And he told him so himself.
Jon Winkleman took the day off from work to crash Ford's meeting with Democratic leaders in Brooklyn on Friday, he told the Daily News. Armed with vitriol and signs that called Ford an "anti-choice, anti-gay liar" and read "snake-oil Harry, go away," Winkleman became the first official protestor to bash a campaign that has yet to exist.
Ford spent the day meeting with party heads, including Bronx Democrat Assemblyman Carl Heastie and Kings County Democrat Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who told the News after his sitdown with Ford that it would be "very difficult not to endorse him" if he runs.
The 10-year Tennessee congressman bills himself as a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage candidate ideal to usurp the seat granted to Gillibrand when Hillary Clinton assumed her duties as Secretary of State. But his voting record says otherwise, which concerns supporters and gives critics like Winkleman ammunition.
Ford voted twice to ban gay marriage, most recently in 2006, and voted to ban late-term abortions. Meanwhile, Gillibrand has already earned the support of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other key openly gay elected officials.
The former congressman's spokesman explains away Ford's voting record on gay marriage by describing a change in heart. Davidson Goldin has said that Ford supported civil unions for many years, and now, after listening to all sides, backs gay marriage.
"Any suggestion otherwise is misleading and just another example of what party insiders will do to protect the unelected senator, Kirsten Gillibrand," Goldin told the News.
Ford and Gillibrand have exchanged barbs in the last few weeks indicative of a rivalry for the Democratic nomination that has formed ahead of Ford's decision to run. Earlier this week, Ford called Gillibrand, whom Gov. David Paterson appointed to the job, a "parakeet" to the Democratic leadership. In turn, Gillibrand used her Twitter feed to mock her potential rival on the eve of President Barack Obama's "State of the Union" address.
She tweeted, "Looking forward to the [State of the Union] tonight. If HF were here, he would probably be sitting on the Republican side."