Barack Obama will be htting the campaign trail hard & heavy in the next few days before Super Tuesday. But the Democratic presidential hopeful might not even be in the race, if it wasn’t for a certain ex-coach of a certain football team known as Da Bears.
Back in 2004, Illinois Republicans were looking for a new candidate for the U.S. Senate. Original choice Jack Ryan dropped out over allegations he took his wife, actress Jeri Ryan, out to sex clubs and asked her to perform sex acts in front of others.
(Jeri Ryan - adored by Star Trek geeks as ‘Seven of Nine’)
GOP leaders decided to try and convince Mike Ditka to take their party’s spot and run against then-state senator Obama. Besides being a popular Chicago figure, Ditka was a also a strong conservative, campaigning for George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential election.
However, Da Coach ultimately decided to stay out of the race, declaring, “I have a lot of commitments that I’ve made previous to this coming up, some obligations to my partners here at (his) restaurant. And therefore, it’s something that I can’t do at this time.”
So, Ditka stayed at his steakhouse, and Obama went on to win the Senate seat with 70% of the vote, defeating GOP fill-in opponent Alan Keyes.
Depending on the way you sway, you can either blame or thank Ditka’s decision for Obama’s run to the White House.