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. Abigail


    Oh... Oops... There goes my political career. Give me a break, its sports!

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    if this is what our country has come to, a silly comment about football gets blown out of proportion and might have a negative effect on an election, then it won't matter who the president is, because we are all too self absorbed and petty

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. deb in Glenside PA

    Oh come on. Its American to talk trash over big school rivalries and a fun part of our football culture. Go Joe. What a regular guy.

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Tiffany

    Give me a break, I should hope people aren't taking college football team preferences into account when deciding who to vote for. Serious times call for serious conversations!

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. Helene

    That is ALL you have to report when we are trying to keep afloat (mortgage, gas, etc ,...). Are you completely insane at CNN ?

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Oh GOD!!!

    Is this what this election is going to come to? Talking about a football team will chase peopel to vote for the Republicans? I think the economy there will out way any football game! If it doesn't then the mess were in we deserve it!

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Who Cares!

    People are losing their jobs, savings and homes & the media thinks this is the story of the day. Please grow up folks.

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. Independant (Ohio)for Obama/Biden

    Oh, for heaven's sake! I'm a Buckeye fan and I think this is a non-story. We Buckeyes just hope his comments might light a fire under our team!
    Go Bucks!
    Go Obama/Biden!

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Jim, IN

    If someone would vote against someone because he didnt root for their team, then this country is in far more hot water than i ever imagined. And bravo to the GOP for trying to enliven that mentality.

    The G.O.P. – "We're so intelligent, can get people to vote for a candidate based on their favorite TV show. We guarantee it!"

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. peakarack



    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Chesapeake, Va

    Give me a break...this story is ridiculous can we please stick to the issues. So, what he has a right to cheer for any sports team he wants. This is childish and stupid.

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. pam Eugene OR

    If anyone uses their vote to display anger about an off the cuff comment about football they deserve what they get.

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |


    So we should expect Michigan voters to start leaning Obama/Biden now???

    Silly season is in full effect.

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Suzie

    Good grief! The comment was made all in good fun and not even in the context of a presidential race, its sports. I just wasted 3 minutes of my life reading and replying to this story.

    Go Obama!!!

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. fixthebroken

    I find it refreshing that Biden is not pandering, especially around something as trivial as sports when compared to this election. Heck yeah, Biden should support his team; and Ohioans should respect him for not pandering to try to get a vote.

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. I'll take 4 more years of "Bush" vs Obama!!

    Just shows what an idiot he is, regardless of the fact it is pretty insignificant in the scheme of things. He just can't help it.

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Donna

    It's a football game...goodness...if that affects your vote more than the messed up economy then that say's more about YOU than Biden...

    Sad that the Republicans have to take what they can get..even when its a non-issue.....

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Tony


    I know quite a few people from Ohio and it doesn't take all that much for them to do something that ignorant!

    I wonder if they can see Alaska from their houses!

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. One vote

    WOW – Yes, the McCain/Palin ticket is sure to win now. Mm, I guess it is not surprising to me that the McCain camp really thinks American voters are that shallow – or for that sake that the McCain bloggers on this site seem to think so.............. Snap!

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Watching this election closely...

    I am from Ohio. PLEASE give Ohio sports fans some credit... I don't think anyone in their right mind will base their vote on friendly sports jabs!! Their is NO correlation between sports and the critical issues of this election!

    Get serious- this is REALLY a stretch... I can't even believe this nonsense made the ticker! 🙁

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Steve

    This is really a non-issue.

    More of a cute story than a newsmaking politcal headline.

    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. MEEKA


    September 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. cari

    Wow. I cannot imagine that anyone at CNN truly believes that people from Ohio – or anywhere in the country – will make such a crucial voting decision based on a comment about football.

    September 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Iam4mycountry

    The republicans need to grow up and quite whinning about every little the perceive as a slite. They are soooo desperate to win they will jumb on anything.

    September 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Kiah G


    ...............If voters in Ohio are offended over sports vs. hmm the ECONOMY...then they deserve more outsourcing and all.

    Because I mean this is SO IMPORTANT to voters!

    September 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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