NEWS STAND: Obama Says No to Ford, New Orleans Power Shift, Racism in Italy

Our take on today's headlines

Togo terro victim - Getty Images
Togo terro victim - Getty Images


President Obama doesn’t want Harold Ford Jr. to run for the U.S. Senate. The White House has indicated it does not want the former Tennessee Congressman to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in this year’s Democratic primaries. Ford’s name surfaced last week as a possible opponent to Gillibrand, who was appointed by New York Governor David Paterson to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton’s election as Secretary of State.

“I think the White House is quite happy with the leadership and the representation of Sen. Gillibrand in New York,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, when asked about Ford at a White House briefing. Ford has been living in New York since he lost an election three years ago. Gov. Paterson also weighed in: “I would suggest that he might look for another state to run a primary.”

New York politicians have declared that Ford’s political views are far too conservative to win a Democratic primary. They focused on Ford’s positions in his earlier Tennessee races that he was “pro-life,” and opposed to gay marriage. He has since said that he supports a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy and would back civil union for same-sex partners.


Will New Orleans elect a white mayor after three decades of uninterrupted black rule? This seems likely after the most prominent African-American candidate dropped out of the race last week. State Senator Ed Murray withdrew after acknowledging that it would be difficult to beat Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, the scion of a prominent white political family who has been popular among black voters.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, much of the city’s middle-class base was forced out by the flooding and the population is still down by 100,000. While blacks still make up about 62 percent of the voter rolls, white candidates have gained traction since Katrina hit in 2005. Whites gained a 4-3 majority on the City Council in 2007, and a white district attorney was elected in 2008, according to an AP story in the Los Angeles Times.

Other candidates include former state Judge Nadine Ramsey and fair housing advocate James Perry, both black, and white businessman Rob Couhig, the only major Republican candidate in the race.
But the candidate widely considered the front-runner is the 49-year-old Landrieu, the son of the city’s last white mayor, Moon Landrieu, and brother of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.