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Obama elected after Redskins omen

Pittsburgh's Hines Ward
Pittsburgh's Hines Ward out-runs Redskin defenders

Pittsburgh's win over Washington in the NFL proved to be a good omen for US presidential candidate Barack Obama.

For all but one of the last 17 presidential ballots, since 1937, a Redskins victory has signalled a win for the party currently in power.

But the Redskins were beaten 23-6 on Monday as the Steelers nullified running back Clinton Portis and sacked quarterback Jason Campbell seven times.

Democrat Obama recorded a landslide win over Republican rival John McCain.

Interviews with both men aired on US TV at half-time in Monday night's game.

Democrat candidate Obama - a senator from Illinois, home of the NFL's Chicago Bears - mixed American football and basketball analogies into his interview.

Obama with a Steelers jersey bearing his name
Obama was given a Steelers jersey bearing his name at a recent rally

Obama was pictured last week at a rally with a Steelers jersey bearing his name, given to him by team owner Dan Rooney.

His Republican rival McCain, from Arizona, has had the backing of former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.

In his 1999 memoir, Faith of My Fathers, he described being under interrogation pressure while a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

"I gave the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line, and said they were members of my squadron," he wrote.

In Monday's recorded interview McCain suggested the formation of a union to protect the interests of professional boxers.

"These are for individuals who usually come from the lowest rung on our economic ladder, their careers are not very long, and I think that there's been too many cases of exploitation by... unsavoury individuals," McCain said.

At the first game hosted by the Redskins on the eve of a presidential election since 1984, election fever was in the air.

One fan alternately waved a white towel with Barack Obama's image in the left hand and an all-burgundy Redskins towel in the right hand.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger scored on a one-yard run at the end of the first half but a right shoulder injury knocked him out of the game.

Willie Parker added a one-yard touchdown run before Byron Leftwich, Roethlisberger's replacement, connected with Santonio Holmes to boost Pittsburgh's victory margin.

The "Redskin Rule" has held true for 71 years, since the team moved from Boston to the US capital.

There was a caveat in 2004, when a Green Bay win should have signalled defeat for George W Bush, but some rule-backers note that Bush lost the popular vote in 2000, so his re-election was not a true repeat.

see also
Voters set for historic US poll
04 Nov 08 |  US Elections 2008
Undefeated Titans stay on track
02 Nov 08 |  American Football
NFL fixtures
05 Jan 08 |  American Football
NFL results
26 Oct 07 |  American Football
NFL standings
26 Oct 07 |  American Football
NFL in a nutshell
19 Oct 05 |  American Football
American Football on the BBC
05 Feb 08 |  American Football

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