Federal Politics

Published — January 30, 2009 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Not a Cardinal sin — Obama backs supporter-owned Steelers

Introduction

When it comes to endorsing a Super Bowl team, it seems President Obama might see a lot of himself in the Arizona Cardinals. An underdog that nobody thought had a chance. An uphill battle against an entrenched machine that has decades of success as its party’s… errr, football conference’s shining star. So why, then, did the President wave his proverbial yellow towel for the Steel Curtain yesterday?

“Other than the Bears, the Steelers are probably the team that’s closest to my heart,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office.

The football-fan-in-chief attributed this to his relationship with Steelers owner and chairman Dan Rooney, who gave Obama a much ballyhooed endorsement last spring (though no traceable donations). As the President mentioned, Pittsburgh legend and Super Bowl MVP Franco Harris also campaigned in Pittsburgh, in addition to maxing out with a $2,300 Obama contribution during the general election.

Skeptics of the President’s post-partisan rhetoric, however, might note that the Cardinals are owned by the Bidwill family, who run much of the team’s front office and contributed heavily to help a certain senator from their home state reach the White House. The kicker, so to speak, was that Cardinals President Michael Bidwill even worked as one of McCain’s top bundlers — raising at least $500,000 for Arizona’s senior senator. So, is Obama’s endorsement the result of a political grudge?

Or, you know, does it just boil down to the prez’s love for the type of hard-nosed defense and grinding ground attack that Obama’s Bears employ and the Steelers have somewhat perfected?

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