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Trump tells Sneed: Ditka ‘a total winner’

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“I love Mike Ditka!

Thus spoke GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump to Sneed in response to the Super Bowl-winning coach’s support Tuesday.

“I have always loved Mike Ditka,” Trump said via phone. “He is what toughness is all about. When he was coach there was total respect.

“Nobody messed with Mike,” Trump said.

Trump’s response was to comments made by Ditka in his weekly Sun-Times column titled “4 Downs With Ditka.” In the column posted Tuesday, Ditka said he felt Trump “has the fire in his belly to make America great again.”

• Quoth Ditka: “I do like Donald Trump. Sometimes, I think he has to think a little more before he says things, but I think he’s on the right track. I think he has the fire in his belly to make America great again, and he’ll probably do it the right way. I do like him.

• Quoth Trump to Sneed: “Our country needs smartness and toughness. Other countries don’t respect us any longer. If I win, that will change very quickly. Mike’s kind of attitude and personality is what our country needs as its representative.

• Then Trump added: “I’d love to have Mike involved in some capacity. Why? Because Mike knows how to win and our politicians don’t.

“He’s a great guy. A total winner. A totally great guy and a total winner. And I am honored to hear such nice things said about me that are totally unsolicited!” Trump said.

“I’ve met him briefly over the years, but I am a big fan of his toughness and we need more of that in our country!”

Before Trump exited the phone, he expressed amazement at news CNN’s upcoming Republican presidential debate ads could fetch more than $150,000 per 30-second ad, due to the massive audience expected.

Previously, Fox News broke ratings records with its Aug. 6 debate, which featured 10 GOP candidates, including Trump, and netted an audience of 24 million people.

“Can you believe this?” Trump said. “This increase is amazing. The numbers are unbelievable. Two hundred thousand dollars for an ad that once cost $5,000? That’s a 400, er . . . 4,000 percent increase!”

Grab the abacus, folks.

OPINION

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Tickling the ivories . . .

The Burke boys: Watch for State Rep. Dan Burke and his older brother, Ald. Ed Burke (14th) — who are both self-taught piano plunkers … er, pianists — to participate in a musical duel.

• Translation: The Burke brothers have agreed to compete in a dueling piano competition Sept. 17 at the new WTTW soundstage in the TV station’s Grainger Studio to benefit WINGS Metro, Chicago’s first new domestic violence shelter in more than a decade. The shelter, which will be on the city’s Southwest Side, is expected to open by the end of the year.

• The stats: Monsignor Ken Velo has been asked to referee the match, which was initiated by brother Dan. WINGS board chair Rita Canning and hubby, John, who arranged for the performance, have promised food.

Begorrah? Will Ed Burke play “Who threw the overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder?”

Will Dan Burke add special flourishes to his more classical preferences?

Will the brothers ever talk to each other again after this musical donnybrook?

Stay tuned.

Tipple twaddle . . .

Hiccup! England’s Queen Elizabeth, who is about to break Queen Victoria’s record as the country’s longest-serving monarch, loves a polite cocktail before lunch: Dubonnet, gin and a shave of lemon with lots of ice. Her late mother, known as the Queen Mother, loved the gin cocktail too . . . and the Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret, loved gin served … frequently.

I spy . . .

The Stanley Cup was spotted at Billy Marovitz’s Carnivale retaurant recently, along with Blackhawks trainer Jeff Thomas. . . . Da boys of summer: Star Cubbie first baseman Anthony Rizzo stopped by Chicago Cut on Friday. . . ditto second baseman Tommy La Stella and pitcher Jon Lester.

Sneedlings . . .

Condolences to Rev. Jesse Jackson on the death of his beloved mother, Helen, whose life of giving will be honored in a musical celebration at the Springfield Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C., Sunday, followed by a funeral Monday. Her life was long, but a mother’s life is never long enough. . . . Wednesday’s birthdays: Adam Sandler, 49; Michelle Williams, 35, and Hugh Grant, 55.

Follow Sneed on Twitter: @Sneedlings

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