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Harold Ford, Jr. Gets It

Reported by Ellen - October 15, 2007 -

I've been very critical of FOX News Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. for allowing Sean Hannity to disparage the Democratic Party and even joining in the attacks during appearances on Hannity & Colmes. But ever since his Meet The Press confrontation with DailyKos' Markos Moulitsas on that very subject in August, Ford has been a changed pundit, at least during his last several appearances on Hannity & Colmes.

On Meet The Press, Moulitsas urged Ford to "(stand) tall for core progressive principles" and to stop attacking Democrats while on FOX. Moulitsas was referring to incidents like this one in which Ford responded to Sean Hannity's accusation that Harry Reid's leadership has emboldened the enemy and betrayed the troops by saying, "I don’t associate myself with (Harry Reid)” then adding that the country has a right to be "equally repulsed" by the president as by Democrats. Moulitsas noted that it wasn't a question of being a liberal or centrist Democrat but, rather, being "strong, unapologetic, muscular Democrats."

Well, it looks like Ford took Moulitsas' advice. In his last several appearances on Hannity & Colmes, Ford has deftly turned aside Hannity's attacks and advocated from a much stronger position. For example, during Ford's last appearance on the show (video below), he countered conservative accusations that Google is "partners in crime" with MoveOn.org (because Google turned down some ads critical of MoveOn's "Betray Us" ad) by quickly asking, “Why are we still talking about this ad? ...When are we going to get to the business of trying to figure out where the Republican nominee stands on the serious issue of Iraq, where the Democratic nominee stands? And let’s have a robust debate about that.” Ford is almost certainly no MoveOn supporter but he neatly side-stepped the point and reframed the issue by hammering on the Iraq war throughout the discussion.

That not only deflected guest host Rich Lowry's attacks and re-focused the discussion, it allowed Alan Colmes to pick up the ball and run with it. Colmes added that Republicans would prefer to focus on one word in an ad “rather than have to deal with the actual events going on and the policy that is indefensible.”

Ford even gently rebuked FOX News, to whom he is under contract, for not having Google on to defend itself. Then he adroitly brought the topic round to the war again. “There’s a larger issue here. We (are) embroiled in a war that we all want to win. It’s unclear if refereeing a civil war the way we’re doing it, it can be successful, it’s unclear if the surge can last much longer with public support being there for it… That should be where the debate should be centered.”

Bravo.

Video of Ford's most recent appearance on Hannity & Colmes, on October 11, is below. I already wrote more broadly about that discussion in a previous post. But, after receiving an email suggestion from Moulitsas, I agreed that Ford's change was worth noting and applauding in a post of its own.