With both Pennsylvania & Florida as swing states, can't afford to offend anyone I guess.
Can't lose: Obama backs Rays, Phillies
By: Kenneth P. Vogel and Carrie Budoff Brown
October 20, 2008 06:07 PM EST
Barack Obama, campaigning in the key swing state of Florida, is seeking to capitalize on the excitement over the World Series-bound Tampa Bay Rays, telling a Tampa crowd he was “showing some love for the Rays,” several members of which joined him onstage.
Obama, a self-avowed Chicago White Sox fan, declared his allegiance earlier this month for the Rays’ National League opponent in baseball’s championship, the Philadelphia Phillies.
On Oct. 11, Obama told a crowd in the City of Brotherly Love — the biggest city on the key swing state of Pennsylvania: “My White Sox are gone, so I’ll go ahead and root for the Phillies now.”
Yet in Tampa on Monday afternoon, where he was introduced by Rays players Fernando Perez and David Price, Obama also seemed to express support for the Rays, telling the crowd that he had just met with several members of the team backstage.
"I have said from the beginning that I'm a unity candidate, bringing people together. So when you see a White Sox fan showing some love for the Rays and the Rays showing some love back, you know we're onto something here,” Obama said.
He added that he considered cutting his hair in a Mohawk to show solidarity with the team’s players, but “My political advisers said they weren't sure how that would play with swing voters.”
“ I congratulate them,” he said of the Rays, who beat the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night to win the American League championship. “It is going to be an outstanding series. We are all looking forward to it," Obama said. He added, "They are making Tampa proud."
Obama spokesman Bill Burton stressed that his boss did not say he was rooting for the Rays.
“He said nice things about the members of the team who came to support him today, but that doesn’t change his feelings about the fact that they bounced his White Sox out of the playoffs,” Burton said, adding that Obama would root for the Phillies. “He’s a unity candidate and it is going to be a great series.”
Obama was joined onstage by Rays players Cliff Floyd, Edwin Jackson, Carl Crawford and Jonny Gomes, according to the campaign.
Obama’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, endured plenty of ribbing for rooting for both the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees.
Clinton famously said at a 2007 debate that if the Yankees, her adopted hometown team, met the Cubs, her first hometown team, in the World Series, she “would probably have to alternate sides.”