Harold Ford Jr., the former Tennessee Congressman-turned-Merrill banker ane media star, still technically isn’t running for Congress.
He’s only expressed interest in it, and will decide officially in the next couple of weeks.
But given how his exploratory period is going, we wouldn’t be surprised if he just decides it’s not worth it.
After a disastrous NYT interview and questions about his political leanings (liberals harbor strong suspicions that he’s pro-life), he continues to stumble over his time on Wall Street.
Here’s how it went down on Meet The Press this Sunday (via The Village Voice)
MR. GREGORY: But you won’t say how big your bonus was with Merrill?
REP. FORD: I had a contract with Merrill Lynch. They–I had a certain things I–number of things I had to do. I satisfied that, and I was paid. I make no bones about it. New York City, New York state depend heavily on Wall Street. I’m a believer it ought–the system ought to be reformed, but putting a tax on banks at a time at which the recovery is as timid and as fragile as it is–680,000 New Yorkers work in this industry. The importance of the revenue to the city and to the state of New York, I’m, I’m not afraid…
MR. GREGORY: So what…
REP. FORD: …nor am I ashamed to say, if I run for the Senate and I win, I will defend the biggest industry in my state.
MR. GREGORY: So how big was the bonus?
REP. FORD: David, if I run for office, I’ll, I’ll talk about all of those things.
It’s actually refreshing that he’ll defend Wall Street, but if he’s going to put himself out there as a quasi-candidate, and if he knows he’ll have to reveal his bonus eventually, then he might as well put it out there now and move on.
The problem isn’t going to be the size of the bonus, really, but how Ford explains the “number of things I had to do” to justify said bonus. Voters will be very eager to find out what, exactly, a politically connected Merrill banker does to earn millions from a taxpayer-subsidized bank.