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Old 07-14-2004, 08:10 AM   #1
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Ditka for Senate? Ex-Coach Says Run Possible

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Mike Ditka, the cigar-chomping, blunt-speaking former football coach, said on Tuesday increasingly desperate Illinois Republicans may get a chance to put him on the ballot as their U.S. Senate candidate.

"I've got to be firmly convinced in my mind that I really think I can make a difference," before deciding to seek the Republican nomination, the 64-year-old Pro Football Hall of Fame member told a Chicago radio station. "If I'm just going to be another schmuck up there in Washington then it wouldn't be fun for me."

Republican leaders have been rebuffed by a growing list of professional politicians -- including two former governors -- in their search for a candidate.

The nominee chosen in a March primary, Jack Ryan, was driven off the ballot last month after unsealed divorce records claimed he took his wife to sex clubs and asked her for trysts in front of strangers.

Meanwhile Democrat Barack Obama, a state senator, has opened a hefty lead in polls for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald. Republicans now control the Senate by a close margin.

"There is a lot of scrutiny that goes with the job, but I'm not afraid of that. I'm not afraid of the contest. I'm not afraid of the battle," Ditka said in the interview with sports station WSCR.

Separately he told the Chicago Sun-Times: "I am very conservative ... I am very outspoken and a lot of people aren't going to like that, but that's me. So if they don't like me they vote for the other guy."

When Ryan quit the race on June 25, Republican leaders predicted they would have a replacement candidate in about three weeks. Ditka's name was put in play by a handful of Republicans who established a "draft Ditka" Web site last week.

Ditka, who coached the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl championship in 1986 and later coached the New Orleans Saints, would have to give up his job as a cable TV football commentator should he be named a candidate.

Ditka's wife has been quoted as saying she'd divorce him if he ran -- a prospect Ditka dismissed Tuesday saying, "She'd do anything I wanted to do."
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Old 07-14-2004, 09:27 AM   #2
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This was on ALL the friggin news stations last night. And I don't even get Chicago stations. I swear, I thought it was a joke. Course, then you have the hubby (a.k.a. Bears fan, Ditka worshipper) laying on the couch, all for the idea. "He can't be any worse than Kemp, right?" The hubby asked me. Now, if that's a question you have to ask, shouldn't you know something is wrong?

IL politics have just become certifiable. The Ryan divorce/sex scandal would have been enough turmoil for one election, but oh no, now we've got every celebrity, figure head, wanna be politician deciding they're going to take Ryan's spot.
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Old 07-14-2004, 09:33 AM   #3
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Cripes - I can already see the Saturday Night Live skit in the event that this happens....(I'm sure some of you remember Da Bears skits with Farley, etc...)
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Old 07-14-2004, 11:21 AM   #4
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What was wrong with Kemp?
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Old 07-14-2004, 11:45 AM   #5
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Uh-Oh! Here we go again...
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Old 07-14-2004, 02:09 PM   #6
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Originally posted by spiderman
Uh-Oh! Here we go again...
Nah, my intention was not to start a debate, was genuinely curious on what was wrong with Kemp as a senator as I have no clue.
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Old 07-15-2004, 06:48 AM   #7
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Not gonna happen. From ESPN.com:

Quote:
CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka said Wednesday he would not run for the U.S. Senate, leaving Illinois Republicans still without a replacement candidate less than four months before the election.

Mike Ditka vs. the entire U.S. Senate: Who would you have taken?

"There was a moment when I said, 'God, I'd like to take this and run with it', and then I said, 'You know, put your head on straight and think about what you're getting into,' " the pro football Hall of Famer said outside his Chicago restaurant.

State Republicans have been scrambling to find a challenger for Democrat Barack Obama since the winner of the GOP primary, investment banker-turned-teacher Jack Ryan, dropped out nearly three weeks ago.

Ryan quit amid allegations in divorce papers that he took his wife, "Boston Public" television actress Jeri Ryan, to sex clubs before they split up.

Polls show strong support for Obama, a state senator whose flair on the stump has helped attract money and a national following.

Wearing a black T-shirt, Ditka made his announcement at a news conference that drew onlookers who spilled into the street outside his restaurant.

He acknowledged that the sometimes fiery temperament that prompted him to answer taunting fans with obscenities in the days when he coached the floundering New Orleans Saints might not be a perfect fit on Capitol Hill.

"I don't know how I would react on the Senate floor if I got in a confrontation with somebody I really didn't appreciate or maybe didn't appreciate me," Ditka said.

He also suggested that what he called his "ultraconservative" views might clash with many Illinois voters, saying, "I don't want to talk about gay marriage."

A moment later, he said: "I don't care whether some judge of the Massachusetts Supreme Court says it's right. It's not right. It's wrong."
All I can say is...Thank God.
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