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. W Spivey Merritt Island, FL

    McCain is one scary individual, and that is coming from a Republican

    October 31, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Sarah, Not Qualified

    Christie McCullough was a wonderful person and a great teacher. She died in the Challenger disaster. I think we were ahead of ourselves. We sent Christie in space when our space program was not quite ready.

    I feel the same way about Sarah. The world is not quite ready for her. She's likable and downhome and folksy, but she lacks the basic skills for the job as VP and potentially president. Christy was going up in space as a teacher and an observer. Sarah can't just observe, she has to act and she quite frankly is not qualified. Don't make t he same mistake we made in sending Christie up too soon.

    God bless Christie McCullough, she did everything right. WE were at fault for sending her in space too soon.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 31, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. No Hillary = No Obama

    There are stark contrasts in this gallop to the kingdom. Obama is more fictionalized than substantive; his campaign more contrived than transparent. McCain is non-fiction; his campaign down-to-earth. Electing a president based on a book of fiction, that's the media for you.

    October 31, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Rick from Illinois

    Ditka sucks anyway! One glorified year as a coach, he is and always will be a blowhard! Who cares! Maybe he can coach the Alaskan Igloos next year to help his new buddy out, the female clown, Palin...

    October 31, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Independent

    Really?"there is a job if you go out and look?"what country is Mike Ditka living in?760,000 jobs lost so far this year and he wants to slam the American people like they are too lazy to look for jobs?This is why John Mcain will never get my vote.

    October 31, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Matt

    Mike Ditka knows football...apparently not much else tho.

    October 31, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Lee

    What I don't get is manufacturing plants are closing daily, thousands plus are losing their jobs at one time. Who da hell going to hire that many people at one time. Also, Exxon/Mobile made over 14 billion in one quarter; can anyone tell me how many people they hired during that quarter? That why tax cuts for corporations do not work, only shareholders make out!

    October 31, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Ivan

    Mr. Ditka knows football, when it comes to politics he has as much knowlege of politics as the fans he berated about they're knowlege of football who called his radio show when he was the Head Coach of the Bears.

    October 31, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Sarah, Not Qualified.

    Christie McCullough was a wonderful person and a great teacher. She died in the Challenger disaster. I think we were ahead of ourselves. We sent Christie in space when our space program was not quite ready.

    I feel the same way about Sarah. The world is not quite ready for her. She's likable and downhome and folksy, but she lacks the basic skills for the job as VP and potentially president. Christie was going up in space as a teacher and an observer. Sarah can't just observe, she has to act and she quite frankly is not qualified. Don't make t he same mistake we made in sending Christie up too soon.

    God bless Christie McCullough, she did everything right. WE were at fault for sending her in space too soon.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 31, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Selfish

    I saw a comment about the "selfish" Republicans, just because they want to keep more of what they've EARNED. Who are really the selfish ones?

    It isn't selfish to want the government to stick it to someone else so you can get your piece.

    One contributor here says "My husband and I will pay more taxes and guess what? WE DON'T CARE!"

    So, have been been writing an additional donation on the last seven April 15ths to help those less fortunate than you? Nope, didn't think so.

    Another poster says we need more "programs" to care for __________________ (insert your pet cause here). Aren't there already enough programs?

    October 31, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Bradley Gelder Tempe AZ

    Ditka could play football, but hje was a lousy couch and he's a lousier political analyst. Tell him to stick to what he does best – making commercials.

    October 31, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Levae

    Mike Ditka is such a Bone Head. He is really Rick Williams daddy. They are both air-heads. hehehehehehee

    October 31, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Sarah & Mike Are Clueless

    The two of them are LOST IN SPACE.

    Moving on to a better America-Obama/Biden 08.

    October 31, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. george from alaska

    trick or treat...

    ditka has always been a sell out clown. remember the "superbowl shuffle"?

    anyway, i'm from alaska...mike ain't. i know that palin is a backstabbing, lying, opportunistic, egomaniacal witch...boo!

    mccain gave her the break of a lifetime, and she is now backstabbing him just like she backstabbed her way into the governor's chair.

    she is ultimate proof that people will buy anything.

    October 31, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Andy

    Its funny to hear the previlidged one talking about work. Yes, people may be able to find work flipping burgers at a minimum wage. Even that is getting tough with retailers cutting back. Is that where he wants the country led? Also, what credibility McCain has to lead to this country in right direction now, when he sided with Bush for over 90% of the time?

    October 31, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. Matthew

    Oh, if only Ditka would had entered that Senate race in Illinois four years ago. No one would ever know who Obama was today and Hillary would be poised to win the White House giving us a president who actually knows what she's doing. Wishful thinking I guess.

    October 31, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Billy J , TX-

    Oh yes.. I could find a job, at Burger King or back in construction. But what a waste that would be, since I have been in the computer and networking business, for 15 years. But, you are right , Ditka. I could find a job, I could stand outside home depot and get work laying concrete or perhaps digging up someones sewer line with a pick and shovel. I feel better about the economy and where this government has steered it already.

    Oh and by the way, past performance is not indicative of future results. Ditka... you have been a losing coach for decades now.

    October 31, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. pam Eugene OR

    Where are the smart people for McCain. I am sick of the jocks, fake plumbers, Divas and wack jobs thinking they are experts.
    Oh, that's right, the smart people are for Obama!

    October 31, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Jeff R

    Interesting that Ditka supports Palin and McCain. He spends his time fighting for retired NFL players to get health insurance coverage. If he supported Obama those players would get coverage and he could spend his time doing something else.

    I wonder what the Republican voters would think about him fighting for a union to support workers!!!!

    October 31, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. cool onlooker

    When can we end this Drama Queen's show?

    Four days seem too long for this circus show. But at least we can get over with this dummy performance.

    Let's count down the days till we see victory

    October 31, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Brandon from Ohio

    Agreed with the others in this thread. Mike Ditka has so much money, he'd be stupid not to try to support McSame - the guy that's gonna help the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

    October 31, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. insanity

    What's sad about this whole election is to see McCains reputation go down the drain. He was an honorable man, and I think for the most part he still is. This is apparent with his unwillingness to make race an issue. He deserves more credit for that.
    Having said that, it should also be pointed out that this happened to McCain because he chose the wrong people to run his campaign. People who know nothing but attack politics. So in a sense he deserves some of the criticism.
    I think the fundamental problem with McCain is his lack of competency. (compared to Obama) He did the wrong thing in every pivotal point of this election. Palin, Pick, suspend his campaign, debate/no debate, loosing all three debates, to name a few.

    October 31, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Kim in Texas

    “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.”

    You know the economy is bad when they have to lay off teachers. Dallas ISD had to release 500+ teachers this year. If you have vested years to a profession, it is very difficult to accept a minial job, much less ask for a handout to help you make it past the month. How out of touch can you be??

    Obama/Biden

    October 31, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. Saundra in Maine

    Ditka says “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.”

    How rude. I am sure all the people who just lost their jobs and are desperate to feed their familes and pay their bills will appreciate Mr. Ditka's insistance that they aren't looking hard enough to find a job. WOW, he needs a realty check.

    October 31, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. Jeanie, PA

    Any woman who will lie because someone told her to lie is not my idea of a leader. She's a puppy dog.

    We're suffering here, we need solutions, not suck-ups.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 31, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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