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. Truthhurts

    Ditka is a Republican, but he is also a typical Western Pennsylvania racist. In Aliquippa where he went to school there were plenty of different races, but then as now there was segregation and racial hatred. John Murtha knows his districs better than anyone and he is right. Good hard working people, but also terribly racist.

    October 31, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Joe Green

    Yes, let's hand over our economy to sports coaches and fake plumbers. They know more than those "smart people".

    Mike, you're a gret coach. Leave it at that.

    We've "dumbed down" America for the last 8 years and see where it got us.

    No more dummies in the White house. Enough is enough!

    October 31, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. oh no

    Ditka? I mean really...... so what? The guy is important why? because he'd be one of those affected by Obama's tax plan? the other day it was Brady Quinn, I'm guessing that all these people that go to rallies for Palin and McCain can relate to these people because?????, and now I see the Governator is in the mix as well........., I live in California, and with the deficit that this state has, what can he possibly say that would make people change there minds???????

    October 31, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Mike Ditka failed miserably as a head coach with the New Orleans Saints because he was bullheaded, erratic, and determined to stick with an old formula despite changing times.

    A lot like John McCain when you think about it.

    October 31, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. Scott NYC Independent

    Okay the bimbo and the dumb jock talking about things neither one of them understands. What else is new about the McCain campaign.

    October 31, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Commonwealth of Virginia

    I guess we'll see Pacman Jones campaigning for McCain next huh.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 31, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. LeftCoast Tim

    Mike Ditka has never been known for being a very smart chap. Too bad for him he's reinforcing that yet again.

    Didn't he stump for Bush as well?

    Kinda shows you he has no clue.

    October 31, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. Dave from Miami

    Thanks to the McCain campaigns guests and advisors I have been able crystallize my view of the current economic times:

    The real problem is we are whiners looking for a handout.

    This is good news because thinking about things like disparity in wealth, deficits, home loans, credit swaps, and derivatives was really starting to hurt my head.

    October 31, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Chi4Obama

    Let's all keep in mind that Mike Ditka, while coach of the New Orleans Saints, traded away all of his draft picks to get one single player.

    Who was that player you ask???

    His name was Ricky Williams. You know the guy that played for a couple of years. And then quit football in his prime, so that he could smoke marijuana in the hills of Australia. Ricky is now back in the league as a "backup" player on one of the worst teams in the NFL.

    Hey Ditka, nice judgement.

    October 31, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Anonymous

    The only candidate who talked about outsourcing in this campaign is Obama. Here is the issue Mr Ditka, All the Manufacturing jobs have been shipped to China, Many of the Back office and Information jobs are being shipped to India and other countries. I wonder what other opportunities he is talking about.

    October 31, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Bob , Minneapolis

    Where are the High ranking Republicans? Somewhere pretending
    they don't know Sarah Palin or admitting that they can't put the
    country in danger by backing unqualified Palin(with the exception of
    General Powell).

    October 31, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. THE WATCHER

    This madness is almost over!

    October 31, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. fella from Chicago

    Another blue collar working man for the McCain/Palin ticket. These liberal left wingers who mention Gore, the Clintons, and Powell in the same breath just don't get it. It's the blue collar vote that's at stake here, not the Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko, Rev. Wright followers that Obama has and we don't want. Go Coach and Joe the Plumber!

    October 31, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Jeff

    Mike Ditka.....I have always wondered why I had a feeling of distrust for you but, on the surface I did not know why......My gut feeling is that McCain will have you as his Secratary of Defense??? (LMAO) Man this is getting to the point of no return for John and Sarah...I really think John is a decent man and he deserve to be represented by people that believe in the entire country not just part of the country. I do believe he wanted to do things different but, he just got caught up ...I also think he wants to lose so that he can be him self again.

    Obama 08 🙂

    October 31, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Obama he is a stupid.

    October 31, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. vahe

    why is mccain talking about Bushes economy policy when he votes 90%

    October 31, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Sherry for Obama

    It seems fitting that Ditka would vote for McCain............He has a volitle anger problem just like McCain.

    Kinda ironic

    October 31, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Paul H

    Ditka is right, there are jobs. Crappy jobs that won't support a family, don't offer medical coverage, or pensions or provide any hope for a better life. If his idea of America is a few super rich guys like him getting served by the rest of us, no thanks. Does he think the many Americans who make or made their living building our cars and trucks for a decent wage have become lazy whiners now that they are being laid off all over the country. Shame on you, Mike, you forgot where you came from.

    October 31, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. pp

    And this mean what??????????

    What mcsane need to do is stay in his own backyard because Az is looking like blue is on his heels.

    October 31, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. kinglywarrior

    I used to respect Mike Ditka...oh well.

    I voted for Obama on Wednesday, October 22nd.

    October 31, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. IowaMom

    I for one know that I always look to people like Ditka to shape my political views. HAHAHA Another joke in a long line of them.

    October 31, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. The last little bit of respect I had for him is now GONE!

    OK first he appeared with Ricky williams as bride/groomo n the cover of SI-Dumb!
    Now he's campaigning with PAlin!
    Dumbing it down for the republicans I guess!
    What an idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 31, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Crazy For Obama

    They are losing big time, and the fat lady will be singing with or without lipstick.

    Obama/Biden 08, 12

    October 31, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. LB/Indy

    Please, everyone needing a job and that is willing to work contact Mike Ditka. Let him lead you to the jobs that will pay your mortgage, food, gas, heat and clothing. Typical Republican rhetoric....

    October 31, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Ken in NC

    Now there is Phil Grahams "Whinner" in Mike Ditka.

    October 31, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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