Possible Senate candidate and former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. called his likely rival a "hypocrite" and a "tobacco apologist" in an open letter. According to the Post, the Merrill Lynch executive—who has come under fire for tax discrepancies and not disclosing if he received a "taxpayer-backed" bonus—demanded Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand release her tax records. "Why won't you release your tax returns from when you defended big tobacco companies?"

In the letter, which the Daily News runs in full, Ford contends that if Gillibrand is going to demand that he disclose his records before he officially declares his campaign, she should "shoot straight with voters" about her records before her 2006 Congressional run. In statements that are far more hostile than past attacks, Ford claims the Paterson appointee takes order from Democratic high-ups and urges her to "stop attacking the financial industry." He writes: "If you spent a quarter of the time you spend lying about me on working for the people of New York, the State's economy and fiscal situation might be in better shape."

Gillibrand spokesman Glen Caplin shot back with this statement:

Harold Ford called for transparency of Wall street bonuses, and now refuses to be transparent about his own taxpayer-backed bonus. And when Harold Ford was a Tennessee Congressman, he failed to post his official daily schedule, personal financial disclosure, and earmark requests online. The facts are that as a Tennessee Congressman Ford voted to protect big tobacco interests, while Kirsten Gillibrand votes for public health and against big tobacco 100% of the time.