Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sought the comfort zone of football and refuge among four Washington, D.C. radio sports personalities – impressing them with his sports knowledge – but not before the self-described "knuckle-heads" got in some direct questions about the latest controversy.
Allegations surfaced Wednesday that Mr. Ford may have tried to purchase the alleged video that shows him smoking crack cocaine.
"Number one, that's an outright lie and number two, you can talk to my lawyers about it," he told the hosts of the Sports Junkies program, adding that he had agreed to join the program to talk about football.
Listen to the full interview here.
See Rob Ford's NFL picks here.
That is where much of the 25-minute conversation focused – as Mr. Ford shared his football picks, talked violence in sports and weighed in on controversies around the names of sports teams like the Washington Redskins.
"Why don't we look at the Cleveland Indians. What do we call them next? The Cleveland Aboriginals?" he asked, adding that the sports franchises had long and uncontroversial histories until they came under the scrutiny of "politically correct people."
He commented on U.S. President Barack Obama. "As a person, I like President Obama. I don't like his politics," he said, adding that were he living in the U.S., he would be a Republican. He described people in the U.S. as being "taxed to death" and doubted Mr. Obama's health-care law could succeed.
"It's going to cost a fortune to put in this Obamacare and I don't know how people are going to afford it…," he told listeners.
The 106.7 The Fan radio station told the Washington Post that the interview with Mr. Ford was confirmed Tuesday. After announcing it to listeners the following day, station executives suggested it was an audition that could lead to something more programmed and weekly – depending on how Mr. Ford performed.
"This guy is an expert. He's got all the trends," said one of the hosts as Mr. Ford delivered punchy analysis of upcoming football games.
The mayor described himself as "absolute football fanatic" who loved watching and analyzing all levels of football on both sides of the border.
But the mayor was not able to entirely avoid the controversies that have dogged him in Toronto as the hosts brought the conversation back to politics. Mr. Ford answered questions about his political future and achievements as mayor, which included, according to Mr. Ford, privatizing garbage collection, ending labour strife and keeping property taxes lower than in any city in North America.
"I watch every penny and return every phone call…," he said, adding that he had the support of Toronto residents.
"My record will speak for itself," he said, referring to the next mayoral election.
Leading up to the 8:40 a.m. interview, the radio show hyped up Mr. Ford as among the world's most famous and controversial politicians. Ahead of Mr. Ford's spot, the hosts spoke to Washington Capitals hockey player Brooks Laich in what was a distinctly Canadian hour of U.S. sports radio. Mr. Laich talked about his return to the ice following an injury.
But he was also asked what would be the one question he would want asked of Mr. Ford, who was scheduled to appear later in the hour.
"How mad is he that he didn't get to go out in Atlantic City last night with you guys?" he said, referring to the program being broadcast Thursday morning from the Borgata Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, where the Sports Junkies are hosting one of their regular poker tournaments later in the day.
"I don't know if he's allowed to leave the country. I think he's on lock down," quipped one of the hosts.
Mr. Laich lamented that Toronto's mayor had become a "punchline" on U.S. radio and TV and argued that Mr. Ford had "actually done some really good things in Toronto."
The interview devolved into chuckles when Mr. Laich was unable to name one Rob Ford achievement.
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