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Does Harold Ford Jr. Have Any Chance of Saving His Anti-Gay Reputation?

Opponents “are falsifying my record in public life,” says Harold Ford Jr. in a Post op-ed. Has this man learning nothing from the very woman — Hillary Clinton — whose U.S. Senate seat he wants to take? That playing the victim is a losing strategy?

Particularly when Ford’s “record in public life” speaks for itself. Facing criticism from women’s and gay groups, Ford insists in the piece “I am pro-choice — have always been since I entered politics almost 15 years ago,” despite describing himself as “pro-life,” supposedly his cutesy way of supporting abortion rights while reclaiming the term “pro-life.”

As for his newly formed support for full marriage rights? “[F]rom the moment I arrived in Congress, I supported civil unions. Like New York’s senior senator [Chuck Schumer], after listening to and participating in the national conversation about full equality and fairness, I support same-sex marriage.”

Well, we’ve seen Ford play the defensive role before — in the same ad where he let everyone know he is against gay marriage. Which is why he’s facing attacks from the likes of Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Alan Van Capelle, who calls Ford a “snake oil salesman.”

Capelle, of course, is the same guy who came to the the side of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — whose Senate seat Ford wants to take — when she was appointed by Gov. David Paterson. Despite a strong commitment for nationwide civil unions, it wasn’t until that early morning phone call with Capelle, after learning she was Paterson’s pick, that she got to the M-word.

But isn’t our ultimate goal to get politicians to support the gay marriage cause? No, we don’t like this class of folks lying straight to our faces, particularly about their record, as it can be argued Ford is doing. But here we have a guy who’s so desperate to take public office, he’s taken up gay marriage as a pet project. What he does with this new vocal support — beyond going on the record in support of marriage — will signal how we ultimately judge him.

(NB: And in a not-entirely-related note, it’s interesting to see both Ford, a Democratic, and Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who also wants to be a U.S. Senator, being dubbed “do anything to get elected” politicians.)