Former President Obama appeared on the Peyton and Eli Manning simulcast of the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears game Monday night and used part of his time to tout a voting website paid for by the Democratic National Committee.
Obama was the first guest on the "Monday Night Football" simulcast hosted by the two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. Toward the end of his time, Peyton Manning teed up Obama to talk about the website – IWillVote.com.
The former president talked about why it is important for every American to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, and the ESPN telecast flashed the website on the screen while there was a pause in the action at Gillette Stadium.
"The key thing is, don’t pass up the opportunity to participate because… if you’re unhappy with how things are, the good news is, the way our system is set up, you can actually bring about some change," Obama said.
The former Denver Broncos quarterback replied: "Well said."
Obama added: "As we see in sports… when teams are playing together, they could play better than if they’re divided. And obviously, the country right now, sometimes people get sick and tired of politics because there’s so much yakking and bickering. Political reporting is a lot like sports reporting. People are always looking for the controversy and to stir stuff up because that’s clickbait, it attracts attention. Most people don’t think that way. Most people are just trying to figure out how to do right by my family, on the job, and when we don’t participate, then we leave it to folks whose business it is to divide."
Neither Obama nor the brothers gave too many details about the website. The splash page asks readers to call the voter hotline if they have a question or text a number. The website also shows ways to help a potential voter get information on the elections.
The page specifically says it is "Paid for by the Democratic National Committee." The reader has several options to choose from with one possibility being to enter all of their information into the website before seeing how they could vote in their state. It was not made clear during the broadcast the website was backed by the DNC.
ESPN did not have a Republican official on the broadcast. Eli Manning told The Spun earlier this month that Obama or former President George W. Bush would be his dream guests for the show. It is unclear whether Bush would be on future telecasts.
The guest schedule for Week 8's "Monday Night Football" matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns or Week 9's game between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not been revealed. The midterm elections are on Nov. 8.
ESPN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign touted the redesign for the IWillVote.com website as a "longstanding voter information site operated by the DNC, to drive higher voter turnout." In 2020, the DNC turned to a Medium post to tout the website.