The one man who could have stopped an Illinois state senator’s ascent to Washington 12 years ago now calls Barack Obama the worst president in history.
Former Chicago Bears player and coach Mike Ditka, who looked like a solid if not sure bet to derail Obama in the 2004 race for U.S. Senate in Illinois before he opted not to run, opines of the current occupant of the Oval Office: “Obama is the worst president we’ve ever had.”
The remarks came during an appearance on The Bernie and Sid Show on WABC-AM in New York on Thursday. A host joked about Ditka’s vote for the president in 2012. Ditka quickly corrected him, vehemently insisting he did not vote for Obama.
“Barack Obama’s a fine man. I mean, he’s pleasant,” Ditka conceded. “He would be great to play golf with. He’s not a leader.
“This country needs leadership. It needs direction. It needs somebody that steps up front. We need somebody like Ronald Reagan.”
Ditka’s 1985 Bears never got to meet President Reagan after trouncing the New England Patriots in that season’s Super Bowl because of the Challenger space shuttle disaster. Twenty-five years after the fact, the man Ditka calls the worst president in history hosted Bears players, and the head coach, from that historic team at the White House. The friendly gesture, and the shared adopted hometown, does not temper Ditka’s view of the president. He maintains: “There’s no leadership there.”
In more familiar territory, the Super Bowl-winning player and coach predicted that Peyton Manning will return to the field this coming football season. He bluntly offered, “I’m not a Cam Newton fan.” And the ESPN analyst praised ex-New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin for getting the most out of players lacking in elite talent, saying of the Giants coaching staff: “They did the best they could with what they had.”
While he decried the “name-calling” in the presidential race, the Pro Football Hall of Famer offered words of support for the man often criticized for resorting to name-calling. “If I were to vote tomorrow,” Ditka explained, “I’d probably vote for [Donald] Trump.”