20 Questions with Mike Ditka and Terry Bradshaw

A pair of NFL Hall of Famers sat down with The Hill Thursday to talk football, politics and their lobbying efforts on behalf of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed). Four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback and “Fox NFL Sunday” host Terry Bradshaw sat down for 20 questions, while another Super Bowl winner, former Chicago Bears tight end and head coach Mike Ditka, chimed in from time to time.

 Who between you knows more about football?
BRADSHAW: He does. He was a head coach.
DITKA: He has a certain kind of life he loves. He loves the simple life. Me? I guess I love the simple life, but I’m too stupid to appreciate it.
Why are you in town?
BRADSHAW: The Advanced Medical Technology Association.
What is your personal connection to the issue?
BRADSHAW: Mike and I have had a lot of injuries, and we’ve seen the evolution of medical technology as it advanced over the last 25-30 years and how it’s saved people’s careers. We wouldn’t see Tiger Woods playing in the U.S. Open if it hadn’t been for arthroscopic surgery. [Ditka’s] got four hip replacements. [If not], he wouldn’t be able to play golf.
How often do you come to Washington?
BRADSHAW: I get here quite a bit. Washington, D.C., is one of my favorite cities. I actually vacationed here one year, brought my kids here for 10 days.

What do you think of Washington, Coach Ditka?
DITKA: I don’t have that many fond memories of this city, playing and coaching against [former Washington Redskins] Coach [Joe] Gibbs and playing against [former Redskins] Coach [George] Allen.
Coach Ditka, how close were you to running for Senate in Illinois in 2004?
DITKA: I look at politics today, and I don’t get too enthused about it. I think you’ve scared a lot of good people out of politics with the fact that there’s so much scrutiny.
BRADSHAW: You don’t get the impression the best people are running. The best people don’t want to deal with it. It’s almost like it’s the also-rans. It’s like a college professor; if he had a real job, he’d starve to death, so he stays in college and teaches.
So you’re not going to follow former Pittsburgh Steelers teammate Lynn Swann and run for governor of Pennsylvania?
BRADSHAW: No. I did one time throw my name into the ring, like, “I think I’ll just come over here to Louisiana and run for governor.” I could win it. Hell, all you gotta do is get out there and be honest and kick all these clowns out that are promising the world.
Were you really thinking about it?
BRADSHAW: No. I just said it to see what the reaction would be. I couldn’t even balance my checkbook. How was I going to balance the state budget?

Who are you supporting in the presidential race?
BRADSHAW: I’m Republican, but I don’t support either one. I’m not a McCain fan, not a Bush fan.
DITKA: I am a Bush fan. I don’t really know McCain that well, but I would be a McCain fan before I would be an Obama fan.
You like McCain before a senator from Chicago?
DITKA: Like 25 times before. So I’ll have to vote 25 times for McCain. In Chicago you can do that.
Have you been watching the primaries?
BRADSHAW: This is interesting stuff. We’ve got a guy that’s named Obama, Hussein — Barack Hussein Obama. Holy … Stay tuned.
Who’s your favorite politician?
DITKA: I really liked President Bush, Sr. I think his son is a good man.
BRADSHAW: Forget politics and what their platforms were and everything, because you can take whoever you want to take, but the guy that I liked was Nixon. … He was a smart man.

Can you elaborate on that?
BRADSHAW: I don’t know how to elaborate. I was young when I met him.
DITKA: He makes one critical mistake, or he goes down as a very good president.
BRADSHAW: You know what his problem was? Like so many great athletes today, he was insecure, and he didn’t need to be. Maybe he’s just the most visible in my mind because I spent the most time with him.
What other presidents have you met?
BRADSHAW: In all my years of meeting famous people, [Ronald Reagan] was the only person that I damn near passed out. Seriously, I was hyperventilating. … I’ve never been so intimidated in my life.
Any others that you’ve met?
BRADSHAW: [Vice President Nelson] Rockefeller was a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, and my wife’s name was Jo Jo Starbuck. He thought that I was [Cowboys quarterback] Roger Staubach. He was a smart guy, and I just let him keep on thinking that.
Are you always as animated as you are while hosting Fox’s “NFL Sunday”?
BRADSHAW: When I’m doing interviews, yeah. You can’t stay like this 24/7.
DITKA: Most of the time I’m a priest.

Can you name your member of Congress?
BRADSHAW: No. This is great.
DITKA: I know a lot of them, but I can’t really think of mine.
Mr. Bradshaw, there’s a clip of you on YouTube singing “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” What was the context of that?
BRADSHAW: I did an album called “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” I sang the song on “Hee Haw.”

Do you still sing?
BRADSHAW: I did a tribute to Bob Wills album three years ago with my daughter. She’s a singer-songwriter in Nashville. And I did a single with Glen Campbell.
What will you do after your “Fox NFL Sunday” contract runs out in 2011?
BRADSHAW: I’m a horse rancher. I’ll go back and run my stallion ranch.

To recommend a political personality for 20 Questions, call Betsy Rothstein at (202)628-8516 or e-mail her at betsyr@thehill.com.