Former President Bill Clinton announced his endorsement of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Thursday in her bid to keep the seat to which Gov. David Paterson appointed her last year. Clinton's support serves as a blow to former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford, whom he has supported in the past.
Ford has not yet announced whether he will seak office in New York, but he took a leave of absence from his Wall Street job to tour the state, and the snippy back-and-forth he and Gillibrand have engaged in the past few weeks furthers speculation he'll throw his hat into the ring.
Clinton is the latest powerhouse Democrat to back Gillibrand, who may face Ford in a primary election.
The Daily News reported that an aide said Gillibrand "greatly appreciates President Clinton's support for her agenda fighting for core Democratic values." Gillibrand was an avid supporter of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid.
The most recent endorsement is a subtle snub to Ford, who once led the Democratic Leadership Council, a position Clinton also formerly held.
The former president has been said to be a fan of the 30-year-old politician, who once called him "the walking, living embodiment [of] where America ought to go in the 21st century."
Meanwhile, the exchange continues to get tetchy between Gillibrand and Ford, who dismissed his potential rival and called her a Democratic "parakeet" on Monday.
Gillibrand bit back, tweeting a few hours before Obama's State of the Union Address, "If HF were here, he would probably be sitting on the Republican side."
The Daily News reported that Ford, who toured a Westchester hospital and a Bronx pharmacy yesterday, said he hadn't seen Gillibrand's tweet, but "would imagine that some of the political pressure and things are probably getting to her and her team."
These fighting words are causing a stir before Ford has even officially announced his candidacy. State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs attempted to keep the peace on NY1 News.
"I don't like the name-calling. I don't think it's helpful," he said, according to the News.