Friday night while addressing the Wisconsin Republican Party Convention, 2008 GOP presidential candidate, Sam Brownback drew boos and jeers for using a specific quarterback in a football analogy while talking about families. He started off OK by saying, “This is fundamental blocking and tackling,” he said. “This is your line in football.” Things went really wrong when he followed it up with, “If you don’t have a line, how many passes can Peyton Manning complete? Greatest quarterback, maybe, in NFL history.”

Saying that Peyton Manning might be the greatest quarterback in NFL history in the backyard of Brett Farve, in a state that is football crazy like Wisconsin, is a big boo-boo. The crowd met this remark with boos and groans, and then Brownback said, “That’s really bad. That will go down in history. I apologize.” He tried to makeup with the restless crowd by saying, “Let’s take Favre then, the Packers are great. I’m sorry. How many passes does he complete without a line?” The crowd wasn’t buying it, so Brownback wisely changed the subject, “I’m not sure how I recover from this,” Brownback said. “My point is we’ve got to rebuild the family. I’ll get off this.”

This is Politics 101. When stump speaking a candidate should not insult the local sports fans, Brownback’s comments would have been met with the same reaction if he would have said them in New England, Pittsburgh, or Denver too. Along with Green Bay, each of these cities or areas has/had quarterbacks who are icons. Now before anyone takes this too seriously, most of the jeers and boos was probably the good natured tongue in cheek kind, but this still isn’t good political judgment, Brownback should have known better. These are the types of little mistakes that make any candidate the butt of jokes, but more seriously could also reinforce the idea that a guy like Brownback isn’t ready for the big stage.   

Related AP story

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

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