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. America demands answers

    ABC news reporter asked Gov Palin...Do you think Sen Obama is a "SOCIALIST"? Gov Palin...NO!

    Larry King asked Sen McCain do you think Sen OBama is a socialist?
    Sen McCain ....No!
    Funny things to this answer is its true ...but both of them kept saying he his on the campaign trail.

    What is socialism? Its a kind of Govt where government owns everything including your inventory...
    Every Republican rep that has been asked gave same answer NO Sen Obama is not a socialist...So why keep telling people at rallies he his?

    "thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour
    Conclusion...Sen Obama is not or has ever been a socialist

    October 31, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Mike G

    Aw no Mike, say it isn't so! Well, he has making 250k for decades, lol. True contradicition from Joe 6 pack and Joe the plumber, right?

    October 31, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. Jeff Pellin

    If you are willing to work, you can find a job?

    Why has Ditka been campaigning for NFL veterans to get handouts from the NFL? Cant they find a job?

    Da Coach is a hypocrite!

    October 31, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. adg

    I dont care about Mike Ditka!!! Im concerend about what I heard about Mccain placeing the Draft in if he becomes presidant. I wonder if its true . THE DRAFT!!!!! They say Hes all about the war!!!

    October 31, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. CR in WI

    Comments from those who feel "Obama will take their wealth". Let me spell it out, Get educated. There was a president named Clinton, and times were pretty good then. He had slightly higher taxes on people making a heck of a lot more money than you. Bushie lowered these taxes, and we eventually had to spend 750 Billion to bail out his buddies on Wall street.

    Obama is going back to those rates. There were jobs and no one had "their wealth" taken. Don't be so idiotic. you will never make it to owning your business with such a minimal grasp of reality. It is like the brain dead out there in Palin land. . . .


    October 31, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Advocate50

    Of course Mike Ditka is the one who, as coach of the New Orleans Saints, traded his entire draft one year in order to select Ricky Williams who he thought was the best man available. I guess this shows just how astute he is in judging personnel and their qualifications for the job. Given that, it's no wonder he's appearing with Sarah Palin who's career will be even less productive than Ricky Williams'.

    October 31, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Ben


    Give me a break. I would rather have a dumb jock be VP than this woman. I am a conservative too, but not stupid enough to believe Palin could run this nation. Ditka, please stick to football where you have credibility.

    October 31, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Mark Texas

    To all you Republicans who are suprised by what is happening,
    You keep telling us to wake up, that we don't understand.
    I have just 1 question for you:
    Who did you support in 2000 and 2004? Bush right?
    Sorry my friends it's you who don't understand!

    Obama o8

    October 31, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Disgruntled Republican


    I believe Four Star General Powell over Sarah Palin.

    Obama / Biden 08

    October 31, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. Working Two Jobs to Make It


    October 31, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. TyWebb

    First Hank Williams, Jr. now Mike Ditka. Who will be the next has-been, obnoxious oaf to take the stage with her?

    October 31, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Minneapolis Mikey

    So a one-time flash-in-the-pan football coach (I still contend that the ONLY reason the Bears were any good when Ditka was coach was because he had one of the best defensive coordinators ever working for him, NOT because Ditka was a good coach) is stumping with a soon-to-be one-time flash-in-the-pan Veep candidate.

    Did they mean to have such obvious symbolism, or is the McCain/Palin camp as dense about their image as they are about their message?

    October 31, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. ken


    October 31, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. Dave

    Wow, a guy famous for being loud, obnoxious, and dumb supports Palin. Yep, that's news all right. Nice to know Ditka's still around, at least... I'd completely forgotten that he exists.

    I can't wait to watch the GOP split into factions. They're going to go into civil war over who supports Palin and who doesn't. If the Palin-supporters win, then you can kiss that party goodbye. If the Republicans who opposed Palin end up with control of the party, then there may be some hope for them for the future.

    October 31, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. News flash

    3/4 of a million people have lost jobs this year. Now when these corporations and businesses layed all these people off, if they couldn't tell people where to find another job at, how is Ditka, Palin, and McCain going to tell them they can find another job. You don't just find 700,000 jobs with benefits overnight I don't care how much effort you put into it. If McCain and Palin can replace 700,000 jobs with benefits tomorrow I would vote for them. But they don't have a clue to what's going on. I GAVE OBAMA-BIDEN A DONATION, AND I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL NOV. 4 2008 SO I CAN GET MY CHANGE. Some of these rightwingers, (and not all of them are basakwards like this crew),would be doing this country a great service to follow Gov. Palin back to Alaska and STAY THERE! The rest of the civil country wouldn't mind one bit if they joined the AIP and left the Union. That's exactly where they need to be "up dare n Alaska, u betcha!"

    October 31, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. Joe Democrat

    Asians, Blacks, Hispanics and all of the countries of the world all heavily favor Obama. It is only white people who are split on Obama. WHY IS THAT??? HMMMMM

    October 31, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. Peter (CA)

    Wrong as usual.McCain has 4 secretaries of state (all Republican), Obama has 2 (one Democrat, one Republican). Obama can work both sides of the aisle while McCain has neo-con ideologues like Kissinger and Haig. Yeah, that's the stuff.

    October 31, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. Californian4Obama

    "if you're willing to work, you can find a job." This is true, but can you find a job that will feed your family and pay your medical bills? This statement is a total insult to all of the Americans who have lost their jobs due to the selfish, greedy administration of the past 8 years.

    October 31, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. mike pearman

    when i was in my twenties, even my teens, i was easily swayed with some slick talk, with someone wearing cool threads who was much younger than the other opponent for president. i am 60 now, and have worked all of my life. i am not so swayed by ideas like wealth distribution through taxation. i have come to respect life from its earliest conception. i cherish all of our freedoms in america, which are slowly being taking away by liberal judges and democratic law-makers in congress. acorn's illegal voter registration will be just the tip of the iceberg if obama wins this election. God help us.

    October 31, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Jeanine Merritts

    It's easy for Mike to say if a person needs a job just get out and look for one becuase he has one. But let him lose his job and then he can understand what a lot of us are having to deal with. I will never watch another problem that he is a part of.

    October 31, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. Foreign observer

    Ditka shouldn´t talk about being smart. He is rich and that´s why he is Republican. His sports world is too small so he has problems to understand the real world.

    October 31, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. John Anthony

    Had McCain presented us with the 2000McCain model we all had hoped instead of the Bush 2004 model, and if he had chosen a truly qualified running mate, he wouldn't need figures like Ditka to be out on the stump for him. Hmmm-we've had Joe the Plumber Arnold the Terminator, and now Ditka the Coach/Commentator. Who's next – Gus the Goalpost?

    October 31, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. Disgruntled Republican

    Why is everyone in the delusion that Palin is running in 2012?

    She has no chance in a Republican primary.

    October 31, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. zolesh

    Did you see and hear that famous quote : "You're ALL Joe the Plumber."

    October 31, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |

    Not only are McCain and Palin trying to divide this country between black and white but also between gay and straight and rich and poor. Is that the type of people you want running this country. This country was started to stop that type of hatred. All people are created equal. Bring us your poor, weary, etc. America we have to vote Obama and stop that hatred now. McCain and Palin are running for the wrong causes, it's time to stop that kind of hatred.

    October 31, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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