Standing With Rays in Tampa, Obama Neglects to Mention He’s Backing Phillies in Series

By Natalie Gewargis

Oct 20, 2008 2:10pm

TAMPA, FLA — "I’ve said from the beginning that I am a unity candidate," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told eight thousand supporters in Tampa Monday afternoon. "Bringing people together. So when you see a White Sox fan showing love to the Rays, and the Rays showing some love back, you know we’re on to something right here." Obama was not only standing with a number of Rays, who clinched the American League Pennant last night –  right fielder Jonny Gomes, left fielder Carl Crawford, pitcher Edwin Jackson, designated hitter Cliff Floyd — he’d been introduced by outfielder Fernando Perez and clutch closer David Price. "Congratulations to the Rays," Obama continued. "Those are just some wonderful young men, young men and I had a meet their families and they are just outstanding people." Continued the lanky Illinoisan, "I was going to cut my hair in a Mohawk in solidarity, but my political advisors said they weren’t sure how that was going to play with swing voters. But I’m proud, I congratulate them, it is going to be an outstanding series and we are all looking forward to it. I was telling the guys that’s one of the things I enjoy doing, you know when I finally get home after a long day of campaigning, is turning on and hopefully I can catch the last few innings of the game. Or at least catch it on Sports Center, so they are making everybody proud and I know that they are making Tampa proud." Obama didn’t come out and say he’d be rooting for the Rays. But he also didn’t mention that earlier this month in Philadelphia — in another battleground state, Pennsylvania — he said that since "my White Sox are gone…I’ll go ahead and root for the Phillies now." In a way, it was the perfect illustration of how Obama promotes the idea that he’s a "unity candidate." — Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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