October 31st, 2008
11:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Mike Ditka hits the campaign trail with Palin

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/27/palin.tension/art.palin.gi.jpg caption=" Sarah Palin is campaigning with Mike Ditka on Friday."]
LATROBE, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Barack Obama may be one of America’s most famous Chicago Bears fans, but the team’s legendary former coach Mike Ditka isn’t returning the sentiment - he’s campaigning with Sarah Palin.

Ditka, who also coached the New Orleans Saints and is now an analyst on ESPN, hit the trail with Palin on Friday in western Pennsylvania, where he was born and raised.

“Thing I know about Pennsylvania, you're great people, you're hardworking people,” Ditka said, introducing Palin in Latrobe. “No-nonsense people, and that's what this is all about. I'm not here because I'm a Republican, which I am, and I'm not here because I'm a conservative, which I am. I'm here because I am an American.”

Ditka proceeded to challenge Obama’s campaign mantra.

“We talk about change,” Ditka said. “Change from what, to what, and how? How you gonna do anything? Don’t talk about what you’re going to do, prove you can do something! If we're smart, the only option we have is to elect John McCain and Sarah Palin. Put ‘em in the White House, and let ‘em redirect where we're going.”

It's not the first time Ditka and Barack Obama have found themselves on opposing teams - the mustaschioed Super Bowl winner saw his name floated in the 2004 Illinois senate race as a possible Republican opponent to Obama.

Departing somewhat from John McCain's argument that failures on Wall Street and in Washington have imperiled the American worker, Ditka argued that anyone seeking employment can find a job - as long as they’re willing to make an effort.

“This is the land of opportunity,” he said. “It's not a land of handouts. If you’re willing to work, you can find a job. If you're willing to work, you can find a job.”


Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (506 Responses)
  1. Retired Veteran from New York City, NY

    It's not by accident that Mike would like to support McCain. The mentality of people like Mike Ditka and the McCain, Bush, Cheney and the rest of the clowns like Hannity and Rush Limbaugh that make America like she is today. Listen to Mike Ditka, he said change for what, as far as he concerned, the last eight have been good for Mike and for those who believe in McCain. Go figure!

    October 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Chi4Obama

    Ditka,
    With this endorsement, I am going to petition all Chicagoan's to revoke your legacy in our city as a champion.

    SHAME ON YOU for backing such a loser ticket!

    October 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. KEO

    Where are the Republicans? Clinton/Gore campaigning for the other side and we keep bringing out Joe, Ditka......what's going on?

    October 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. kdcm

    Need to hit him where it counts, won't be watching anymore football shows with this idiot on it!!!! ESPN needs to get rid of this idiot! He sucks anyway. Everything he touches sinks to the bottom, so go ahead McPalin travel the country with another loser!! What's his nick name "Mike the moron!!!!!!!!!"

    October 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. Mark

    CB, you are actually right. I log on to cnn.com and it say obama is up by 9 points, 2 hours later, obama is up by 4 and the race is "tightening"....like what in the world?

    October 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. lily33

    "I'm not here because I'm a Republican, which I am, and I'm not here because I'm a conservative, which I am. I'm here because I am an American.”

    So is western PA and their residents are the real America?? Dawg on it, say it ain't so?! You mean to tell me I haven't been living in the real American side of PA?? You bectha (wink!)

    Repubs....thanks for always delivering a heafty order of divisiveness!! It just made the election complete!!

    Obama/Biden '08 – Let's Rock the VOTE loud and clear!

    October 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. tulsa

    LOL... I'LL TAKE COLIN POWELL OVER YOU COACH. STICK TO FOOTBALL COMMENTARY.

    October 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Noah

    If Pennsylvania goes for Obama then they are just plain crazy. How can anyone in Pennsylvania vote for a party that has humiliated their state and called them racist, rednecks, bible clinging gun toting people who are afraid of anyone not like themselves? Pennsylvania, do the right thing and vote for McCain. He will never disparage you or put you down like the Liberals will.

    October 31, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. AM in VA

    Wow...all Hank Williams Jr rowdy friends are joining the McCain campaign. Way to go Ditka...you've always been luckier than good.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 31, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Rich from Philly

    Coach Ditka probably suffered one too many concussions in his career.

    October 31, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Danny from Phoenix

    Ditka announced he would eventually run for some kind of government office. I see he's chosen the party. Pathetic though. Its okay to accuse Obama of 'celebrity status' but when a high profiler ex-professional sports player backs AND campaigns with McCain's camp, its okay? Hypocrisy. I can't wait for team McWhiteTrash to lose.

    October 31, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. CHEESEHEADS

    YOU JUST LOST WISCONSIN OLD MAN!!!

    October 31, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Shawn_T

    GO OUT AND VOTE
    GO OUT AND VOTE
    GO OUT AND VOTE
    GO OUT AND VOTE
    GO OUT AND VOTE
    GO OUT AND VOTE
    GO OUT AND VOTE
    GO OUT AND VOTE
    GO OUT AND VOTE
    GO OUT AND VOTE
    GO OUT AND VOTE

    OTHERWISE.....

    do NOT complain!

    October 31, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. Len Albuq New Mexico

    God Forbid Separating one thin dime from a Republican. They are without a doubt the most selfish people in the world. Suck it up Mike. You are going to have to pay more in taxes.

    October 31, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. JuTon

    Mike Ditka, Joe the Plumber vs. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, The Gore Family, Colin Powell....you make the choice!

    October 31, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Glenn in California

    I think "Da Coach" has had too much of the Kool-Aid for his own good.

    October 31, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. Mike

    Thank you, CNN, for this brilliant piece of ground-breaking, thought-provoking reporting. If this one doesn't get you a Pulitzer, I'd be surprised. The level of political rhetoric is low enough right now without this genius adding his two cents. Maybe you could tell us who Britney Spears is voting for next?

    October 31, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. Heather James

    Mike who real name was Mike Dyczko. Plus he attempted to run against Obama then back off, once he found out his skeletons would come out the closet this Halloween. Please Mike do you have to get a woman "Palin" to do your work.

    October 31, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. v.ananthan

    Obama has nothing to show for his credit and therefore he says "McCain is Bush" so vote for me...

    McCain / Palin 08.

    October 31, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. ken

    BBB You see I have found CNN only wants to show the voice and words of only Obama supporters let me guess you support McCain. Now CNN how is it I came to that conclusion

    October 31, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. Hpotterfan77 from CT

    Wow Ditz...ka. Funny. I've got laid off in July and have been faithfully looking for a new job since then and gee, it's almost November and nothing. It would help if people were actually HIRING! Go back to your losing team...please.

    October 31, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. Illinois & Wisconsin

    Looks like we will all be unting this November 4th, to put our differences of Bears & Packers, Cubs & Brewers aside and work together to make Barack Obama the next President of the United States. I'm a die hard Bears fan & I just lost all respect for Dicktka.

    October 31, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. Reality

    ive always sensed that Ditka was a loser !!!

    October 31, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. NEW VOTER

    This is why I cannot stand rich, famous and stupid people like Ditka who are freaking OUT OF TOUCH. Last thing these AMERICAN wanna hear is moran like him preaching about finding a job is like grabing burger at McDonald. You have NO IDEA how these people are going through. They are losing their jobs and their homes because of people like you who never understand what kind of life is for average person. PLEASE JUST SHUT UP.....

    October 31, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Nancy

    I am a Chicagoan and I am pissed at Mike Ditka. Loser, why would you want to campaign with that weird lady. Doesn't matter, he can give her and her family a ride back to Alaska Nov. 5th.

    October 31, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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