It is reasonably well known that U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis' 9th congressional district has become a big-time player in the cathode-tube universe of Inside-the-Beltway Washington. What is not so widely known is some of the dramas the 31-year-old third-term congressman has played in.

A road-show version of one of them, called "Campaign-Finance Reform," came to town Friday, and a good time was hand by all, despite the absence, due to a prostate operation, of the drama's main player, Senator John McCain (who, said Ford at one point with respectful irreverence, "is the one that sucks up all the air time").

The other familiar cable-news faces were there, however Ð Sen. Russ Feingoldthe Senate co-sponsor, with McCain of the major extant reform bill, McCain-Feingold; Reps. Chris Shays (R-Ct.) and Martin Meehan (D-Mass.), sponsors of the companion House bill Ð along with two not-so-familiar ones, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a legendary veteran of the Civil Rights movement; Rep. Marion Berry(D-Ark.); and Scott Harshbarger, head of Common Cause.

All had their moments in the presentation of the common cause, which was, of course, the bill to ban impose strict limits on the cornucopic, corporate-tainted Òsoft moneyÓ which the sponsors all feel restricts the civil rights of ordinary Americans and favors special interests.

(A full report will be posted Saturday)

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