September 19th, 2008
07:30 PM ET
15 years ago

Biden in hot water with some Ohioans

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Biden may have upset some crucial swing state voters."]

(CNN) - Joe Biden's off-the-cuff remarks on the trail have at times taken the Obama campaign off-message, but the Delaware senator's latest riff just may have landed him in hot water with voters - and die hard football fans - in a key battleground state.

Speaking to members of the University of Delaware football team Friday morning, the Democratic VP candidate said he thinks the Fightin Blue Hens (1-1 this season) could thrash a certain team from Ohio.

"I was out in Ohio," he said while fiddling with a football in his hands. "I told the folks in Ohio that we'd kick Ohio State's ass!" (It remains unclear if Biden actually ever told Ohio voters this.)

Biden, a proud University of Delaware alum, was clearly trying to rally his Division 1-AA team ahead of their match-up with Furman this weekend, but the comments couldn't have come at a worse time for faithful Buckeye fans who saw their team suffer a 35-3 trouncing at the hands of USC last weekend.

The comments also come as polls show the race in Ohio could hardly be tighter: A CNN poll of polls in the Buckeye state shows Obama holding a slim 1 point lead there. Close enough, presumably, that enough angry OSU fans could just make the difference - at least that's what Republicans are hoping.

The state GOP is already attacking the Democratic ticket over the comments, as well as his comments yesterday suggesting it was patriotic for some wealthier Americans to pay higher taxes.

"As if his comments about it being a patriotic duty for Ohioans to pay higher taxes weren't bad enough, now Biden is taking pot shots at the Buckeyes," GOP State chair Bob Bennett said. "Barack Obama and Joe Biden must really think they can win this election without Ohio, because they're doing their best to lose it with stupid comments like these. Keep talking, Joe."

David Wade, a spokesman for Biden said, “I think this episode explains exactly why we’ll win Ohio: Joe Biden is loyal to his home team, and John McCain is loyal to President Bush."

"We forgive the Republicans on this one, though," he added. "After watching John McCain flip flop on everything from taxes to torture, they’re just mystified by someone who takes a position and sticks with it.”

UPDATE: Michigan Democrats, fans of OSU arch rival University of Michigan, weighed in on the back-and-forth, calling John McCain a "Panderer in Chief" for recently purchasing Ohio State apparel on a campaign swing.

"John McCain won't be hailing any victors on Election Day if he thinks Michigan fans will let this recent pander slide," said Liz Kerr, a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party.

soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. Wendy

    Slow news day?

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. oswanegan

    Bush is a huge Lorghorns fan so what... Delware<the OSU... c'mon this is silly season.

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Tom

    Oh, come on! It's only sports! This kind of school-to-school light hearted bickering has been going on for 100 years. Only a dim bulb would change their vote because a candidate was boosting a rival school. And the dim-bulbs are already supporting McCain/Palin. So it effects nothing!

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Dameun Strange

    If that is what Ohioans will vote on in November then they deserve a lousy economy. Look people want to vote on issues. The Republicans can use this, if they want but it will only prove what we have seen already. They have little grasp of the issues and have no new ideas.

    Football or jobs? you pick, OHIO.

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Kurt in PA

    Yeah, football is exactly what I base my presidential vote on! Please, Republicans, keep trying...

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Thunderstruck

    The thought that someone's decision to vote could possibly be based on which football team a candidate is rooting for is RIDICULOUS. Given that the country is facing one of the worst economic downturns in its HISTORY, it is baffling to me that people will nitpick a candidates comment on a sports team, and does it really matter how he said it? It's sports for crying out loud people, who doesn't talk trash when it comes to sports? People need to stop looking at the petty attacks and look at how the candidates decisions will affect their lives. If you're fine with another 4 years of economic downturn and war, then by all means focus on the trivial.

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Reese of NC

    I know some people take football very seriously, but this is ridiculous. We are not voting on who has the best football team. We are voting on who can lead this country to a better future for ourselves, our children, and the world. We are supposedly the greatest country in the world. Maybe we should start acting like it. Great power can be attained through war and peace, but the power attained by peace is long standing and transforms people for the better. The greatest thinkers of our time were men of peace. The greatest tyrants were men of war.

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Al

    Joe Biden is very real, very human guy. I love to hear him talk in normal way, without much of political reservations. Everybody having sense should feel simpathy.

    As for issues – well, it's so simple, "Bush or no-Bush" is now same as "to be or not to be".

    This is not a brainer... read news, read books, and (if you not a complete TV-jusk couch-potato) – think a little.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Piero

    Simply pathetic that the Ohio GOP even made a deal out of the comment.

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Emster

    CNN – don't you think your headline is horribly misleading? Please stop trying to stir up false controversies!

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Disbelief

    I am a huge supporter of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. If you live in Nebraska and you aren't, they ship you to Iowa. I love college football.

    That said, any person who bases his vote on something completely idiotic like this does not deserve a vote. There should be a questionnaire when people register to vote where they ask, "Would something like this sway your vote?" Anybody who answers, "yes" immediately loses the right to vote for ten years.


    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Phil Newton in Murphy, Oregon


    Now we have lipstick on a pigskin.

    It's the ECONOMY, stupid!

    September 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. Alaska will Nuke Russia

    It is so lopsided in negative news for the GOP that CNN is begining to manufacture news for read.

    They have to remain fair and balanced so they are digging REALLY deep to find bad things on the Obama-Biden side to satisfy Neo-Con bloggers!

    September 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. April

    Are you kidding me? Our economy is in shambles but Ohio voters are going to vote based on an off-the-cuff remark regarding sports? Give me a break CNN. Maybe the candidates would focus more specifically on the issues if they knew the media would follow suit.

    September 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Rich

    It would be a problem, albeit a marginal one, if Delaware were a I-A team. But it's not, so people in both states know he was just being his endearing goofball self.

    By the way, these are moderated comments? You could have fooled me, give what I am seeing.

    September 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Millie Gee

    News.....really? Sounds like some folks are desperate.

    September 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. Team America

    I love how these liberal hippies are turning this around on McCain. Just admit that your VP is an idiot and move on. The point is....Biden should've known better than to say something like that in a battleground state. A statement like that can only do harm. Yup, Dems, your VP F'ed up again. Just deal with it; quit acting like babies.

    September 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. NOSS

    Biden acts like a Man on a Mission to implode
    and declare his bizarre behavior a side effect of
    another unfortunate brain aneurysym

    September 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. dollorbil

    Childish thinking from Ohio is not suprising. I am sure that Ohio fans think their team will thrash the Blue Hens tisk!!! tisk!!!!

    September 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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