Football halftime with the candidates

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Both presidential candidates shared their views on the one thing they’d change in the world of sports.

Despite that the presidential debates are over, Americans sitting at home tonight watching “Monday Night Football” had one more time with the candidates invading their living room again, this time on sports.

Each candidate was interviewed on ESPN by in-studio host Chris Berman during the halftime of the Monday Night Football telecast between the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As both rivals race state-to-state for last-minute rallies for possibly the biggest voter turnout in American history, viewers got a glimpse of how the candidates grew up playing sports and learning life lessons from it:

Obama said the best advice he got so far, from playing sports, was after he was cut from the Punahou Academy basketball team.

His ego a little bruised, he said, the coach had told him, “‘Look, this is is not about you, it’s about the team.’”

Obama was a reserve (a bench player) on the team that won the 1979 state title in Hawaii.

You can watch him shoot hoops on the game court in this YouTube clip.

Obama also said that in high school, he had tried to keep himself out of the centerfield: “If you stay focused outside yourself, you end up doing a better job.”

Later, the interview ball was bounced to John McCain, who tossed a different shot at Berman.

The one change in sports he would like to see, McCain said, was eliminating steroid usage, not just in pro sports but also in all levels below.


“I’d take significant action to prevent the spread and use of performance enhancement substances,” he said.

His mentor growing up was not his football coach, but rather his English teacher. This instructor taught a “young teenager who had a rebel without a cause” about “lessons about life.” “You’ve always got to do the honorable thing, even when nobody is looking.” his mentor told him.

And the “winning” statements before the candidates dashed off the camera?

“What I learned is that I don’t get too high when things are going well, and don’t get too low when things are going tough,” Obama said.

As for McCain’s view on one personal qualifier that people could think of him at the polling place?

“I want them to think: He. Could. Go. All. The. Way … To the White House,” McCain said with a laugh, echoing Berman’s signature football highlights line.

Back to the game … Pittsburgh wins 23 - 6.

On a related front, the “Redskins Rule” is likely to be broken again this fall, as it was in 2004 when the Redskins lost but the presidential incumbent won.

It also wasn’t too long ago that Reporter Christina Bellantoni had filed a blog on Steelers coach Mike Tomlin greeting the Democratic ticket in Pittsburgh.

Visit the Aug. 29 blog posting here.

 

- Kimberly Kweder, online editor.

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KIM KWEDER

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