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. Danny, OH

    Another JOE the Plumber? This campaign is out of touch

    October 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. KLEE

    obama will build bridges – but they won't be bridges to nowhere

    Regarding Ditka – I'm not a football fan one way or another – but looks to me that birds of a feather must flock together – its their taxes that may be threatened – but no matter. they all have good accountants – i'm sure they will manage – Ditka – try a job at a fast food place when you get out of college cause there's nothing else around – just like land there are only so many jobs to go around – at least don't begrudge the working "poor but mostly happy" a living wage. and for heaven's sake don't throw some of us a bone like affordable health care and education!!

    October 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Alabama Voter

    You know it's Halloween when you have Palin and Ditka spreading the FEAR.

    October 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Dawn

    I guess he will be saying "ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL"
    They are getting some heavy hitters guys, think... do you really want these two in the White House? Remember Bush saying "ARE YOU WITH US, OR AGAINST US!"
    What an airhead, they root for the Pittsburgh Pirates and they booed her. When the Steelers won the Super bowl she would be standing in Philly and say "I AM SO HAPPY TO BE IN THE STATE OF THE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS," what a ditz.
    Obama needs to get back to Pennsylvania and come into the center, from Leigh to Berks to Lancaster, we need to hear the words that is coming out of his mouth.


    October 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Kevin in ND

    Palin & Ditka in the same room.... Wow!

    That would lower the collective IQ in the place to zero.

    October 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Rochelle

    This is the land of opportunity . . . it sure is!!! And the McCain ticket is full of opportunistic individuals looking for a free ride at the expense of the FORMER Straight Talk Express.

    Sarah Palin . . . we're gonna lose 2008, but i'll be back in 2012
    Joe the Plumber . . . i'm gonna by a plumbing business (right after i pay my back taxes, become a licensed plumber, right a book, and launch my country music career)

    Gimme a break, people! The McCain ticket is full of ridiculous characters that McCain is trying to convince us are poster children for his cause.

    October 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Republican Trainwreck


    October 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. 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 11:27 am at 11:27 am |

    WHO??????????????????? PLZZZZZZZZZZZZ GO BACK TO WHAT YOU KNOW OR I THINK YOU KNOW BEST FOOTBALL. BEFORE LONG mcsame and pitpull will be digging people up in cemeteries. how sad.

    October 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. J S Ragman

    I always suspected that Ditka was not particularly bright and this only solidifies that suspicion.

    October 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. David Orbach, New York, NY

    Obama appears with Bill Clinton and gets the endorsement of Colin Powell. McCain appears with Joe the Plumber and gets the nod from Mike Ditka. Well, I know who is getting my vote.

    October 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. Doug

    Ditka knows football and he knows restaurants. And that's about it. "Not a land of handouts." Really? Apparently a bailout differs in some subtle way from a handout. "If you're willing to work, you can find a job.” That's why unemployment is soaring: lazy people! I'm sure ol' Iron Mike could find a few million people out there who would be willing to work any job - if only they could find one.
    By the way, Linda, "separating the wealth." That's brilliant and, sadly, true.

    October 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. jenny

    Mike Ditka needs to see a mental doctor immediately and stop talking trash with the other idiot,Sarah Palin.you could ask a blind person and they will tell you that it is ROTTEN in America right now. Mike Ditka's bread is well buttered and he could afford to wear a new suit every hour while there is no food on most American's tables.People are loosing their jobs by the hour and this idiot is saying that there are jobs everywhere.Maybe in Alaska that's why the other idiot is allowing him to speak.

    October 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. Mark

    THANK YOU DITKA......MAYBE this will shut up all the lazy, hand-out wanting democrats.....I have an idea....WORK FOR A LIVING

    October 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Christopher

    I guess McCain will ask Homer Simpson to take to the campaign trail for him next..LOL Mike Ditka U gotta be kidding me...I guy who has possibly as many houses as McCain...I know he has more than me!

    October 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. NB

    Who cares? Who is he to decide about our future? More celebrity friends are coming out to save McCain and Palin.

    October 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. VOTE VOTE VOTE dont believe CNN

    was not mcsmurf and jane palin, accusing Obama of being all hollywood?

    ohh look who is talking now.>

    these MCCLOWNS are pathetic...

    these are the true ANTIAMERICANS

    October 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Bring out ALL the angry old farts.

    And, all the dumb, tax evading, non-licensed, lying plumbers.

    McCain/Palin IS following in the steps of the most dumbest, corrupt presidency in our lifetime.

    So it goes...

    October 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. Jo

    The nerve of Mike Ditka to make a stupid comment about if you're awilling to work you "can find a job". That shows just how OUT OF
    TOUCH REPUBLICANS ARE. They're only thinking about themselves.
    Any person making under $50,000 a year and vote Republican need to have their head examined.

    October 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. ajb

    ditka is a joke! just like sarah palin!

    October 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. jt

    You hear that americans? Eventhough all the businesses around you are closing because of the economy – YOU CAN GET A JOB! GET OFF YOUR LAZY BUTTS AND GET A JOB!
    Wow – the nerve of this guy (ditka).
    So all of these people who have had to spend so much money to buy gas and groceries and pay a mortgage on a house that isn't worth it and find themselves in even worst trouble from losing their jobs. They are basically whinning.
    I'm sorry – but I want some help too. Where is my economic bailout.
    Look at how AIG has gone thru all of the $100 billion Bush gave them.

    Ditka – we are all willing to work – but not everyone can find a job to pay enough for food and lodging.

    People like you make me sick – this is where Bush/Mccain wants to give tax breaks!!!

    October 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. Bill in DC

    Hmmm...Ditka. Isn't he the same guy that traded six draft picks for Ricky Williams and then went fishin'?

    Yeah, great move Iron Mike.

    Perhaps after the election you can take the Winking Wonderwoman from Wasilla (thanks kathleen parker) fishin' too.

    October 31, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. milo

    Oh, Ditka. Better off sticking to what you do best, things like football and selling 24 ounce pork chops.

    But as a millionaire at least he's voting his interests.

    October 31, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. Mark

    'Bayo Oyedeji -–

    I am a republican and you are exactly right!!!! YOu are right, I wish the republican local groups felt the same way....

    October 31, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Greg

    Who cares about a washed up football coach. And he of most people should know something about fair health care because the NFL wont even take care of him. He is fighting with them now for better health care. He is jealously because he is no longer the top dog in Chicago.

    October 31, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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