I don’t know if Bush will carry Michigan, though it would be more likely if Kerry stopped by a little more often.
To get his Ohio rallies up and rolling, Kerry used a set of jokes to open his events. In Bowling Green, his shtick went something like this:
“If you elect me and my running mate, John Edwards, we are going to give you the courageous leadership you need. We’ll take the tough positions, the courageous positions, the tough stands. But there’s one tough position I will not take: I am not going to choose between the Falcons and the Rockets” — this is a local reference to the well-known rivalry between Bowling Green University and the University of Toledo.
“I will say this,” he added. “There is nothing better than Buckeye football, period!”
Kerry used this set piece several times in Ohio, to great effect, never mind the waffling with the generality of “Buckeye” football. Was he talking Ohio State University specifically? Or just football in the state in general? Only Kerry knows.
But then Kerry dug a huge hole for himself. On Sunday and into Monday, Kerry hit Michigan, where he attempted to use the same Ohio jokes. Clearly, the sports humor has to be taken out of his hands before he really embarrasses himself.
“I just came here from Bowling Green,” Kerry told the crowd to subdued applause. “I was smart enough not to pick a choice between the Falcons and the, well, you know, all those other teams out there. I just go for Buckeye football, that’s where I’m coming from.”
At that point, before all the boos began raining down upon him, Kerry seemed to realize his error. In an attempt to silent the angry crowd of University of Michigan supporters, Kerry said, “But that was while I was in Ohio. I know I’m in the state of Michigan and you got a great big M and a powerhouse of a team.”
Speaking as an Avalanche fan in Red Wing country, I suggest you don’t mention the Buckeyes in Wolverine country.
That big ‘M’ might lead to a biiiiig ‘W’ for W.
UPDATE: King of Fools writes
Every campaign is spent trying to connect with people that the candidate has no connection to. Thus this kind of mistake is doubly embarrassing because it exaggerates the divide between the candidate and the people while revealing his phony attempt to be liked by them.
I’m curious if this was Kerry giving the wrong speech or if his handlers did not pay attention and give him new material for the new venue. Either way, it is hard to think of a more inappropriate action than praising Ohio State football within the borders of Michigan.
I would have granted that Kerry, no matter how silly he looks sometimes, would make Bush look like a yokel in the campaign. But he and his advisors just seem to be their own worst enemies.
UPDATE 2: Marcland:
Lesson: Rich Boston Liberal upper-class socialites probably shouldn’t talk sports when running for high office. The big phony.
Yes, I know it’s just a stupid sports gaffe. But you only bring up that sort of thing to connect with the crowd and bring in a couple more of the “common men”. If you blow a stupid thing when pandering to the masses, it’s not only a stupid thing. It’s also the masses. And these masses are in a crucial state.
I wonder if Twisted History will be posting Kerryisms for our enjoyment like they do Bushisms.