Mike Ditka, former NFL coach for the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, said last week that "the biggest mistake I've ever made" was not running against President Barack Obama in the 2004 Illinois Senate race.
"Not that I would have won," Ditka told The Dickinson Press at an oil company event in Watford City, N.D.
, "but I probably would have and he wouldn't be in the White House."
Ditka's name was tossed around as the potential Republican nominee in 2004 after Jack Ryan dropped out amid sex scandal allegations. But the Hall of Famer ultimately said no and the nomination went to Maryland political activist Alan Keyes, who went on to lose to Obama with only 27 percent of the vote, Yahoo!'s The Wrap reported.
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Though Ditka seemed optimistic about his chances against the president, a 2004 SurveyUSA poll put Obama seven points ahead of Ditka.
Ditka has described himself in the past as an "ultra-ultra-ultra conservative," but he appeared in 2010 campaign ads for Illinois governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat.
He also gifted Obama with a Chicago Bears jersey in 2011 during a White House visit.
Ditka, who led the Bears to a Super Bowl win in 1985, didn't really know why he was at the North Dakota oil company opening last week.
"I have no idea [why I'm here]," he told the Press. "My secretary sets everything up."
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