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. Jeff

    lindapuma- Why should he share his wealth? As a football player he gave his blood, sweat, and tears to football. As a coach he put everything he had into his team. He worked his tail off to get to where he is today. Just like many of the wealthy people in the world, they worked for it. Now Democrats, such as yourself, feel that he needs to give his money to people who don't work as hard as they can for a better life? Get real! Typical liberal talk from typical liberal people.

    I'm not a wealthy man by any means, but I am working to acheive my dream of running my own business. Now Obama wants to take what I may be earning and give it away? Sorry, but that is just plain bull****. Vote for the American Dream, vote Republican.

    October 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. Lyndon

    Ditka's gone from Chicago Bears legend to New Orleans Saints hack to the McCain-Palin ticket. Yup, sounds like he's on the right track in terms of heading right down to the bottom of the barrel.

    October 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Chi4Obama

    Mike Ditka has not done anything significant, since winning the '84 Superbowl as coach of the Bears.

    He is irrelevant right now.

    October 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Craig in Washington

    Well, I see "Iron Mike" has shed what little self respect he still had.

    October 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. Lande007

    To little too late!

    October 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Jodi, NC

    The problem with Ditka's argument is no one knows what McCain is going to do differently than Pres. Bush and the reason for that is because McCain isn't going to do anything different than Pres. Bush. I'm continually amazed that while McCain continues to discuss not raising taxes for anyone and attacking Obama, voters aren"t connecting that his plan is the same as Pres. Bush's and he has failed to say anything different that he would do. In addition, if Ditka doesn't know why the country needs a change, he must have been living on another planet the past eight years.
    Finally, I find it very offensive that McCain/Palin supporters/surrogates somehow believe that they are the only "real Americans." Why do they do that? If the McCain/Palin ticket wins, should I be worried that I'm going to be a persona non grata?

    October 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. Teach

    Mike Ditka? Now theres a guy that fits right in with McCain. Not only is he a maverick, he's a hothead and a big mouth.

    October 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. LE

    Who cares?!

    October 31, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. LawDog

    What a joke...another guy I've lost respect for....along with McCain....

    All Sarah Palin does is spread fear and hate among people who obviously don't check thing out for themselves....Ditka probably thinks Obama is a "Muslem" too (and what's wrong with that, if he is????)

    I can't wait until Nov. 4th, when McCain and Palin, hopefully, fade off into obscurity....

    October 31, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. Brian Rich

    Wow, a football coach? Really?

    October 31, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Brenna Flood

    “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.”

    That's all fine and good, Ditka, but there's a small problem – McCain and Palin haven't gone into detail about their plans here, either.

    If anything, I think that Barack Obama has been more direct on what the problems are and what the solutions to those problems are.

    When Palin can't even describe what causes global warming, how can she fix it?

    When McCain can't cohesively admit that deregulation caused this current economic meltdown, how in the world does he plan to fix it? Tightening spending might save us, but it will also have negative effects too. It would be a shame to continue spending on wars we shouldn't be in and cut off social security and medicare/medicaid. Under a McCain presidency, this is the direction that he head.

    October 31, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. Steve

    Let's see, Palin's most recent "winning" strategy was to bring along a reactionary talk show host to "help" her on the campaign trail. How much worse than that can it get? Apparenlty quite a bit. Now she's bringing along a former football VIP. Hey Sarah! I have a suggestion!
    How about bringing someone along with you that knows more than you do about anything political? Oh... Right. You just did.....

    October 31, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Wei

    Oh, since Mike Ditka said so, I must vote for McCain! You know, since he's the expert on politics. Right? Just like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder. Thanks, Mike the washed-up-coach-still-yearning-for-the-limelight!

    October 31, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. Chris, Michigan

    Out of touch – he still believes the wealth will trickle down to the general population.

    Well well well. It has NOT worked for 8 years. We have 5% well off and 95% worrying about jobs.

    October 31, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Lisa

    WHO?

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. Well..

    Hey a loser supporting a loser....go figure....

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. JT

    Oh I see Sarah brought out the big guns again... just like last week with that idiot from the "The View" ... Oh how I hope she will get on her broom on Tuesday and head back to caribou country where she belongs... and stay there never to be heard from again!!!!!!!!!

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. There's this song that keeps playing in my head..

    Desperado....

    Desperado, why dont you come to your senses?
    You been out ridin fences for so long now
    Oh, youre a hard one
    I know that you got your reasons
    These things that are pleasin you
    Can hurt you somehow

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. tyme4chaing

    Stupid is what stupid does

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. Larry

    Ditka has been hit in the head over and over. Obviously it has distorted his judgement.

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. Timothy

    So, let me get this right. When I look at the two candidates on a campaign speech and look into the audience Sen Obama's crowd reflects america because of its diversity; however, Sen. McCain reflects one race white, therefore only white americans are true americans. How absurd.

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Bill from FL

    ahhh-mike the football coach, mike the millionaire, mike the elite.about time that the mccain campaign brings in someone completely relevant and respected in the world of politics.sarcasm.mike ditka knows football, and sometimes i question that.

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Winnie Hussein . . . in Montana

    Wow, the expertise of Mike Ditka has spoken. I'm convinced. I think I'll disregard the endorsements of a majority of respected newspapers, Colin Powell, The Economist, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, innumerable Republicans, Noble Laureates, world renowned scholars and economists, Warren Buffett, et al.

    NOT.

    McCain and Palin will endanger America's future economically, militarily, socially, and globally. We will be the subject of hatred and ridicule. Nations will attack us at will because we have shown that we can be made afraid by our own leaders. Our way of life and our position in this world will be put in jeopardy as we have never seen before.

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. TruthinVA

    Mike Ditka his not known as the best decision maker in football history and needs to leave his comments and picks to ESPN where this coach can backseat quarterback what he knows a lot better than politics but then again he probably is as knowledgable as Palin herself which is pretty much nothing anyway. Oh well......

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. Not surprised

    Why would I be surprised that someone with tons of money and ground beef for brains would come out and support McCain. It is amazing how dumb people can be.

    October 31, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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