After letting her powerful Democratic friends try to scare former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. out of running for office in New York, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand lashed out against her potential rival for the first time yesterday — mainly because he wrote her a letter. Gillibrand took Ford to task for a note he penned urging Senators to oppose the health care reform bill to "protect hardworking New Yorkers from paying the additional fees and taxes."

"If Harold Ford wants to move from Tennessee and run in New York, he is welcome to do so," Gillibrand said. "His record of being anti-choice, anti-marriage equality and now opposed to President Obama's health care legislation may be right for Tennessee" but not New York, she told the Daily News. Ford's letter positions himself alongside Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg, who oppose the current bill because it could cost the state as much as $1 billion, according to the Post.

Gillibrand — who was put in office by Gov. Paterson after Hillary Clinton was named Secretary of State — said the letter proves Ford is out of touch. "I don't believe New Yorkers will stand for a senator that says they will oppose President Obama, just like the insurance companies want," she told the Times. Ford's spokesman emphasized the former Tennessee lawmaker's claim that he is really pro-choice (despite video of Ford saying he's pro-life) and a supporter of gay marriage (even though he voted twice to ban it). "It's sad to see the unelected senator resort to the politics-as-usual of distorting records," he said. The likely rivals crossed paths at a vigil for Haitian earthquake victims organized by Rev. Al Sharpton, with whom Ford is expected to travel to Haiti to help in relief efforts.

Gillibrand's statements come a day after a bizarre interview with Ford in which he revealed he had only visited Staten Island by helicopter and noted that when he said he was pro-life, he was really referring to veterans benefits and equal pay for National Guardsmen. The Daily Beast said the Q and A wasn't just a bad moment for politician's nascent campaign, but it also presented "a dystopic vision of the political future, a future in which the American overclass dispatches its young into the provinces armed with so much money that it doesn't matter that they know nothing about the place they're supposed to represent."