker, 45 percent to 39 percent.

While relying on two partisan surveys to draw a conclusion about a race isn't standard operating procedure, there is some evidence that the numbers are probably accurate. First, Republicans have not released competing polling data or even whispered it off the record, suggesting that their numbers are probably similar. Second, the RNC's early presence on the air on behalf on Corker, who is both a strong fundraiser and personally wealthy, indicates a degree of nervousness.

Republicans don't really argue the point that Corker has been on the defensive since the primary. They do say, though, that Corker will have a significant financial advantage from now until November that Democrats won't be able to rival. They also convey the impression that they haven't even started using the heavy artillery against Ford.

This all may be true, but the fact remains that Ford has made a race that seemed Republicans to lose a truly competitive contest and has won over even the most dubious members of his own party in the process. In fact, it would be fair to say that Democrats have gone from dubious to energized about their prospects here.

American Prospect: Whatever It Takes

Tennessee’s Harold Ford and Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey may not be running campaigns to swell liberal breasts. But they’re clearly doing what’s necessary.

By Harold Meyerson
Issue Date: 10.03.06

On a sweltering Saturday morning in August, on the grounds of the old Rutherford County Courthouse just outside Nashville, where a Bible in a glass case is permanently turned to John 3:16, a young politician of considerable urbanity is convincing a crowd of his fellow Tennesseans that he’s just a New Age version of a good ol’ boy.

Harold Ford Jr., only 36 but already a 10-year veteran of Congress and now the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate seat that Majority Leader Bill Frist is vacating; a graduate of St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School; and acclaimed by People magazine in 2001 as one of the 50 most beautiful humans on the planet, begins his remarks by sharing some assessments with the crowd. Bart Gordon, the local Democratic congressman who introduced him, is the member of the state’s congressional delegation “who best understands the interplay of politics and policy,” Ford says, while Jim Cooper, the congressman from Nashville proper, “is the most cerebral.”

“Cerebral,” Ford repeats. “I just learned that word,” he says, with a quick smile that acknowledges the lengths to which he’ll go to perpetuate traditional Tennessee folkways, even a folkway so dreary as the one stipulating that no pol should be caught in public using a $3 word.
Ford knows the folkways of Tennessee because he’s the scion of one of the state’s foremost political families, the Memphis Fords. His father was the congressman from Memphis for 22 years before standing down in 1996 so his son could succeed him. A Ford has been elected to the Memphis City Council regularly since 1971. The Memphis Fords are black pols in a heavily black city, but the younger Ford seems cut from different cloth. Plainly, he has been planning a statewide candidacy since he first entered Congress, and probably well before that. His entire political identity has been shaped by the fact that Tennessee has been growing steadily more Republican, conservative, and religious for two decades, and by the fact that only 16 percent of its residents are black. Ain’t nobody gonna out-Tennessee him in this race.

Ford is just one of several prominent Democratic senatorial hopefuls running in swing or red states this year -- the list includes Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, James H. Webb in Virginia, Jon Tester in Montana, and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania -- endeavoring to craft a message that doesn’t estrange potential supporters by stressing the party’s liberalism on cultural issues. Some (Brown and Casey particularly) emphasize economic populism. Some (Ford and Casey in particular) accentuate cultural conservatism. Their success, or lack thereof, at the polls this November could provide their party with some badly needed direction in its quest to reach beyond its blue-state base.
* * *
Ford is a campaigner in a class by himself. What he offers the Rutherford County crowd is a dazzling mix of brilliance and buncombe, high-tech and low crap, delivered with the perfect pitch of the most gifted campaigner the Democrats have had since (I’m not kidding) Bill Clinton. He affirms at a baseline level the purposes of government, which, in their underfunding of veterans’ programs, the Republicans seem to have forgotten. “Shame on us if we can’t send leadership to Washington that does two basic things -- take care of the least among us, and take care of those who sacrificed for us,” he says. He assails Republicans for letting spending get out of control: “Balancing the budget [something he supports a constitution amendment mandating] is a good old Tennessee tradition that ought to be practiced in Washington as it is in Nashville.”

Noting that he is traveling the state in a bio-diesel-powered pickup truck, he assails President Bush and the Republicans for having no alternative energy policy and for compelling American motorists to fund Islamic states that may be funding terrorists. Though he’s supported every free-trade agreement since he’s been in Congress (except, just recently, CAFTA), he is running as a born-again nationalist: His campaign was one of the first in the nation to run ads against the Dubai port deal. “We need to control our borders,” Ford says, and proceeds to conflate immigration and security issues and the multiplex and Beslan: “We don’t want to learn that terrorists came across the border and exploded our movie theaters, or that they’ve blown up 25 schools in the Midwest.”

“I’m with the president when he’s right,” Ford continues. “I supported him when he went to Afghanistan. I supported him when he stood up to Saddam. But I stood up to him on the Dubai ports deal; I don’t support amnesty for illegals.” (Ford actually voted for the Sensenbrenner bill in the House.) “Bob Corker [the developer and former mayor of Chattanooga who is his Republican foe] will say, ‘Yes, yes, yes, Mr. President,’ whether the president is right or wrong. I will bring Tennessee values to bear on these decisions.”

“They’re gonna say I’m a liberal,” he says. “I believe marriage should only be between men and women. I don’t know any better; that’s how I was brought up. We didn’t have any choice. Where I grew up, when you awakened on Sunday, you went to church. … I learned the faith thing the old-fashioned way! Me, a liberal? I chair the faith-based caucus!”

What’s remarkable is that through all this -- staking out a position on immigration to Bush’s right, arguing that our troops should stay in Iraq but help partition it into three separate states -- Ford has the crowd, which after all consists largely of Democrats and substantially of liberals, utterly entranced. He is throwing everything he can at Bush, at Frist, at Corker, from the right, from the left; he’s Tennessee, and the Republicans are the Beltway, and the Democrats gathered at the courthouse are eating it up. They know the state has not elected a Democratic senator since 1988; they know that their own Rutherford County just elected its first Republican county executive ever; they don’t know how to stop Tennessee’s rightward drift.

Ford’s answer to the drift is, to some extent, to follow it. His line of attack isn’t entirely devoid of economic populism, but he cloaks these themes in a broader assault. When he assails the Republicans for their obeisance to big oil, he starts with the outrage of gas prices, then mixes in the outrage of global warming and the outrage of sending money to states that help terrorists. But he was one of a small number of House Democrats who voted for the bankruptcy bill; he’s supported lowering the taxes on capital gains and estates; he supports raising the retirement age for Social Security to 70. The seniors I speak to at the courthouse, though, are willing to cut him a lot of slack, even on the question of retirement age (“so long as there’s a special provision for seniors who can’t work,” says one retired school teacher).
* * *
Like Harold Ford, Bob Casey, the Pennsylvania state treasurer and the Democratic challenger to embattled Republican Senator Rick Santorum, is a celebrated junior. His late father, Robert Casey Sr., was governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995. But while there are real political differences between the two Harold Fords -- senior is a conventional African American liberal, junior more a quintessential neo -- no such gap separates the Caseys. The old governor was an anti-abortion social conservative and down-the-line trade union economic liberal. So is his son. The only question is whether the younger Bob has the elder Bob’s aptitude for winning the big statewide race. Casey remains poised to unseat Santorum, but his lead had diminished by late August from double digits to roughly 5 percent or 6 percent. A Keystone Poll showed that 69 percent of Pennsylvanians had seen Santorum’s ads while just 43 percent had seen Casey’s -- an imbalance soon to end, since Casey has enough money now to be on TV for the duration of the campaign.

The terrain on which Casey is campaigning isn’t all that different from Ford’s Tennessee. Surprisingly, Pennsylvania hasn’t elected a Democratic senator since 1991 -- Harris Wofford, who lost his seat to Santorum in the 1994 Republican blowout. At the presidential level, Pennsylvania remains a Democratic state, but by ever-narrower margins in each of the past three elections. While Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are Democratic strongholds, and while the upscale Philadelphia suburbs are increasingly Democratic, Republicans clean up in the rest of the state -- the so-called “T” (named after its shape), a terrain of long-shuttered steel and textile mills, of small farms and small towns whose Main Streets look pretty much the way they did in the 1940s.

On an uncharacteristically cool August Saturday, Casey is campaigning at the county fairs and union halls in the most isolated area of the state, the mountainous terrain north of Harrisburg. “The difference between the two parties [in this part of the state] isn’t over abortion or gun control,” says Shannon Bilger, the stout young man who chairs the Mifflin County Democratic Party. “It’s economics. Unlike Santorum, Bob doesn’t support trade agreements that send jobs overseas.” The toll of such agreements is apparent that afternoon when Casey speaks at a steelworker union hall in Lewiston, which is a converted single-family home -- appropriate digs for a local whose factory has downsized from 4,500 employees to 700 over the past several decades.

Not that Casey dwells on abortion or guns in his speeches or ads. His positions -- anti-abortion, pro-gun, but in both cases more moderate than Santorum’s -- are well known, since he’s run statewide four times over the past decade (he served two terms as state auditor before being elected treasurer two years ago). This frees him to devote the lion’s share of his speeches to themes of economic fairness.

To a considerable degree, Casey’s message is the same as Ford’s. “We have families that have to travel great distances in rural areas to get their groceries, to get to work, and you’re paying record prices on gas,” he tells the crowd, speaking without a microphone, earnestly and engagingly but with little of Ford’s distinctive fire. “Washington’s answer is to give oil companies more subsidies. We should take those billions of dollars and place them in smart renewable and alternative energy.” He goes on to note that Santorum has been the second largest congressional recipient of oil industry money. And, like Ford, he points to the potential of clean energy industries to create new jobs.

Casey calls for a more activist government than Ford. Noting that Pennsylvania has lost 181,000 manufacturing jobs under Bush, and that 714,000 Pennsylvanians have lost their health insurance during that time, he advocates fair-trade agreements, a higher minimum wage, and more affordable health care, to be funded by restoring higher tax rates on the wealthiest Americans (an increase that Ford supports, too, though he places the emphasis on the need to balance the budget).

Strikingly, Casey says absolutely nothing about the war in Iraq. When a local TV reporter asks him about it later that afternoon, Casey begins by saying how American security in the 21st century requires a doubling of the size of our special forces. Then -- like Ford and most Democratic candidates in contested races this year -- he criticizes Bush’s conduct of the war (and excoriates Santorum for his failure to hold Bush accountable for it), but declines to set a timetable for withdrawal of forces.
* * *
Do Casey and Ford have the right stuff? How much social conservatism do Democrats need to recapture the ground they’ve lost with white working-class and rural voters? How much economic populism? And whose support do they lose in the process?
The bulk of Democratic polling this summer has found that the party’s most effective messages concern the economy rather than the war. In surveying white rural voters in particular, a poll conducted this July by the firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for the Democracy Corps found that these voters’ support for Republican House and Senate candidates, to whom they gave a 17-point edge over Democrats in 2004, had diminished to a nine-point lead today, with Democrats actually ahead in the Midwest. Not surprisingly, the poll concluded that to win a hearing from these voters, Democrats needed to affirm such issues as the sanctity of marriage between men and women and not to advocate a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. That done, Democrats could make hay by running on the themes of “stagnant incomes, rising prices, and American jobs being sent overseas.” Pollster Stan Greenberg told me that the survey found that adding a populist spin to the Democrats’ overall economic message did nothing for it among the general public, but boosted Democratic support by 5 percent to 7 percent among white rural voters. The most effective messages had “a strong nationalist component,” Greenberg says, “very strong on issues of trade and immigration.”

With his support for the House immigration bill, Ford certainly is well positioned to exploit his state’s nationalist, if not xenophobic, tendencies, though his support for Wall Street on the trade and bankruptcy questions means that he won’t be sounding some populist themes he otherwise could trumpet. (His closeness to Wall Street also is chiefly responsible for his having raised more than $750,000 in campaign funds from the New York City area by the midpoint of this year.) Then again, Ford will be able to count on heavy black and Democratic base turnout in any event.
The problem for Casey, says Paul Begala, a Casey campaign consultant, comes in such areas as the affluent suburbs of Philadelphia, “where a lot of Clinton Republicans are pro-choice. Montgomery County women are cross-pressured voters” between their social liberalism and economic centrism. Fortunately for Casey, Santorum’s position on choice is so much more extreme than his that Casey holds a clear lead in polling of the Philadelphia suburbs.
If Casey and Ford win -- and are joined by other Democratic candidates like McCaskill and Tester -- they will certainly shift the party’s Senate caucus somewhat rightward on cultural issues. By the same token, Casey, particularly if he’s joined by such fellow economic liberals as Ohio’s Brown and Bernie Sanders in Vermont, could well shift the caucus to a clearer advocacy of fair trade. The trade-off is, for many Democratic liberals and constituency groups, not terribly appetizing. But if Democrats are to become competitive again, it is most likely necessary.

© 2006 by The American Prospect, Inc.

New Democratic Poll Has Ford in the Lead

A recent Democratic poll on the Senate race showed Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D) leading former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker (R), 45 percent to 39 percent.

The Benenson Strategy Group poll was done for Ford’s campaign. An August survey done by the same firm showed Ford with a 2-point lead, 44 percent to 42 percent.

The survey also found Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) with a 61 percent to 21 percent lead over state Sen. Jim Bryson (R) in the gubernatorial contest.

The latest poll of 605 likely voters was conducted Sept. 21-23 and had a 3.9 percent margin of error.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee went up on TV with a new ad Tuesday hitting Corker for talking about cracking down on illegal immigration after undocumented workers were arrested at one of his construction company’s work sites. Ford also has been running ads hitting Corker on the immigration issue.

“The INS found illegal workers on Bob Corker’s construction site while he looked the other way,” an announcer says in the DSCC spot.
— Lauren W. Whittington

POLITICS: Roadblock

Memphis Flyer:

A newly ascendant Jake Ford runs into trouble during the first 9th District debate.

Untitled Page

“It was a technical knockout, no contest. It was embarrassing,” said erstwhile Democratic primary candidate Tyson Pratcher about the first real debate Monday night between the three remaining candidates for the 9th District congressional seat — Democratic nominee Steve Cohen, Republican nominee Mark White, and independent Jake Ford.

In the judgment of Pratcher (and almost every other unbiased observer), Cohen, a state legislator with a quarter-century’s worth of experience, was the “winner” of the hour-long encounter at the Central Library, sponsored by the League of Women Voters. And there was no doubt who the loser was, at least relatively speaking — first-time candidate Ford, who needed only a credible outing, on top of two prior strong performances, to be able to mount a serious challenge for the seat being vacated by his illustrious brother Harold Ford Jr.

The GOP’s White had his moments, especially at the close when he uttered a passionate call for partisans of all causes to dissolve their differences in a common effort to find solutions to basic problems — including, presumably, the educational deficiencies and high mortality rate of the district that White had been previously emphatic (and empathetic) about.

And there was no doubting White’s sincerity in expressing such home truths as “A country without borders is not a country” and “We need fathers in homes.”

But it was Cohen who best articulated specific answers, as when, in response to a question about Iraq, he deftly communicated a sense of domestic urgency: “We had shock and awe. … We destroyed their country, and now we’re spending our time rebuilding that country when our country needs rebuilding. … Memphis has places like New Orleans. They just haven’t been exposed by the awful hurricane that New Orleans suffered.”

There are two kinds of people, Cohen said. “There’s one kind, the ruling class, that sends people to war and another kind that goes to war, and the kind that sends people to war don’t seem to think about it or see and hear those people.”

The veteran state senator also made proposals for an uncompromising ethics code at the federal level and denounced both the Patriot Act and a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage as doing damage to the Constitution.

There were times Monday night when Jake Ford seemed the self-assured, even eloquent candidate who, in the preceding several days, had deftly fielded questions during a radio interview with friendly host Jennings Bernard and then later had seemed both knowledgeable and compassionate at a public seminar on health care.

He had even sounded worldly-wise, as he periodically did Monday night. Answering a question about ethics reform, Ford said, “As we all know, we live in a system that operates under capitalism. People are always going to find a way to advance their agenda.”

And Ford’s opening and closing remarks were fluent enough. It’s what came in between that was problematic. Here and there he was admirably to the point — expressing support for civil unions, for example, and for a timetable for extricating American forces from Iraq.

What was most dumbfounding about his performance Monday night was not just that, on three separate occasions, he was forced to confess that he had no answer to the rather basic question being asked but that one of those questions concerned itself, in the most general possible sense, with Medicare — a subject area clearly and directly related to things discussed in last week’s health-care forum, when the candidates (excluding Cohen, who was being feted by Cybill Shepherd at a fund-raiser) had been presented the questions ahead of time.

Ford’s response: “You would almost have to know a lot about the system itself, and at this time I do not have all of the answers here.”

Though that was a non-answer to the question at hand, it seemed a possible answer to something various observers had been speculating on last week: Were Jake Ford’s smooth performances on the radio and at the health-care forum dependent on his having foreknowledge of what he was going to be asked and time to prepare an answer?

In answer to another question Monday night, Ford said, “I don’t know the solution right now. I don’t have the answer right now. I want to go to Congress to learn.” More than once, he deferred answering something, promising in apparent good faith to research an issue so as to come to grips with it later in the campaign.

Well and good, but it didn’t square well with the candidate’s answer as to why it was he chose to run as an independent rather than competing in the Democratic primary.

Ford’s statement about that was complicated and hard to parse. If he hadn’t done so, he said at one point, “I don’t think this forum would even have been held.” That was either a truism or an attempt at denying that several comprehensive forums were held during the primary season. Bottom line, one that was ironic under the circumstances: His independent candidacy presented “an opportunity to discuss the issues in an informed way.”

The best-case scenario for Ford: He will have other opportunities to do so. His father, former Congressman Harold Ford Sr. , was talking up his abilities over the weekend, making a case that his second son had been widely underestimated.

•Meanwhile, Jake Ford’s celebrated older brother, the congressman whose job he now seeks, Harold Ford Jr. , was having a big-time week, surging ahead of Republican rival Bob Corker in a couple of mainstream polls taken on their U.S. Senate race and reportedly opening up a 46-to-39 gap in one of his own.

Tracking the congressman on Sunday, it was easy to see why. His first public appearance that day was at Centenary United Methodist Church, where he functioned as a de facto preacher, bringing a sermon on public stewardship that neatly walked the line between the secular and the divine, yet was rousing enough to draw frequent “Amen” choruses from the congregation.

Later in the day, Representative Ford presided over a well-attended, near-ecstatic rally at his headquarters, one in which he cited new polls showing his edge over Corker growing and noted that Newsweek magazine had elevated the Ford-Corker race to “number one” in the nation. The congressman invoked the spirit of Democratic solidarity, saying of Corker, “If you want somebody who votes with Bush all the time, then he’s your man!”

At one point earlier Sunday, Ford had also dropped in on an NAACP forum that was being held at Mt. Olive CME Church for candidates in various races. Brother Jake was not there, but White and Cohen were, and the latter, in answer to a question, made a point of yoking it to his support for “my candidate for the U.S. Senate, Harold Ford Jr.” Pointedly, the congressman did not respond in kind.

A question that has vexed any number of Democrats in the weeks since the August 3rd primary is this: What has prevented a joint embrace of support between Democratic nominees Cohen and Harold Ford Jr.?

Former Congressman Ford was candid about some of the reasons on Sunday. “What kind of father wouldn’t support his own son?” he said at one point. At another, he acknowledged a further reason: Memphis mayor Willie Herenton’s combination of public support for Cohen with derogatory remarks about Jake Ford and the Ford clan at large.

But, maintained the senior Ford in something of a revelation, he had, immediately after the primary, sent the victorious Cohen a message through Shelby County mayor A C Wharton, who would later join Herenton in a public endorsement ceremony for Cohen.

“I said let’s all get together and do this thing,” Ford said, evidently meaning a unity proclamation. “I gave it 36 hours, and I never heard anything back from Cohen.” The implication was that the newly nominated Cohen had not answered the feeler by touching base with him.

For the record, Cohen — who had gone so far on election night as to suggest that his defeat in the 1996 9th District race by Harold Ford Jr., “a great charismatic congressman,” might have been a good thing — denies having received any such communication.

Corker joins Bush in telling of lies

It makes me angry to see how Bob Corker is blatantly lying about Harold Ford Jr.

Corker is another rubber stamp for George Bush, who lied about his WMD reason to invade Iraq (he says now for "freedom and democracy"), which spawned terrorism worldwide as has never before been experienced. Thousands died.

Under Bush and his Republican Congress, our surplus (achieved by President Clinton) has turned into the biggest debit in this country’s history, crime is rampant again, education forgotten, millions without health care, welfare offices full, their ties to big oil breaking us. (They’ve now eased prices until the November election — another fraud.) They call Americans who disagree with them "terrorists." We know about their scare tactics and how they want to deal with "terrorists."

Their claim that only they can control terrorism is another lie. Remember Iraq. They invade our privacy because Bush says it is OK — the sole "lawmaker." Vote to put the Democrats back in the congressional majority or our freedoms will be lost to a dictatorial government with no freedom at all.

Harold Ford Jr. works fairly for all people and for good relations with the world, not Bush’s behind-the-scenes special interest buddies. Vote Ford!


Corker joins Bush in telling of lies

It makes me angry to see how Bob Corker is blatantly lying about Harold Ford Jr.

Corker is another rubber stamp for George Bush, who lied about his WMD reason to invade Iraq (he says now for "freedom and democracy"), which spawned terrorism worldwide as has never before been experienced. Thousands died.

Under Bush and his Republican Congress, our surplus (achieved by President Clinton) has turned into the biggest debit in this country’s history, crime is rampant again, education forgotten, millions without health care, welfare offices full, their ties to big oil breaking us. (They’ve now eased prices until the November election — another fraud.) They call Americans who disagree with them "terrorists." We know about their scare tactics and how they want to deal with "terrorists."

Their claim that only they can control terrorism is another lie. Remember Iraq. They invade our privacy because Bush says it is OK — the sole "lawmaker." Vote to put the Democrats back in the congressional majority or our freedoms will be lost to a dictatorial government with no freedom at all.

Harold Ford Jr. works fairly for all people and for good relations with the world, not Bush’s behind-the-scenes special interest buddies. Vote Ford!


Corker has many signs, few ideas

The number of signs that the Corker campaign has erected around Chattanooga is grossly excessive.
There are signs the size of small billboards erected in every direction. On one corner by the freeway there are five Corker signs.
Bob, you win the sign war. You obviously have money to burn on signs — as if the mere presence of your name causes people to vote for you.
What sorts of people are these? I guess they’re the ones who don’t really understand the issues, so they vote for the man with the most name recognition.
Win or lose, what will the Corker campaign do with all those signs after the election? They’ll dump 99 percent of them into landfills.
Besides desecrating the landscape with signs, what does Corker stand for? Check out his Web site with his Blueprint for change: there’s the usual high level fluff about faith and family, cutting taxes, support for our troops, staying the course, blah, blah, blah ... the same Republican pablum that Bush’s crowd uses to appease its base but fails to address the tough problems.
There’s a reason that Corker’s afraid to debate Ford: He’d be humiliated by an experienced statesman with imaginative ideas.



— Compiled by staff writer Michael Davis

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced a new television ad Tuesday criticizing Republican U.S. Senate nominee Bob Corker for having illegal immigrants on one of his construction sites in 1988.

"Bob Corker may talk tough about illegal immigration," the announcer says in the ad, "but the millionaire construction magnate doesn’t tell you about the illegal workers arrested on one of his work sites. It’s true. The INS found illegal workers on Bob Corker’s construction site, while he looked the other way."

The ad says Mr. Corker’s Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., will "get control of our borders, get tough on illegals and employers who break the law." Four illegal immigrants were found in 1988 on a Memphis job site of Bencor, according to news accounts from the time. The illegal immigrants were employed by a subcontractor of Bencor, which Mr. Corker co-founded. According to news reports, Bencor was not faulted in the case. Corker campaign officials, citing news reports, have said the company worked to make sure subcontractors followed the law.

Mr. Corker, the former mayor of Chattanooga, faces Rep. Ford Jr., of Memphis, in the Nov. 7 general election.


Chattanooga Times Free Press:

— Compiled by staff writer Michael Davis
Republican U.S. Senate nominee Bob Corker appears with his mother, Jean Corker, in a new television ad where she touts her son’s record on crime. "You’ve got to be tough on crime. You’ve got to be tough on the Middle East. We’ve got to be tough on airplanes. Is there any politician who says we’ve got to be weak on crime?" Mrs. Corker says. Mr. Corker then says that when he was Chattanooga mayor, "we cut violent crime by 50 percent. We figured out who the bad guys were, and we sent them away." Mrs. Corker replies, "50 percent. Hmm, not bad."

Chattanooga police have estimated that violent crime in the city dropped more than 50 percent between 2001 and 2004, but officials have said precise 2004 figures are hard to determine because of a computer software change in 2003. Using FBI data of Chattanooga violent crime between 2001 and 2005, violent crime dropped 37.5 percent. A Corker campaign official has said the figures they use have been checked for accuracy with the police department.

Mr. Corker is running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., of Memphis, in the Nov. 7 general election.

Ford, Corker clash over funding

By Andy Sher Nashville Bureau
Democrat Harold Ford Jr. on Tuesday defended his acceptance of large amounts of out-of-state money for his U.S. Senate campaign, arguing it was necessary to remain competitive with Republican businessman Bob Corker.

"I’m not going to let a guy who’s worth $350 million spend his own money and beat me and figure out a way ... to go there and represent interests that are inconsistent and values that are inconsistent with the state," U.S. Rep. Ford, of Memphis, said.

Rep. Ford said he supports public financing. Mr. Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, continued to criticize Rep. Ford for getting almost 70 percent of his contributions from outside Tennessee’s borders.

"Only 31 percent of my oppo- nent’s contributions come from within the state of Tennessee," he said. "In fact, I read an article a couple of days ago that the only other person who receives more money from Hollywood than my opponent is the guy who actually represented Hollywood."

Both candidates’ comments came at a political forum at Nashville’s City Club. Mr. Corker and Rep. Ford encountered each other in a hallway and exchanged barbs.

Both candidates are spending millions of dollars on television to criticize each other in a contest that could decide Senate control. Some recent independent polling shows the race neck and neck.

John Jay Hooker, a longtime Democratic Party political figure, questioned both candidates about how they were funding their campaigns.

Mr. Hooker asked Rep. Ford about the legality of accepting any out-of-state contributions and whether he would back campaign finance reform.

Mr. Hooker asked Mr. Corker if there was a problem because "rich people have got money to put into politics and the poor people don’t."

During his Republican primary, Mr. Corker last summer put nearly $2.2 million into his campaign.

Mr. Corker has raised about $6.5 million from contributors, and Rep. Ford has raised about $6.3 million, records show.

Mr. Corker cited figures from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics that show his campaign has received about 92 percent of its funding from in-state sources.

He said he does not support public financing.

"I think there is something to people being able to go out ... and convince (donors) that they are worthy of running for the office," Mr. Corker said. "But I do acknowledge that certainly there are issues and that it’s not perfect."

Asked later about Rep. Ford’s assertion that he needs outside money to counter Mr. Corker’s personal wealth, the former developer criticized Rep. Ford’s acceptance of out-of-state dollars.

Although Rep. Ford said Mr. Corker is worth $350 million, Mr. Corker’s personal financial disclosures filed with the Senate clerk’s office report assets totaling between $63.7 million and $234.5 million.

Rep. Ford said Mr. Corker’s lack of contributions from beyond Tennessee hasn’t been for a lack of trying.

The City Club appearance was not in a debate format. The candidates are scheduled to have three debates beginning with a Memphis event Oct. 7. The second debate set for Oct. 10 will be held in Chattanooga and sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

After his speech, Rep. Ford claimed Mr. Corker, whom the congressman has been pressing for more debates, is fearful of meeting him face to face. Mr. Corker then entered the hallway.

"I look forward to debating — whenever you get the chance," Rep. Ford said.
Replied Mr. Corker: "We’re ready, right in the heart of your own town."
After a brief exchange of pleasantries, Mr. Corker asked Rep. Ford, "What was the vote you missed?"
Rep. Ford shot back, "I don’t know, but I didn’t want to miss you."
The Associated Press quoted Rep. Ford calling Mr. Corker a "wimp" for not agreeing to more debates.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Voter ID bill finding both friends, foes in Tennessee

Senate may act this week on measure aimed at curbing illegal immigration

By RICHARD POWELSON, September 27, 2006

WASHINGTON - The Senate may act this week on a House-passed bill that would require both a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, and proof of U.S. citizenship to vote.
The Tennessee House delegation split along party lines on the bill last week, with Republicans favoring and Democrats opposing.

Joining the Democrats are many interest groups representing the elderly, minorities and the disabled and others who say they might have trouble meeting the new requirements if the bill passes.

But East Tennessee Republicans John J. Duncan Jr. of Knoxville and Zach Wamp of Chattanooga said in interviews that one of the hottest topics in their districts is residents being upset about the number of illegal immigrants entering this country and their potential to vote or get government services, such as health care.

"If someone votes illegally," Duncan said, "they are negating the vote of the person who did so legally. I think people would be willing to do this very minimal requirement to make sure that our elections are not subject to fraud by illegal voters."

Wamp said immigration is the "No. 1" issue in his district.

Ford calls Corker 'wimp' for not agreeing to more debates

By ERIK SCHELZIG Associated Press Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. called his Republican opponent Bob Corker a "wimp" on Tuesday for not agreeing to more debates.

The candidates had an awkward meeting at the Nashville City Club in which Ford encouraged Corker to add a Knoxville debate to the three already scheduled.

Corker responded that "we may have to talk about that," adding that he is looking forward to debating Ford in his hometown of Memphis.

The other debates are scheduled for Nashville and Chattanooga, where Corker was mayor from 2001 to 2005.

"We're the Volunteer State; we're not the wimp state," Ford later told The Associated Press. "And he's behaving more like a wimp than like a Volunteer."

Ford suggested Corker may be intimidated by joint appearances with the Memphis congressman.

"How the heck is he going to stand up to the forces of evil in this world if he can't stand next to me and debate me about the issues," Ford said.

Corker's campaign manager Ben Mitchell said Ford's comments don't sound senatorial.

"It's becoming increasingly clear that U.S. Rep. Ford lacks the maturity and temperament to be an effective United States senator," he said.

The Senate campaign follows a tradition of holding one debate each in West, Middle and East Tennessee, the Corker campaign said.

"We can see that U.S. Rep. Ford likes to talk, and that he is a very good talker," said Corker spokeswoman Alexia Poe. "Bob is very focused on coming up with solutions and actually doing things."

Ford has not been shy about calling his GOP opponents names. During the heated, three-way Republican primary, Ford said Corker and the other two candidates were behaving like "The Three Stooges."

Ford had no serious opposition in the Democratic primary.

"People don't want a wimp in Washington," Ford said Tuesday. "They want somebody who's going to stand up for them."

Poe also rejected Ford's suggestion that two debates were deliberately scheduled on the same days as University of Tennessee football games to minimize the number of people watching.

Both campaigns had to agree to the debate schedule, she said.

"To say that we solely chose the dates and the times is strange," Poe said.

Corker has rejected a national television debate on NBC's "Meet the Press" and would only agree to appear after Ford on recent airing of CNBC's "Kudlow & Company."

Ford noted that Corker wouldn't come into the City Club until Ford moved into a hallway.

"I mean, that's just strange to me," Ford said. "If we were in sixth-grade, maybe. But this is the United States Senate we're talking about."

Bush to honor volunteer's role in Binghamton, President here today to raise funds for Corker

Linda Smith says she's just an average woman who loves to volunteer and doesn't think many people take notice, which is more than fine with her.

But Smith's work in Binghamton has attracted attention from the White House.

Today, President Bush will give Smith a President's Volunteer Service Award just after he lands at Memphis International Airport.

"It's so surreal," said Smith, 52. "I admire him as a person and as someone who has given his life to service."

Bush is coming for a midday fund-raiser at the home of AutoZone founder J.R. 'Pitt' Hyde III on behalf of Republican Senate candidate Bob Corker.....

New Campaign Ads Have a Theme: Don’t Be Nice

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 — Republicans and Democrats began showing at least 30 new campaign advertisements in contested House and Senate districts across the country on Tuesday. Of those, three were positive.

For Republicans, it was the leading edge of a wave of negative advertisements against Democratic candidates, the product of more than a year of research into the personal and professional backgrounds of Democratic challengers.

“What do we really know about Angie Paccione?” an announcer asks about a Democratic challenger in Colorado. “Angie Paccione had 10 legal claims against her for bad debts and campaign violations. A court even ordered her wages garnished.”

For Democrats, it was part of a barrage intended to tie Republican incumbents to an unpopular Congress, criticize their voting records, portray them as captives to special interests and highlight embarrassing moments from their business histories.

In Tennessee, Democrats attacked Bob Corker, a Republican candidate for Senate, saying his construction company had hired illegal immigrants “while he looked the other way.”

The result of the dueling accusations has been what both sides described on Tuesday as the most toxic midterm campaign environment in memory. It is a jarring blend of shadowy images, breathless announcers, jagged music and a dizzying array of statistics, counterstatistics and vote citations — all intended to present the members of Congress and their challengers in the worst possible light. Democratic and Republican strategists said they expected over 90 percent of the advertisements to be broadcast by Nov. 7 to be negative......

Memphis prepares for Presidential visit

The East Memphis home of Autozone Founder Pitt Hyde is the setting for a luncheon fundraiser for Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Bob Corker Wednesday with special guest President George W. Bush. It will be Bush's third visit in two years.

With 400 guests at $2,100 a plate, Corker stands to raise $840,000 for his campaign. Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Bill Giannini says it made sense for Corker to hold a fundraiser in his opponent's back yard. "While his staff probably had some debate as to where they would take this visit, we're very thankful and I think it was wise that they decided to come here to Shelby County," he said......

Ford calls Corker 'wimp' for not agreeing to more debates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Democratic U-S Senate candidate Harold Ford Junior has called his Republican opponent Bob Corker a "wimp" for not agreeing to more debates.

The candidates had an awkward meeting yesterday at the Nashville City Club in which Ford encouraged Corker to add a Knoxville debate to the three already scheduled.
Corker responded that --quote-- "we may have to talk about that," adding that he is looking forward to debating Ford in his hometown of Memphis.

The other debates are scheduled for Nashville and Chattanooga, where Corker was mayor from 2001 to 2005.

"We're the Volunteer State; we're not the wimp state," Ford later told The Associated Press. "And he's behaving more like a wimp than like a Volunteer."

Ford suggested Corker may be intimidated by joint appearances with the Memphis congressman.

Corker spokeswoman Alexia Poe said language like 'wimp' doesn't seem very senatorial.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Ford campaign looks to benefit from Bredesen's strength

September 26, 2006
Officials with the campaign of U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr. say he stands to benefit from Gov. Phil Bredesen's strength in the gubernatorial race.
Bredesen, a fellow Democrat, has held a wide lead in name recognition and fundraising since Republican state Sen. Jim Bryson made his last-minute entry into the race. Bryson's first TV ads began airing last week.

Campaign pollster Pete Brodnitz says if a large majority of voters are willing to vote for the Democratic governor, they may be more inclined to vote for Ford as well.

Bredesen has taken a business-friendly, centrist approach to the governor's office and Brodnitz says Ford has a similar outlook.......

Race Is Top Issue in Bid to Represent Memphis

The notion that some elective offices belong to minorities is being put to a sharp test here, as a veteran politician’s Congressional candidacy in a historically black district is being challenged because he is white.

The politician, Steve Cohen, a liberal Democrat and longtime Tennessee state senator, is the odds-on favorite to become the first white to represent Memphis in Congress in more than three decades. Mr. Cohen, 57, spent much of that time in the state legislature, where he was known for being attentive to the needs of black constituents — a 60 percent majority in the Ninth Congressional District, which includes most of this sprawling, sultry city.

Yet some influential black leaders here have denounced Mr. Cohen’s strong showing — he won the Democratic primary in August — and have called on black residents to rally behind the slow-starting campaign of Jake Ford, 33, a first-time candidate running as an independent. So far, many of the city’s black pastors have endorsed Mr. Ford.

Mr. Ford’s youth and inexperience notwithstanding, his candidacy cannot be discounted: he is a scion of the family that has held the seat since a breakthrough election in 1974 put his father, Harold Ford Sr., in office, and for many in Memphis the Ford name is synonymous with political power and neighborhood activism.

Though he is not the Democratic candidate, Jake Ford is seeking to follow his staunchly Democratic father and brother to Washington. The Fords, as embattled legally as they are prominent politically, still hold top spots in local and state government, and Mr. Ford’s older brother Harold Jr. is leaving the Congressional seat to run for the Senate. (Jake Ford explained the absence of a formal endorsement from his brother Harold by saying, “We have a large family.”)

Ethnic and racial claims on elected offices are nothing new. Black residents in Brooklyn this year urged David Yassky, a white Democrat, to step aside as a candidate in the majority-black 11th Congressional District. Mr. Yassky went on to lose the primary. But in Memphis, a city with lingering memories of Jim Crow’s political exclusion of blacks, these claims are being made with special urgency. They are accompanied by Bible Belt reminders that Mr. Cohen, who is Jewish, is not only of a different race, but also a different faith.

“Mr. Cohen has stood on the floor of the Tennessee Senate and opposed the chaplain of the day praying for Jesus,” said the Rev. Dr. LaSimba M. Gray Jr., a prominent local pastor who has helped lead opposition to Mr. Cohen’s candidacy.

Dr. Gray also condemned Mr. Cohen’s refusal to denounce same-sex marriage, a persistent theme of his critics here. “At this point, Jake Ford is in a better position to represent our values and our community,” he said.

Mr. Ford is a high school dropout with a G.E.D. He has never held elected office, says he is currently working for his father’s consulting firm (“You can pretty much call me what you want,” he said, when asked to describe his occupation) and has been christened Joke Ford on a widely read blog written by a local black resident.

Because of the contrasting résumés of the two candidates, there is hardly unanimity among blacks here in supporting Mr. Ford. Mayor Willie W. Herenton, who is black and a longtime rival of the Ford family, announced his support for Mr. Cohen two weeks ago.

“I felt it was time in this community on this occasion that we show solidarity that will cut across political ideology, race, ethnocentrism, any kind of prejudice and to support a man who’s eminently qualified for this role,” Mayor Herenton said recently at a news conference, according to The Commercial Appeal, Memphis’s major newspaper.

Mr. Cohen is the grandson of an immigrant from Lithuania. He recalls exclusion, as a Jew, from fraternities at Vanderbilt University in the 1960’s, and for years was the lone loser in fights with colleagues in the legislature over issues like publicly posting the Ten Commandments. He has said that, if elected, he will seek membership in the Congressional Black Caucus, though it is not clear if the caucus would allow him to join.

Yet it was evident recently in a campaign swing through a historic black neighborhood that the opinions of black leaders have had some resonance. One of those leaders, William Larsha of the Shelby County Democratic Executive Committee, is urging blacks to prevent a Cohen victory by turning out to vote against the Democratic candidate in November.

“In 1974, it became a Congressional black district,” Mr. Larsha said. “It also became, to most black people, a precious district. And it became a historically black Congressional district. I believe it was put together by decent white people to be a black district, which gives African-Americans an opportunity to be elected to Congress.”

But poverty is persistent in the district — 20 percent of the population is poor — the schools are ailing and the crime rate is high.

“The Fords, they’re more on the scene,” said Anthony Bridgewater, 28, a community college student who was watching Mr. Cohen charge ahead of a black high school band in a recent game-day parade in the tattered Orange Mound district. “They visit churches, come into the schools. Over here in Orange Mound, the Fords can relate to people better. Steve Cohen is more of a Nashville-type person.”

Yet others along the parade route, lined with boarded-up stores, marginal auto repair shops and sagging front porches, said they were fed up with the Fords. Indeed, Cohen supporters appeared to outnumber Ford supporters along the route.

“Take your blinders off and look at the condition of Memphis,” said Jeffrey Hines, a resident watching the band assembled at Melrose High School. “Crime’s gone up and the school system is failing our children, and we’ve had an African-American in Congress for 30 years.”

A political scientist at Rhodes College here, Marcus D. Pohlmann, called Mr. Cohen the favorite, by a considerable way, but added that black voters “might still just vote the Ford name.”
Articulate and voluble, the younger Mr. Ford dismisses any suggestion of dynastic entitlement. Standing by his side, however, at a Steamfitters Union local, where he had gone to seek its blessing, was his father, who beat back federal corruption charges in the early 1990’s and remains a force in local politics. Smiling, the elder Mr. Ford said simply, “This seat belongs to the people of the Ninth District.”

A union member, Roy Turner, jumped in with an attack on Mr. Cohen’s position on same-sex marriage: “I’m against all that homosexual stuff.”

Jake Ford quickly added, “I certainly want to protect the sanctity of marriage.”
Critics of Mr. Cohen have made insinuations about his bachelorhood; he volunteers that he is not gay, but that he is simply “older.”

In his Depression-era home on Overton Park, which is crammed with a lifetime’s worth of political memorabilia, Mr. Cohen wearily dismissed the attacks over same-sex marriage and speculated that a victory for him, as a white man, could be a moment of racial reconciliation for this city of the Deep South.

“I think it will be an overcoming, a coming together,” he said. “And I think it will say we’ve overcome a lot of the problems since Dr. King was killed.”

Corker, Ford differ on Iraq War policy

Tennessee’s two U.S. Senate candidates offer opposing views on how they would prosecute the Iraq War if they were elected.

In separate speeches and remarks to the Nashville City Club Tuesday, Republican nominee Bob Corker said he would rely “most heavily” on what the troop commanders in Iraq recommend regarding issues like troop levels and is against dividing the country into three ethnic regions.

That came after Democratic nominee Harold Ford Jr. recommended that Iraq be divided into three “ethnic federations” – Shiite, Sunni and Kurd - under one central government. The oil revenues would be split between them, and the U.S. would work as a partner in helping reach an agreement.

Ford also continued his call for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to resign.

“If you are looking for a senator who will go and parakeet whatever the president says, I’m not your guy,” Ford told the crowd. “I think we have to pursue another course and the course is pretty simple – you’ve got to decentralize Iraq to unite it.”.....

Detainee bill a defining vote for Election Day?

Democratic critic charges that 'people are afraid to vote against this bill'
By Tom Curry
National affairs writer

Updated: 5:37 p.m. ET Sept 26, 2006
- With adjournment looming by week’s end, Republican congressional leaders will put to a vote in the next few days a bill setting forth new rules for interrogation and trial of Guantanamo detainees, a vote that will put some candidates in both parties on the spot.
Democrats do not seem inclined to go all-out to block passage of the detainee bill, but they are negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on offering amendments to the bill. As of mid-day Tuesday, the Democrats and Republicans had not reached accord on a time for a final vote on the bill.

"We can't stop a vote on it this week," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid Tuesday. He said a Senate vote to curtail debate on the detainee bill would take place Wednesday morning and he added, "we can't stop that."

Some Democrats are disheartened that their party’s leadership hasn’t fought harder against the detainee bill, whose road to enactment was smoothed last Thursday when three GOP senators, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and John Warner of Virginia, struck a deal with the Bush administration on details of detainee interrogation and treatment.

Senate Democratic Whip Sen. Dick Durbin said one provision in the bill that he and other Democrats objected to and would try to remove is what he called "a torture amnesty. I think it is very difficult to explain to the world that we stand by the Geneva Conventions, but we will forgive those who have violated them."

He was referring to a provision in the detainee bill that provides retroactive immunity to CIA operatives for potential violations of the 1996 War Crimes Act.

Asked there were enough votes to stop the bill by means of a filibuster, Durbin said he had not done a whip count of Democratic senators.

With at least a half dozen Senate races and probably 30 House races extremely close, the detainee issue could be one incremental factor that drives voters to cast their ballot on Election Day.

Polling data suggests the detainee issue may boost Republican voter turnout more than Democratic turnout.

GOP leaders could pair the detainee bill with legislation authorizing President Bush’s National Security Agency surveillance program.

The NSA program eavesdrops on international communications between suspected al Qaida operatives and contacts in the United States.

Such a combined package would give GOP leaders the prospect of an even bigger litmus test vote, with the election only six weeks away.

Another option that the Senate GOP leadership was considering late Monday: attach the detainee legislation to a bill the Senate is debating that would authorize building of a 700-mile fence on the Mexican border.

Power play: Key issues around the nation

With the elections only six weeks away and control of Congress at issue, McClatchy's Steven Thomma looks at some of the key races around the nation.
In the Senate, Republicans would have to lose a net of six seats to lose control. In the House, Republicans would have to lose a net of 15 seats to lose control.



Republican Sen. Jim Talent is seeking his first full term in a state that's split down the middle as usual. Talent is neck and neck with Democrat Claire McCaskill, the state auditor. He's running as someone who's brought home the federal bacon. She's pitching embryonic stem cell research.

Republican Sen. Conrad Burns is the most prominent Republican on the ballot this fall who is tied to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. That makes him vulnerable to a challenge from Democrat Jon Tester, the president of the state Senate.

Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez is neck and neck with Republican Tom Kean Jr., the son of the popular former governor. A problem for Menendez: ethics allegations from rivals about collecting rent from a nonprofit agency he had helped win federal funds. The pitfall for Kean: being tied to President Bush.

Republican Sen. Mike DeWine is fighting to hold his seat against a strong challenge from Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown.

Republican Sen. Rick Santorum was once thought to be the most endangered Republican in the Senate, facing Democrat Bob Casey Jr., state treasurer and son of a popular former governor. Santorum has fought back and is within reach but still trails.

Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee won only half of his battle when he survived a hard-fought Republican primary clash. Chafee opposes tax cuts and the Iraq war, a good fit for the liberal state. But he's up against a real Democrat in November, Sheldon Whitehouse.

With Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist leaving to run full time for president, Republicans are working to keep the seat. Their candidate is former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker. The Democrat is Rep. Harold Ford Jr., who would become the first black elected to the Senate from the South since Reconstruction.......

GOP Candidate Corker Tours DTR Plant, Discusses Issues

By: By BILL JONES/Staff WriterSource: The Greeneville Sun 09-26-2006

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Corker toured the DTR Tennessee Inc. plant in Midway on Monday during a Northeast Tennessee campaign swing that also included stops in Morristown, Johnson City and Elizabethton.

Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, is running against Democratic U.S. Congressman Harold Ford Jr., of Memphis, for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated in December by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R- Tenn., who is not seeking re-election.

Corker was accompanied on his campaign stop at the DTR plant by U.S. Rep. Bill Jenkins, R-1st, of Hawkins County.

During remarks delivered to DTR managers, Jenkins, who is not seeking re-election to Congress this year, praised Corker as a self-made man and urged those present to vote for Corker in the Nov. 7 election.

Congressman Jenkins described DTR as a “successful company” and said Corker has been a “successful” businessman and public official.

“You all might make good partners,” Jenkins said of DTR and Corker.

Corker reminded those present that the Nov. 7 general election is only six weeks away and that early voting begins in three weeks.

He also told DTR managers that he hoped they would view him as “someone who has worked hard all his life to make a living, to create jobs and to really try to make a tremendous difference in the public arena.”

Corker said he began working when 13 years old by “taking out trash and bagging ice.”

Corker also thanked Rep. Jenkins, Greeneville businessman Terry Leonard, whom he termed a “great friend,” and Bland Justis, his Greene County campaign chairman, for their support......

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ford campaign poll shows lead over Corker

By Michael Davis Staff Writer

With roughly six weeks until the election, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Harold Ford Jr. leads Republican opponent Bob Corker by six percentage points in internal poll numbers released Monday by the Ford campaign. In a ballot question, Rep. Ford, a U.S. congressman from Memphis, topped Mr. Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, 45 percent to 39 percent, said pollster Pete Brodnitz of Benenson Strategy Group. The poll surveyed 605 likely registered voters between Sept. 21-23 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.94 percent. Ford campaign senior adviser Michael Powell said negative campaigning from the Corker campaign and Republicans helped give Rep. Ford the lead, which is larger than the 2 percent edge he had in an internal poll released a month ago.

"Mr. Corker has not talked about change; he’s not talked about issues," Mr. Powell said during a conference call. "Tennesseans, based on this poll, have demonstrated they’re rejecting it." Corker campaign manager Ben Mitchell questioned whether the Ford campaign can be trusted when it comes to internal polls. He said the last internal poll for the Corker campaign showed a "very different result," but he declined to release the poll numbers. "Our polling has consistently shown we are positioned to win this race," Mr. Mitchell said. Ford campaign spokeswoman Carol Andrews declined to provide the full poll results. In recent weeks, the Corker campaign has characterized Rep. Ford as Tennessee’s "most liberal" congressman and criticized the congressman on issues such as national security.

Meanwhile, the Ford campaign continues to criticize the former mayor for not releasing his full income tax returns and schedules and continues to raise questions about illegal immigrants on a Corker job site in the 1980s. "I think there’s been a critical mass of questions," Mr. Powell said. A Benenson Strategy Group poll conducted Aug. 10-15 for the Ford campaign showed Rep. Ford with a 44 percent to 42 percent lead over Mr. Corker. In that poll, 1,118 people were surveyed and there was a margin of error of plus or minus 2.93 percent. Mr. Mitchell noted that Rep. Ford’s numbers virtually are unchanged since August. "They’re trying to manufacture momentum where there is none," he said. Vanderbilt University political science professor Bruce Oppenheimer said if the most recent poll results are to be believed, they indicate the Corker campaign has been ineffective in trying to paint Rep. Ford as a liberal.

"They haven’t been able to make this stick," Dr. Oppenheimer said. Meanwhile, Mr. Mitchell said the Corker campaign recently brought on Hollywood-based media consultant Fred Davis to do some work related to advertising. He said the Corker campaign continues to use Stevens, Reed, Curcio and Potholm as its main media consulting firm. Mr. Davis is working for Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Bryson, who is challenging Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen. He also worked for Sonny Perdue’s successful Georgia gubernatorial run in 2002 against Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes. Dr. Oppenheimer said the addition of Mr. Davis to the consulting team shows the Corker campaign has been unhappy with how the race has progressed. The election is Nov. 7. Early voting starts Oct. 18.

E-mail Michael Davis at

What is Bob Corker hiding from?

Everyone can agree how important the 2006 elections are to our state and nation. NBC’s Sunday show “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert has hosted debates for the 2006 candidates of every state but Tennessee. Bob Corker not only refused to debate Harold Ford Jr. on “Meet the Press” but declined 30-plus other opportunities for debates with Ford around our state. Harold Ford’s campaign has agreed to all. Only after statewide and national pressure from his own party did Corker agreed to three limited debates in Memphis, Nashville and Chattanooga, but declined Ford’s requests to also hold debates in the Tri-Cities, Knoxville and Franklin. Only the debate in Nashville will be televised statewide. That is 30-plus opportunities he has lost to get out his vision and message to Tennessee voters and prove he is the best candidate for Congress.

Debates allow voters a chance to see each candidate’s stance on important issues. As someone who is watching this race very closely, it is still not clear who the real Bob Corker is. His actions so far could only leave me and the rest of the state with the notion that he is hiding something or he is just plain scared of Harold Ford. But what is clear is that Mr. Corker has decided to simply run his campaign on negative rhetoric or misleading commercials while Ford has made every attempt to get his vision for our state known. If Corker cannot even stand up and fight against someone in his state running against him, how will he stand up in front of the entire Senate and fight for the people of Tennessee in Congress?

James Powers IV

Rep. Ford's flip-flop on abortion

Sen. John Kerry, Democrat candidate for the presidency in 2004, infamously declared during the campaign that "I actually did vote for the $87 billion (to support U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq) before I voted against it."
It was a moment that crystallized in many voters’ minds Sen. Kerry’s desire to appease voters on both sides of an issue rather than take a stand and pay whatever political price may come.
U.S. Rep. Harold Ford, a liberal Memphis Democrat seeking a Senate seat this year, is probably too careful a speaker to make such an obvious blunder. But that does not change the fact that he has tried to have it both ways on the issue of partial-birth abortion. That is an exceptionally grisly form of abortion — not that other forms are not gruesome — in which a late-term baby is partially delivered from the womb, its skull is punctured and its brains are sucked out.
Earlier in his congressional career, Rep. Ford voted repeatedly against bans on partial-birth abortion. He was able to get away with that in his liberal district. But now he hopes to win a Senate seat, and that requires him to appeal to all Tennesseans, who tend to be much more conservative than residents in his district. The fact is, it is a huge political liability in Tennessee to support keeping a horrible procedure such as partial-birth abortion legal.
So is it any surprise that Rep. Ford has tried in his more recent votes in Congress to position himself as an opponent of partial-birth abortion?
He claims he has had a change of heart. But it is such a clearly disgusting and unnecessary procedure that Tennesseans are left to guess how he could have supported it in the first place — and how he might vote if he won a six-year term in the Senate. We know for a fact he still backs other types of abortion.
Voters who oppose abortion, and especially partial-birth abortion, would be far wiser to cast ballots for conservative former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker

Campaign 2006: Politics Are a Family Matter in Tennessee

Harold Ford Jr., the Democrat hopeful in a pivotal Senate race, has just one problem: his brother Jake, who wants to fill his old seat in Congress


A couple of mainstream polls have begun to show that Democrat Harold Ford Jr. is topping Republican Bob Corker in Tennessee's pivotal U.S. Senate race, but Ford may have a little problem on his hands in home-base Memphis: his younger brother Jake — who's running for big brother's old 9th Congressional district seat. Jake is running as an independent against the Democratic nominee with the blessing of the family patriarch and onetime local party boss, Harold Ford Sr.

State Senator Steve Cohen won last month's winner-take-all Democratic primary to fill Ford's seat, with 31% overall, in a field that included a dozen black candidates. A respected, sometimes pugnacious legislator, Cohen is probably the Tennessee General Assembly's best-known liberal. The Midtown Memphis district he has represented for a quarter century contains a generous number of blacks. Indeed, Cohen carried several predominantly black precincts and two local black mayors, Willie Herenton of Memphis and A.C. Wharton of Shelby County, enthusiastically endorsed him two weeks ago in an elaborate downtown ceremony.

But Cohen was, and continues to be, too white and too Jewish for a number of black ministers and other African-American activists who made an abortive effort during the primary to arrange for a consensus black candidate. Activists are fearful that as the Rev. La Simba Gray put it, "for the first time in 32 years, African Americans will be without representation in the U.S. Congress from West Tennessee."

Rep. Ford himself has said he'll stay neutral regarding Cohen and his brother Jake. But the rest of the family is splitting over the race. Joe Ford Jr., an entertainment lawyer who finished third in the congressional primary — and is first cousin to both Jake Ford and Harold Ford Jr.— has endorsed Cohen. But Harold Sr., a former congressman, has gone all-out for son Jake, especially since longtime rival Herenton put down young Ford as unqualified (he dropped out of high school) and accused the Fords of seeking "a monopoly on all elected positions in this state and this county." Jake, if elected as an independent, has promised to caucus with House Democrats.
Harold Sr., now a blue-ribbon consultant dividing time between Florida and Memphis, is energetically working his former support base in inner-city Memphis for his sons. Meanwhile, the Black Ministers Association and the other erstwhile African-American consensus seekers, including a handful of Democratic activists, have also endorsed Jake. Then there's Mark White, a young white businessman and the Republican candidate, who would ordinarily stand to get no more than 30% in a heavily black district. But the split among Democrats may give him a better-than-usual shot — unless Republican moderates get worried about a reawakened Ford dynasty and go for Cohen.

Rhetoric has been heated. Thaddeus Matthews, a politically independent African American whose widely read local blog is part scandal sheet, part political tip-sheet, early in the campaign dismissed "Joke Ford" as an un-credentialed political novice and high-school dropout who lacked his congressman brother's finesse and did odd jobs for his father. That has also been the perspective of an influential corps of liberal white bloggers who pooled their efforts on Cohen's behalf during the primary.

The bloggers see themselves as representatives of Democratic Party progressives who long ago soured on Harold Ford Jr.'s ever-more-conservative rhetoric and voting record. Ford's strategy has been to woo middle-of-the-road and conservative voters in Middle and East Tennessee while holding on to party-line Democrats and the solid bloc of black voters in home-town Memphis. But a resumption of the once-raging Ford-Herenton civil war could cost him, and so could simmering discontent among Democrats over his neutrality in the race to replace him in Congress. The venerable Nashville Tennessean, historically the voice of the state's Democratic establishment, felt obliged recently to editorialize against the racial-consensus rhetoric backing Jake Ford as "too blatant to ignore." College Democrats at the University of Memphis publicly groused last week at what they saw as collusion between the Harold Ford Jr. and Jake Ford campaigns.

The political history of Rep. Ford's extended family is interesting, to say the least -- and could be a factor. Aunt Ophelia's state Senate seat was recently voided because of a voting scandal last year. Uncle John was forced out of the self-same Senate seat after being indicted on several counts of bribery and extortion.

On the other hand, the younger Ford brother, an Unknown Quantity if there ever was one, has surprised everyone with two consecutive strong showings — in a radio interview and in a health-care debate last week where he put in an well-prepped performance. Jake Ford and the Republican White appeared but Cohen, being feted at a local fund-raiser by celeb Cybill Shepherd, skipped the event. As blogger Matthews headlined in his latest post: "Jake Ford May Not Be A Joke After All."

Election Homestretch Yields Surprises

(Tuesday,09/26/2006 © The Wall Street Journal)
Election Homestretch Yields Surprises
New Calculus Sees Tight Virginia,
New Jersey Races as Washington,
Michigan Tension Eases
September 26, 2006; Page A4
BELLEVUE, Wash. --
Not long ago, Democrats in Washington state were threatening to abandon Sen. Maria Cantwell to protest her 2002 vote authorizing the war against Iraq. Now, the first-term senator says, "People here never wanted to lose this seat."
The senator spoke after an enthusiastic campaign rally underscored her suggestion that disgruntled Democrats have fallen in behind her, after concluding that their protest would only throw the seat to Republicans. Now, her bridge-building and the mistakes of her Republican rival, Mike McGavick, have Democratic leaders in the East resting easier about a seat that topped their endangered list for much of the year.
Mr. McGavick, a former chief executive of insurance company Safeco, says he is making up ground. In any case, the Washington state race illustrates the fluidity of the fall finale for Senate control as voters tune in. Republicans are struggling in a hostile climate to protect a 55-45 majority on Election Day. Democrats have to seize nearly every Republican target while losing none of their own.
The picture in the final stretch isn't what either side expected when the election cycle began. Republicans have given up on early targets among Democrats from states that backed President Bush's re-election, and are now struggling to keep some of their own red-state seats. Democrats, safe in red states, are campaigning hardest in blue ones, especially New Jersey.
Five Republican incumbents trail in polls. In Tennessee's open-seat contest to succeed retiring Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Democratic Rep. Harold Ford yesterday released a poll showing he had overtaken Republican Bob Corker. Two other Republican incumbents -- Virginia's George Allen and Arizona's John Kyl -- have seen their once-formidable leads erode to single digits.
Mr. Allen is perhaps the year's biggest surprise. He began on no one's watch list, but since summer he has been on the defensive -- first for using what some consider a racial slur against an Indian-American aide to Democratic rival Jim Webb and next for reacting angrily to revelations of his Jewish heritage. Even Republicans say he has stoked the controversies by his responses. Yesterday, Mr. Allen was denying new allegations from a college football teammate that he often used a slur to refer to black people and once stuffed a deer's head into a black family's mailbox.
The Senate Democrats' campaign committee is for the first time considering spending significant funds against Mr. Allen. Meanwhile, Democrats have grown less worried about three of their seats. Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Amy Klobuchar, seeking Minnesota's open spot, showed wide leads in polls released last week. Yesterday in Maryland, a Baltimore Sun poll showed Rep. Ben Cardin up by 11 points over Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. That leaves New Jersey as Democrats' biggest worry. Sen. Robert Menendez, seeking the seat he got last year by appointment, slightly trails Republican Tom Kean Jr., son of the former governor, after allegations of ethical breaches that the Democrat denies.
Nonpartisan analyst Stuart Rothenberg, in revised ratings yesterday, downgraded Republican Allen's prospects, and upgraded those for Democrats Klobuchar and Cantwell.....

Ford poll shows he leads by 6 points

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Harold Ford Jr.’s campaign released its own internal poll Monday, which claimed they have a six-point lead over Republican Bob Corker.

The poll, which surveyed 605 likely registered voters from Sept. 21-23, has U.S. Rep. Ford (D-Memphis) leading Corker 45 percent to 39 percent with 17 percent undecided.

Margin for error was 3.9 percent. Michael Powell, senior advisor to the Ford campaign, said the poll shows Corker’s negative attacks on Ford have actually hurt the former Chattanooga Mayor. Plus, Powell said Gov. Phil Bredesen’s popularity has also aided Ford.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Corker, Nash Clash

Chattanooga Times Free Press:
(Friday,09/22/2006 © Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Things got heated during a local radio show segment this week featuring Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Corker.

Robert T. Nash, co-host of "Live and Local" on Chattanooga’s WGOW-FM 102.3, questioned Mr. Corker, the city’s former mayor, about releasing tax records, a real estate deal and other topics during the half-hour interview Wednesday.

Tempers flared several times during the segment. Mr. Nash noted an instance when he could not meet with Mr. Corker as planned and also said the former mayor is an "aspiring career politician." Meanwhile, the former mayor said the host had a "burr" and was "aligned" with the campaign of Democratic opponent Harold Ford Jr.

In an interview Thursday afternoon, Mr. Nash said there were "two hotheads in a small room who didn’t like one another."

Mr. Nash said he respects Mr. Corker’s business experience, but he is "skeptical" of the former mayor’s "reluctance" to release some information, such as his full tax records.

The Corker campaign has distributed a document listing Mr. Corker’s income and taxes paid beginning in 1976, but it has not released his full tax returns and schedules.

Mr. Corker said on the show Wednesday that he has gone beyond what is required of him as a Senate candidate in releasing tax information.

Mr. Corker said at a campaign stop at Miller Industries in Ooltewah on Thursday morning that he previously had made a commitment to the radio appearance and always tries to keep those.
Meanwhile, the Ford campaign on Thursday distributed a partial transcript of the interview to the media, highlighting a portion in which Mr. Corker said he would "give (Mr. Nash) a schedule all the way back to 1976." The Ford campaign repeatedly has questioned why Mr. Corker will not release the full returns and schedules.

Corker political director Todd Womack clarified Mr. Corker’s quote Thursday. He said the former mayor was referring to a schedule or document produced by the Corker campaign showing Mr. Corker’s income and taxes paid, not the Internal Revenue Service schedules showing how he earned his income through the years.

Jay-Z - History

(Jay-Z - History)Jay-Z - History with Lyrics

LYRICS : [Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
(Gimme a lighter)
Victory (Lighters up) is finally ours
(Lighters up)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
In search of victory, she keeps eluding me
If only we could be together momentarily
We can make love and make history
Why won't you visit me? until she visit me
I'll be stuck with her sister, her name is defeat
She gives me agony, so much agony
She brings me so much pain, so much misery
Like missing your last shot and falling to your knees
As the crowd screams for the other team
I practice so hard for this moment, victory don't leave
I know what this means, I'm stuck in this routine
Whole new different day, same old thing
All I got is dreams, nobody else can see
Nobody else believes, nobody else but me
Where are you victory? I need you desperately
Not just for the moment, to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History (yeah), so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 2: Jay-Z]
So now I'm flirting with death, hustling like a G
While victory wasn't watching took chances repeatedly
As a teenage boy before acne, before I got proactiv I couldn't face she
I just threw on my hoodie and headed to the street
That's where I met success, we'd live together shortly
Now success is like lust, she's good to the touch
She's good for the moment but she's never enough
Everybody's had her, she's nothing like V
But success is all I got unfortunately
But I'm burning down the block hoppin' in and out of V
But something tells me that there's much more to see
Before I get killed because I can't get robbed
So before me success and death ménage
I gotta get lost, I gotta find V
We gotta be together to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters. Up.)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighter. Up.)
Victory is finally ours
(Lighters. Up.)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Now victory is mine, it tastes so sweet
She's my trophy wife, you're coming with me
We'll have a baby who stutters repeatedly
We'll name him history, he'll repeat after me
He's my legacy, son of my hard work
Future of my past, he'll explain who I be
Rank me amongst the greats, either 1, 2, or 3
If I ain't number one then I failed you victory
Ain't in it for the fame that dies within weeks
Ain't in it for the money, can't take it when you leave
I wanna be remembered long after you grieve
Long after I'm gone, long after I breathe
I leave all I am in the hands of history
That's my last will and testimony
This is much more than a song, it's a baby shower
I've been waiting for this hour, history you ours

[Chorus: Cee-lo (2x)]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

Man in the Mirror--By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

I'm gonna make a change,
for once im my life
It's gonna feel real good,
gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right...

As I, turn up the collar on
my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways - ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror - Oh yeah!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cook

It's been a long time coming but a change is surely going to come in America and the World! I am the Future of America and the World and that is the message that each of us must carry with us each and every day that we wake up on Earth! I am the Future! You are the Future! We are the Future of America and the World! That is way every election is important--primaries, special elections and general! So vote every year and hold our politicians accountable. Hold our political officials accountable by writing them, calling them and making sure they attend meetings that we the people have. "The Time for Change is not Now but Right Now!"

"EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary" should be our anthem and should be our creed as we make the positive differences in America and the world that so many people beg for and hungry for year after year! A Change is Gonna Come, A Change is Gonna Come, that's what we must say as we say "God grants us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courge to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference" each morning before we go about the task of making a positive change in America and the world a reality.

Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen

“When will people realize that we are Americans first and foremost, not Democrats or Liberals, not Republicans or Conservatives, not Independents or moderates. We are Americans. Stop putting a political party above America and stop putting any politican above America. America succeeds because of us the people holding our government responsible no matter the political party because the main two political parties are to blame for the condition America is in."—Hodari P.T. Brown

America with its flaws and all is a country I am proud to have been born in. America is not perfect but my love for it is perfect. That’s why all Americans must realize that we are all Americans. In fact we are Americans first and foremost. We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are Americans.

We are not Muslims, Christians or Jews. We are Americans. Too many times we recognize our differences with others rather than appreciating our similarities which are, we are Americans. We are Americans first and foremost, no matter if we were born here or moved here legally. We are all Americans, here in this country to make not only our lives better but the lives of other Americans better so future Americans can enjoy the rights and freedoms that make us all Americans.

We are all Americans. We are one party united under God. We are Americans and this is the only political party that matters. We are Americans and this is our country so let’s make sure that we make America better than how we found it so future Americans can live prosperous and joyous lives. We are Americans and must not ever forget that.

America will prosper as long we make sure we are doing our part to make it prosper and that means we can’t put any political party or politician above America. Long live America forever and long live America’s service to the world. Together, America and the world will prosper for future generations to enjoy America and the world we live in.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

This video of the ' Negro National Anthem' was originally screened at the historic African-American Church Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC on January 18th, 2009. Many of the esteemed individuals featured in this video in attendance and we presented with the ' Keepers of the Flame' award for the monumental contributions to social justice.

This version of the song was performed by the Grace Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, conducted by Derrick James. The video was produced and donated by Ascender Communications, LLC ( at the request of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

If I Was President--Wyclef Jean

If I was President that is the people's anthem. We all have ideas of what we can do as President and through this website, we will fulfill our deam as a people!

Somethings Gotta Give--Big Boi ft Mary J Blige

Somethings Gotta Give people and it begins today for all us to make sure that something is us. We the people are sick and tired of suffering. Where is our piece of the Dream that so many people dead for so that we all could see today. This is our time people to change America and the world so that the Next Generation has a better future than the past we inherited.

This is our call to service. This isn't about one political candidate or one political figure. This is about us as people coming together to finally leave up to our potential and achieving the great feats that those before us have achieved. This is our moment to lead our nation and our world to greater heights.

Somethings gotta give people and it starts with us the people making it happen. We have to improve our education system in America. We have to rid the world of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We have to go to the streets and lift a hand to another in order to decrease poverty in this world. We have to take a stand today and make sure that the future of America and the world is brighter than it has ever been.

Somethings Gotta Give and that is why we must "Remember Each One, Reach One and Teach One so America's future and the World's future continues to prosper."

John Legend - "If You're Out There"

If you're out there than you need to get started in helping to change America and the world. The world and America won't change until you get involved in making the changes you want to see in this world. If you're out there, than you must know that tomorrow started now and today started yesterday so you are behind in helping to the change. If you are tired of hatred, racism, poverty, war, and violence than the time to change it is now. If you want universal health care, world peace, democracy for every nation, equal rights, and happiness for all than you must get involved now to help the save world.

You must believe in the change that you want to see and you must act on making that change a reality. If you're out there than say it aloud and show the rest of America and the world that you're out here to make a real positive change in the communities we stay in. If you're out there than get involved now. I'm calling every women and men to join me as we take back our country right here, right now. If you're out there than the future started yersterday and we are already late so we have lots of work to do but I know we can do it together as one.


Yes We Can accomplish anything that we set out to do! We don't need charismatic or inspirational leaders to believe in ourselves and to take responsiblity for our own faith, we just need each other. Yes We Can build a new America and a new world if each of us would take action now to make the changes that we want to see in the world. Yes We Can control government by holding our political officials accountable for their actions by calling them out when they don't pass legislation that supports the common good of all man and by voting in every election to ensure that we have people representing the people locally, state wide, nationally and in the world.

Yes We Can be great! Yes We Can be what we want to be! Yes We Can be glorious in not only America but the world! Yes We can put action behind our worlds and change the world starting right here, right now! Yes We Can as Republicans, Democrats and Independents become one as we freely think about our fellow men and women and make decisions that will be in the best interest of all people and not one single group.

Yes We Can be the change that we want to see in the world! Yes We Can show the world that the youth are ready to lead! Yes We Can put our egos, our social economic statuses, our religions, our educational statuses and our skin color to the side for the better good of the world! Yes We Can be Greater than we have ever been and help others be Greater than they have ever be!

YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS IN ALL THAT WE DO! YES WE CAN, no matter what others may say, we will be glorious! YES WE WILL and YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN is what will be sung from every mountaintop, every riverbank, every household, every school yard, every factory, every sporting event, every college campus and even every place you can imagine in the world is where YES WE CAN, will be said and heard!


Keep On Pushing - Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

Wake Up People! No matter who is elected to any public office, we have to “Keep On Pushing” as a people to make sure they don’t leave us in a worst state than what they inherited. We as a people have to “Keep On Pushing” to make a difference in the lives of others. We have to have an “EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary” attitude as we continue to push our agenda that we the people deserve and want better. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change in a positive way that will benefit all Americans no matter their age, their religion or skin color. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will improve our education system, improve our military, improve our national security, improve our healthcare system and improve our economy. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will leave America’s future in a better than how we found it and that will leave the world’s future in a better state than we imagined we could live it. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to make life better for our neighborhoods, our families and even our quote on quote enemies. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to inspire, to uplift and to guide those who need help spiritually, physically and mentally. We have to “Keep On Pushing ” so that our lives, our future generation’s lives and the lives of those who came before us does not die in vein.

“Keep on Pushing”

A War For Your Soul

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.

The moment has come for us as a nation of people to finally wake up and realize that our destiny and fate in society has rests on our shoulders. We cannot allow the forces of evil and darkness to drain us out. We have to continue to overcome all odds in order to make the future of our nation better and the future of future generations of Americans better. We have to continue to pray to our Lord and we have to continue to uplift each other in prayer as well as take action against those things that are trying to destroy us. We have to stand up once and for all and be the future that we want to be. Now is our time and we shall do together by any means necessary.

This video was created to inspire young African-Americans not to fall prey to some of the problems they face in society. The use of the voice "Master of Darkness" represents evil, which is where the blame of all problems should be placed, and not on any one group of people. This video should not to be used to divide people (Black & White), there are images of heroes that are white in this video, and there are images of Black & White coming together with the words of Dr. King in the background. Some of the images from the past can be unsettling, but they are used to show all Americans how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. This film is being strategically placed in school systems, churches and youth orgs around the country, in hope of helping a lost generation of kids that we as Americans have forgotten. As fellow Americans we must continue to love each other, and take that love and spread it to the rest of the world. **THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR SALE & I AM NOT ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR THE FILM, I ONLY WANT THE MESSAGE TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT ANY HIDDEN POLITICAL OR FINANCIAL AGENDA.
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Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

"The time for sitting is over! The time for action is now! The time for hope without action is hopeless! The time for change without a positive attitude is a change that we can't believe in! We need change that is positive of helping all people! Our time for action is now, our time for hope is now, our time for change is now and our time to believe that we can do whatever we set our minds to is not now but right now!"


The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— "In God is our trust; "
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Black President

Our Time is not now but Right Now! Our Time has finally come to change the world not now but Right Now! If you don't believe that we can change the world than watch as we do it by changing your mind into believing in us and what we can do! This is OUR TIME RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!


We got to FIGHT THE POWER! We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch injustices take place. We can no longer sit by and allow our right to vote to become unexercised. We must FIGHT THE POWER for our past, present and future! We can no longer allow our rights to be oppressed and our voice to become drained by the powers at be. We must FIGHT THE POWER and show that we have a lot to say that needs to be heard by the mainstream media. We must FIGHT THE POWER and live up to our potential as dynamic, unbelievable and phenomenal people.

We must not believe the hype but we must become the hype. We are not Harriett Tubman, Marcus Garvey, MLK, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois, the Black Panther Party, SNCC, or any other activists but we are the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, and relatives of those who came before us to pave the way for us to FIGHT THE POWER! We are not next Generation of leaders who will not be honored and praised until they die but that’s the fight we accept. We are not fighting the power for glory or fame but we are fighting the power for just causes that most men and women will not understand until years or decades later.

We are fighting for our sisters and brothers in Darfur, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, China and Mexico. We are speaking for those who are poor and have no food or water. We are fighting for those who are sick and dying. We are fighting for universal healthcare across the world and human rights for all people. We are fighting for rich and poor! We must FIGHT THE POWER no matter how hard and tough the road may be. We must FIGHT THE POWER for a better today and an even greater tomorrow!



“People Get Ready” our time is coming! We have come too far to turn back now. Our train is coming and it is coming in waves. “People Get Ready”, we don’t need a ticket but we need faith and the Lord will help guide us as we take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” our moment is now and we are ready to see the change we want in America and the world. All we got to do is have faith, hope and prosperity. “People Get Ready” to face your fears. “People Get Ready” to face your demons and the challenges of yesterday because today and tomorrow we will conquer & be victorious. “People Get Ready” a change is coming and our actions will make sure that change is a real positive change that lasts forever.

“People Get Ready” because we have had enough of just talking but now is our time to show action. “People Get Ready” to take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” to take back our communities and to make our streets safer and schools better. “People Get Ready” to make all our dreams come true. “People Get Ready” to see a better present for everyone and a better future for future generations. “People Get Ready” to live up to your potential and to help others live up to their own potential. “People Get Ready” to move past hatred, bigotry, racism and sexism. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the dreams of those who came before us and those who will come after us.

“People Get Ready” as we make our actions speak louder than our words. “People Get Ready” to make words mean something again as we put action to back up our rhetoric. “People Get Ready” as we embark on a new journey that will re-write America’s history as well as the world’s history. “People Get Ready” as we make the lives of others better and the lives of future generations better. “People Get Ready” because all we need is faith, hope and action to make this world a better place. “People Get Ready” to make a difference. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the American dream. “People Get Ready" to live out the American Dream as our founding fathers wanted us to live it. “People Get Ready” because our time is now, our moment is now and our moment in time to change America & the world is not now but right now. “People Get Ready” because a change is coming!

(Let me tell you now)
People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord

People get ready, for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all man kind just to save his own (believe me now)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there's no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

[Alicia & Lyfe]
So people get ready there's a train coming
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming,
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord


God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood-god bless the U.S.A