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Wanna get away from McCain and Obama? Don't look to ESPN on Monday

(UPDATE: See update below.)

ESPN worked closely with the National Football League during the off-season to schedule a special "Monday Night Football" game in the nation's capital on the eve of presidential voting next week.

A Washington Redskins helmet

Alas, everyone will be there except the two candidates -- Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain -- who will still be out campaigning late into the last night of a campaign that seems like only 22 months long.

So the MNF hosts will pre-tape satellite interviews with both men, who would never miss an opportunity to speak to so many voters gathered in one place, even if it's only a duel between the politically-incorrectly-named Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers, which come from a crucial state full of bitter small-town folks clinging to their guns and religion.

Pennsylvania is, however, important these days more for its 21 electoral votes than for its old-fashioned steel-making capacity.

So if you thought you could escape politics on the campaign's final night by watching some pro football, forget it. Our wise sports colleague Greg Johnson has more details on the non-political match-up over at the Fabulous Forum sports blog.

(UPDATE: We are indebted to loyal Ticket reader David who points out to us the powerful political predictor that are the Redskins. According to the Elias Sports Bureau and Steve Hirdt, who coined the "Redskins Rule," if the Redskins win their last home game before a presidential election, the party winning the most popular votes in the previous election will triumph. If the Redskins lose, the losing party of the previous popular vote will win the new election.

(This translates to: Redskins win Monday night = McCain wins Tuesday night. Steelers win = Obama win. Thanks, David.)

-- Andrew Malcolm

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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