By Heather Grossmann
MANHATTAN — Harold Ford Jr., sporting a blue tie dotted with dollar symbols and bulls, continued his string of political lunch meetings on Friday, dining with Assemblyman Vito Lopez at an Italian Restaurant in Brooklyn.
The former Tennessee congressman, who recently took a leave from his Wall Street job to explore a primary run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, was accompanied by Bloomberg campaign manager Bradley Tusk, who has joined Ford at political meet-and-greets in the past.
Ford answered very few questions after the meal at Cono’s Restaurant — a favorite of Lopez' — insisting that there would be plenty of time to talk issues should he decide to run.
But he did speak about Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court decision to remove corporate limits on campaign spending.
"The thrust of the decision I totally disagree with," he said, but when asked if that meant he would refuse corporate funding, he said only, "I'm going to follow the law."
Lopez said that he found Ford very knowledgeable and complimented his “smooth style” and “charisma” repeatedly.
“He’s a little bit of a celebrity,” Lopez said. “He resonates a little bit better than her [Gillibrand].”
Lopez said that he wouldn’t be making any endorsement decisions until he knew how serious Ford was about running, noting that the potential candidate said he’d make a decision in the next few weeks.
The Brooklyn assemblyman said that people in political circles are open to learning more about Ford and that he’d set up a meeting of Democratic leaders throughout his borough next week to discuss Ford’s possible candidacy.
"People that are incumbents have something to worry about. Outsiders do better,” Lopez said.