The pressure for Harold Ford to abandon considering a Senate run in New York reached the highest levels of politics Monday with President Obama weighing in. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Add another item to President Barack Obama's to do list -- a full term for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
"I think the White House is quite happy with the leadership and the representation of Senator Gillibrand in New York," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Still, amid mounting pressure, Harold Ford Junior isn't dissuaded. He previously said calls to bow out were the work of Albany and Washington bosses.
During a TV appearance Monday, Ford Junior said, "I have great respect for President Obama and if I run and win I look forward to working with him but I will listen to New Yorkers as I make this decision."
The president has been successful at clearing Gillibrand's path before, aided by Senator Charles Schumer, who talked with Ford last week.
“All I told him was that I would be supporting Kirsten Gillibrand, because I think she is doing a good, I think she is hard working, and I think it is about time that upstate had some representation in the US Senate," Schumer said.
Closer to home, others are trying to oust Ford before he even formally declares a run. On Monday, abortion and gay rights groups backing Gillibrand continued to call attention to flip-flopping by the former Congressman.
"I just don't think you can move to New York and suddenly feel well now I can be suddenly in favor of gay marriage," said Alan Van Cappelle of the Empire State Pride Agenda.
When Gillibrand was tapped, she was less than effusive in same sex marriage.
Van Cappelle, however, sees other key differences.
Ford twice backed a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage which he says is an almost unforgivable position that taints his reversal now.
"I just don't buy it," Van Cappelle said.
Ford's spokesman said he was a longtime backer of civil unions, who concluded the differences between them and marriage is fictional.