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Bill Clinton Comes to Memphis: The Story...

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Former president Bill Clinton made a special appearance in Memphis Wednesday on senatorial candidate Harold Ford Jr.'s behalf. Speaking to a large crowd at the COGIC Temple of Deliverance, Clinton hailed Rep. Ford's Senate bid as an opportunity for the country to move "beyond race." The former president acknowledged possible differences of opinion on some issues but said, "If we agree on everything, one of us isn't thinking."

Also on the stage with Clinton and Ford were Tennessee congressmen John Tanner of the nearly 8th congressional district and Lincoln Davis of the 4th District, which snakes through all three grand divisions of the state.

Tanner and Davis, like Ford himself, are members of the conservative "Blue Dog" caucus, a fact which prompted Clinton to tell the trio they had "taken race out of redneck."

In an allusion to the controversial RNC ad playing off Ford'a attendance to Playboy-sponsored Super Bowl party, one in which a scantily clad woman says flirtatiously, "Call me, Harold," Clinton (who had a problem or two along these lines during his presidency) voiced approval of Ford's response: "'I plead guilty. I like football and girls.'"

Clinton said Ford's victory was necessary as a part of overdue political change, away from the "ideologues" now in charge in Washington. To that end, he foresaw a coalition between legitimate progressives and conservatives in Congress.

On Iraq, Clinton disputed Republican allegations that Democrats wanted to "cut and run," saying, "What we want to do is stop and think."

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