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