Does Wilder foresee Ford ever returning to public office?
"If I was him, I wouldn't want to get back into public life," he said.
"Because I wouldn't want to go to jail," he said.
He pauses a moment.
"They set little traps for me, but I didn't get in them," he said.
Does that mean "they" set a trap for John Ford?
"I know they set a trap for him. Now, that's a crime. When a district attorney puts money in somebody's pocket to put them in jail, and they're innocent, that's a crime. But nobody knows that to be a crime. And that's what you get for being in public life," he said.
And that's what happened to John Ford?
"That's what happened to all of them, that I know anything about. I'm saying it happened to (former Gov.) Ray Blanton, too. It goes way back."
He tells of the time his son, David, was offered $500,000 "to get me in jail."
He identifies "they" as the FBI and TBI.
"They offered that money, but he didn't take it," Wilder said. "They did the same thing with (state Sen.) Jerry Cooper (of McMinnville). They were after Wilder instead of Jerry Cooper in that deal. ... It's just part of being in politics. It's the price you pay.
"They never got me. They worked on it a long time, but they never got me. I was the prime target of the whole durn thing.
"I'm not a Democrat or a Republican. I'm a Jeffersonian."
It's reassuring to know Wilder, 87, who has finally had his pilot's license yanked, still plans to fly his beloved "Jaybird," a Twin Comanche PA-39. "I'll just get somebody to ride in the right seat if I need to go somewhere. Fly on down the road," he said.