With Harold Ford Jr. Pondering A Return to “Imus in the Morning,” the I-Man Tones Down Ridicule of Former Friend

738707012 With Harold Ford Jr. Pondering A Return to Imus in the Morning, the I Man Tones Down Ridicule of Former FriendEver since January, when Harold Ford Jr. began toying with a possible run for the U.S. Senate, disgraced urban cowboy Don Imus has been jabbing at the politician-turned-banker-turned-pundit on a regular basis. Along the way, Mr. Imus has called Mr. Ford a “little skunk” and a “gutless weasel.”

But on Tuesday on Imus in the Morning, instead of taking another swing at a favorite target, Mr. Imus gently joked about the news from the night before that Mr. Ford was bowing out of the race. “I feel bad about that because I was going to do a 180 and actually support him,” said Mr. Imus.   

“I’m sure he’ll be glad to hear that you’re back in his camp,” said sidekick Charles McCord, chuckling.    

“Well I’m willing, in the words of Kinky Friedman, to let bygones be bygones,” said Mr. Imus.   

Really?  

Once upon a time, not so long ago, before their falling out, Mr. Imus and Mr. Ford had been close media allies. For years, Mr. Ford regularly appeared on Mr. Imus’ program. And, in turn, Mr. Imus supported Mr. Ford’s various political ambitions, particularly his 2006 run in Tennessee for U.S. Senate.  

But, in the spring of 2007, with Mr. Imus in hot water for calling the Rutgers basketball team “nappy-headed hos,” Mr. Ford dithered in standing by his I-Man. The lack of support from his former friend didn’t sit well with Mr. Imus. Later, he accused Mr. Ford of abandoning him in the crisis. Resentment festered.  

Months later, when Mr. Imus eventually returned to the air, he mentioned Mr. Ford’s name at a town-hall style show in New York. The audience of Imus fans responded by booing loudly. And ever since January, Mr. Imus has taken to mocking and knocking Mr. Ford on a recurring basis. So why the toned-down approach on Tuesday morning?  

According to a source familiar with the situation, it turns out that the two camps have been in discussions recently about the possibility of Mr. Ford returning to Imus in the Morning as a guest. At the moment, the conversations have yet to result in a definite booking (perhaps in part because Mr. Ford is a regular on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, which is a major Imus in the Morning competitor). But it would seem that, for the time being, Mr. Imus is doing his best not to scuttle the potential reunion by piling on additional insults. The bad blood, in other words, has entered a state of limbo.  

Will the civility last? Mr. Imus declined to comment. But a source familiar with Mr. Imus’ thinking seemed non-committal. “Don has an excellent sense of humor,” said the source.    

And one that can shift quickly. For the time being, the ribbing remains low key.  “I’ve done some soul searching, some reflecting,” Mr. Imus said later on Tuesday’s show. “I was all prepared to…support his candidacy, maybe spend weekends traveling around the state campaigning for him and stuff.”