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. Tom, Houston

    This definitely shows that a superbowl winning coah has brain too. Way to go Mike. Hope people will see the hypocricy of Obama in all issues. This is a country of hard working people not a coutry of handouts to promote laziness. Nov 4th MaCain will be president and we WILL have a woman vice president for the first time. God bless America.

    October 31, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. CB

    CNN, you guys are totally off the wall with your stories lately... One minute McCain is gaining, the next minute McCain is losing. One second Arizona is in conflict, the next minute Arizona is fine. Are you doing this on purpose? Perhaps to increase your ratings? Inquiring minds want to know...

    October 31, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. Kevin

    You must be kidding. How many times has this guy been hit in the head? Why in the world would you hitch your star to the disastrous Palin campaign? I can tell you this – I won't be back to a Ditka's restaurant any time soon.

    October 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. Use your heads America...

    America ... Obama is tied to Terrorist and talks about Marixm in his own book and in his own words. How has this man gotten to your heads? How do you not care that he wants socialism – he says he doesn't, but then his economic plans are.

    Get past the good speech – he has no substance.

    October 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. California Voter

    so do birds of a feather flock together .????? Ayers, Wright, ACORN, Rezko, etc, etc.

    October 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. rob

    YOUR KIDDING RIGHT ? SO , WHO'S HER DADDY–LOL
    DITKA DOESN'T WANT HIS WEALTH TO TRICKLE DOWN EITHER DOES PALIN–SHE'S WORTH OVER A MILLION--SHE'S NOT YOU AVERAGE ANYTHING

    October 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. Dee

    Suggesting folks can find a job if they want one is so demeaning to those who have lost their jobs and cant fidnd work even though they are trying hard to do so. Its always the folks who have cushy jobs and no financial worries that spout that garbage. Unreal!! I cant imagine remarks like that will win over any voters!!

    October 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. Sam the Butcher

    Nice! Did he bring Ricky Williams with him, too?

    October 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. Maggie from peterborough

    Ditka another neo conservative who doesn't know what is going on in the country. He is one those idiots who think because someone has lost their job they are a bum.

    That is the problem with these types they don't understand what is happening in the economy and think continuing on in the same manner with the same policies is okay it's the people's fault as they are just a bunch of whiners who have a mental recession.

    October 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. Ted

    Well it appears that Mike cares about the future of this country.

    October 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. WOW!

    I am shocked and disheartened that Mike Ditka would do such a thing. The same man that was willing to sell his championship ring so that other older players of the NFL could still have benefits has just blown my mind. However, I am reminded of the wisdom of Dr. Maya Angelou who stated "That when a person shows you there true self, BELIEVE them."

    Mike Ditka, Sarah Palin, John McCain, Bush (1 & 2), Cheney, and the GOP have done that. They have and are showing us, that if we do not look like them, think like them, and have money like them, then we are NOT one of them.

    Come on people, the world is watching and waiting with baited breath to show them that we are in deed and words: The UNITED States of America.

    Jan Carter
    Obama/Biden 08 & 12

    October 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. John

    “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.”

    So coach Ditka carreer has been playong football, coaching football and t.v. analyst (sure he has a lot of talent, and i'm happy for him) but he doesn't know what a real job is.

    October 31, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Christina Player Weber

    Please report this on your network. I'm sure all those unemployed conservatives would be agreeing with Ditka that they just must be lazy.

    October 31, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. joy

    I am sure that Ditka is inciting that over 600,000 people just this year alone that have lost their jobs under Bush administration are lazy and not seriously looking for jobs to keep their family going....haaa? Ditka, you are seriously out of touch with American people b/c you are living in the comfort of your own wealth. So, how does anyone expect you to undertsand? Ditka, how many kitchen sinks do you have?

    OBIDEN'08

    October 31, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. America's standards

    Funny to read this after what McCain and Giv Failin said about Chicagoans and their politics

    October 31, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. sgranzyk

    Da Coach weighs in–please someone, save us from elevating rampant stupidity to the level of "real" political conversation. Ditka can relate to Palin and Joe the Plumber because none of them have a realistic grasp of the country's problems and in their ignorance settle for prejudices like: "If you're willing to work, you can get a job" instead of really looking at what other people are experiencing–or is it that they don't care–everybody else is really just looking for a handout, right? Sounds great if you are lucky–and ignorant like Ditka.

    October 31, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. buster

    Ditka should stick to football. Oh wait he traded all his draft picks in New Orleans for Ricky Williams. How did that turn out? His opinion is worthless. McCain has yet to articulate a plan for this country and is only interested in creating division among the people.

    October 31, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. Obamabot

    McCain get Mike Ditka

    vs

    Obama getting Colin Powell

    Both have been on the field of battle but who would you pick in a war?

    October 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    I guess the McLame/Failin campaign needs all the gimmicks and a lot of other faces to help them. Obama just shows up to huge crowds.

    Funny how Joe the plumber didn't show up at a rally and no one told McPalin he wasn't there! Shows how they are organized!

    Even better, a blue wind is blowing though America to cleanse the last 8 years messes!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08/12

    October 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. Neiki

    Maybe you ought to ask all those people who live in PA now . . . & Ohio, Michican, & the rest of the states who have lost thousands of jobs because McCain supported Bush over 90% of the time to ship our jobs overseas if "they are willing to work they can find a job." Wake up!

    October 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. 'Bayo Oyedeji

    Having closely watched events on this coming election, i think the only fact that stands missing is the manner in which the candidates emerged as flagbearers.

    Obama had to sweat it out to clinch the ticket while McCains emergence was virtually automatic. This was the biggest blow for the Republicans; because, the Obama group had started 'running' while the Mccain group was 'walking'.

    The eventual support of the clintons was positive publicity for Obama.

    I advice the republican party to make their primaries competitive if they also want to stay in the news...

    October 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. buckeye man

    Oh My God...

    Did he actually say that all the hard-working Americans who have found themselves unemployed are just simply too lazy to find a job?

    Tell that to the folks in my home state of Ohio, Mr. Ditka....and watch your pals McCain and Palin get clobbered in defeat!

    October 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. BBB

    WHY DO NONE OF MY COMMENTS EVER GET PAST AWAITING MODERATION?!

    October 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. adkman

    I am also born and raised in West PA, one town over from Latrobe in fact. I agree with Ditka that these are hard working people and no nonsense people. I even share Mr Ditka's economic conservative values. I am for free choice NOT to be union which is what killed the mills of Latrobe. BUT, at some point we need to look at the failure we have experienced the past 8 years and say NO more!
    McCain has alligned himself and supported the Bush-Cheney disaster. Those are the only 2 terrorists that a candidate has been close too. Don't believe the scare tactics, the lies, the tax questions. McCain has zero plan to fix anything. His plan is to fill the pockets of the Rolling Rock people and hope something happens to the real people in Derry, Latrobe and Mt Pleasant. Don't believe this BS.
    Vote Obama, the only intelligent choice.

    October 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. Nawlins Dawlin...

    "Ditka argued that anyone seeking employment can find a job — as long as they’re willing to make an effort."

    Well I guess the 470k jobless people filing unemployment claims are just lazy with a welfare mentality. McCain's campaign swings from one extreme to the other. Either it's Joe the "I don't pay my taxes" the plumber or a rich sports type. Bottom-line... I have not seen, nor heard support from a creditable source.

    Ditka couldn't make the Saint's a winning team... everything he touches fails... sorta like his restaurant in New Orleans!

    October 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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