So much for senatorial courtesy. "He doesn't work. He doesn't mingle. He doesn't prepare for anything," were just a few of the phrases Sen. Wendell H. Ford (D-Ky.) used to describe his colleague Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.).

Ford was in South Dakota recently to campaign for Pressler's Democratic challenger, Ted Muenster. Ford said Muenster "will be part of trying to set policy instead of being a shallow senator."

Ford serves on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee with Pressler. "He comes in late, makes a quick press statement and leaves," Ford said of Pressler's committee performance. "He doesn't sit there and have input or do any of the actual work."

Ford also blamed Pressler for the savings and loan crisis. "He has voted for all the deregulation measures that have led to this slippery slide," Ford said. "He has put grease on the slide by his votes and he sat quietly in the Senate on the Banking Committee."

Pressler's participation in a congressional delegation trip to the Persian Gulf also was criticized by Ford. "He hasn't found a foreign trip that he didn't like," the Democrat said. "I guarantee that Pressler is overseas more than he is in South Dakota."

Asked about Ford's comments, Pressler said, "I have never said a bad word about another senator -- that's not my style."

He added that it was ironic that while Ford was criticizing his performance, a new NASA facility and a new highway leading to Mount Rushmore were being dedicated in the state. Pressler said both were projects he had helped bring about. "There's an old saying," Pressler remarked, " 'Words sound; actions thunder.' "