We'd completely forgotten about this, even though it's from our home state and followed it pretty closely when it was happening, so we have to thank Sports By Brooks for reminding us: Barack Obama, when he ran for U.S. Senate from Illinois in 2004, was this close to running against ... DITKA!

Seriously: That's how much trouble Illinois Republicans were having at that time.

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."


Honestly, can you imagine if there were YouTube clips of Obama debating Ditka? Hillary wouldn't need to make a single negative ad; it's hard to appear presidential when you're on a dais with Mike Ditka, poppin' Cialis and snappin' gum.

Ditka Could've Demolished Obama's Dreams In '04 [Sports By Brooks]