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. The American Dream is Alive and Well

    CNN – you could try reporting Biden's speech to women today...who cares about college sports when we have other things to dicuss – like what Obama's going to do his first day in office!

    September 19, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. IndyVoter

    My mother went to Indiana University and I went to Purdue! ARCH-ENEMIES!...and we would rib each other and talk stuff all the time to each other, but we knew it was just talking stuff and that it was all in fun...Biden is from Ohio, he can do that....I've lived in the Mid-West and I know that Ohioans/Buckeyes are smarter than that. They will not let a little competitive banter offend them or keep them from voting for the best candidates.

    Midwesterner for Obama/Biden '08

    September 19, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Independent

    DA heck?! This is stupid.

    September 19, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Adam KC, KS

    I can't believe this is news. Please tell me people aren't voting because someone doesn't like their football team?

    September 19, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Open Your 3rd Eye







    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. Gorbashov

    Being a fan for your sports team, and rooting for them is a political problem?????

    Are you kidding me?????

    How shallow do you think that the electorate is?

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Nando, Florida


    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. Abby

    If somebody chooses to vote against him because of a sports team...LOL

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Justin, ny

    Anybody who casts their vote based on what team a candidate roots for doesn't deserve to have a vote. period.

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Chris

    That's right people, vote for your president over what football team he likes. Pathetic...

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Tom

    idiotic. put a sock in it joe, for your own good!

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Ted

    Are you for real. over football. you have got to be kidding me. CNN not a good joke. making people think Biden messed up again. and its about football. America has real problems. if they dont vote because of a football comment they might as well move to london. total crazyness

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. RDS

    Wow...this is such a ridiculous story. I think the voters of Ohio are more worried about how the could afford to go to the University rather than if they are going to win this weekneds football game. Just goes to show how desperate the republican party is that they would try to create controvesy out of this topic. How many times does their fake outrage have to backfire before they realize it?!

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. JD in NC

    McCain is lying, distorting, or reversing himself daily, and this is what you report on?

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. MD in ND

    Come on, sports rivalries are famous for the trash talking. This is a football game. What would they prefer, he go to Ohio and LIE (such a Republican thing) and say " GO OSU". Get a Life Bob Bennett.

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    This would be the stupidest thing in the world if it makes an iota of difference. (Full disclosure: My extended family includes graduates of both Ohio State and the University of Delaware.)

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. You cant be serious

    So a republican would think someone would choose a president based on a friendly football rivalry..?? you can not be serious.. if so that republican has not intellectual respect for ohioans.

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. Keith, Wake Forest NC

    GO BLUE HENS!!! 🙂

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. JP

    Come on CNN...this has nothing to do with the election...this is purely sports related...I really don't see how this applies to the issues at hand: we're talking about the economy in a huge mess, accountability, Iraq war, health care, etc...Please CNN stop skewing voters! Please I'm pleading with you. Thank you!

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. dee

    oh please. if voters are going to decide on a presidential candidate over football....then the state of america is really in major trouble.

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. mitchell

    good grief! it's football! nobody's dum enough to vote over a college rivalry 'dig'. it's football! come on!

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. Vinny

    how is this news? who cares, there are real issues to talk about.

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. kjb

    Seriously? Is this truly important enough for the McCain camp to jump on? It's a freakin' football game for goodness sakes! I am so sick of these ridiculous comments and commentary on petty things such as this. CNN, I feel like you're adding fuel to an unnecessary fire.

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. peakarack



    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. sly

    This is what it comes down to? Yep...sure ain't about the issues, is it?

    September 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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