Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) wants to beat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in a New York Democratic primary by ... opposing the health care bill?

Today's New York Times interview with Ford seems to make that pretty clear. Ford says he would oppose the current bill because of the cost, even if he supports the idea of health care reform. This is not new among New York Democrats. In fact, Gov. David Paterson (D) has worried aloud about the cost of the plan for the state.

But for Ford, it's interesting. While he moves to the left on a number of issues, he stays curiously to the middle -- and perhaps the right -- on health care.

While the bill polls poorly among the broad electorate, it seems pretty clear New York Democratic primary voters probably support the bill by a wide margin at this point.

From the Times:

Ford: Second, as it relates to health care, I am for the bill, as I stated. But I wouldn’t support the bill with the Stupak amendment if it came to the House floor. I wouldn’t vote for a bill that would add additional debt and burden to my home state, which would be New York.

If I were the senator of the state, there is no way I could support a bill that would add the kind of burdens that have been projected to add what it does to New York City and New York State. We should not do it to any state.

Q. You would oppose the health-care overhaul as it now stands?

Ford: I couldn’t support a health-care bill that places the kind of burdens on New York State that this one does. I am for health-care reform, and I think there is a way to correct this, and understand, Michael, I have a relationship with MSNBC, and I have talked about the increased taxes on business and increased burdens placed on states. At a time when projections show states like New York face the kinds of projected deficits, it does not seem smart to place that kind of extra burden on them at this moment.