Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Harold Ford Jr., her likely opponent for the Democratic seat, have engaged in unrestrained bad-mouthing and name-calling, yet at a dinner for Black and Puerto Rican lawmakers yesterday they were able to act like adults for once. The two shook hands warmly, as Gillibrand whispered "Welcome" and "Good to see you," into Ford's ear. Ford thanked her, and came close to giving a hug to the woman who he's previously called a "parakeet," “the unelected senator” and a “tobacco lawyer” (referring to her work as a corporate lawyer). For her part, a ruffled Gillibrand twittered recently: “I wouldn’t let my 6-year-old to engage in this kind of name-calling. And HF thinks he should be senator?”

Both have plenty of problems of their own. For Gillibrand there's the "bland" factor: "I will fight for you as hard as I fight for my own children," she said yesterday perhaps responding to Ford and others who've criticized her for failing to build a relationship with voters. Still according to the Times, "the meeting caps a week in which Gillibrand was endorsed by the local Democratic organizations in Manhattan and the Bronx. Her campaign says she has now received endorsements from 58 of the 62 county party organizations." For her probable rival, there's the tiny issue of the tax returns Ford has never filed in New York; though he's worked here for three years, the Tennessee native will file for the first time in April. Then there's his flowing tongue.

In spite of the niceties, both Ford and Gillibrand managed to slide in a few barbs yesterday. "At the end of the day, many people in the state don't know Sen. Gillibrand, don't know a whole lot about her," Ford said on "Meet the Press," hours before the dinner. Gillibrand had her response ready later on: "I'm not worried because at the end of the day, anyone is welcome to move here from Tennessee and run for the Senate," she told reporters. "But I'm running on my record."