Ford Previews His Speech

Ford Previews His Speech

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“If this is the trajectory I’m on, I like where I’m going”: that was U.S Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Memphis) talking to Tennessee reporters Monday on his opportunity to address the Democratic National Convention as keynote speaker Tuesday night.

Ford recalled that he had deliberated for a lengthy period last year on making a race for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Bill Frist and that if he had, “I could probably not have been keynote speaker of [state] co-chair of the Gore 2000 campaign.”

Asked whether he was nervous about his opportunity, the 9th District congressman said, “I’m nervous about the teleprompter. As you can tell, I like to talk. I’ve never had to write a speech or read a speech before.” He said he’d received some advice about speech content from “people in the [Gore] campaign and the DNC [Democratic National Committee].”

Earlier he had said the speech would attempt to tell the "compelling life story" of Gore. Ford said that, as the youngest serving congressman and as an African American, he would be in a position to use his primetime spot to explain to the country how far the nation had come.

"Al Gore entered political life not in search of a career, but because he heard a calling.” Ford said the speech would “send a loud, clear signal about Al Gore's public life and how he has always looked ahead with vision. ...At every point in his public life he has always been a leader. I'm going to humanize him and show America why they should not be looking back to the Bushes.”

In his talk with reporters Monday he compared the careers of candidates Gore and George W. Bush, both sons of established public figures, but said that one, Bush, had strived to “protect those on top of the montain,” while Gore attempted to “help others climb that mountain.”

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