Butler's Mike Kelly -- an defensive lineman at Notre Dame, before blowing out his knee as a freshman -- has a Rudy-esque star turn in the post below by Slate's Dave Weigel. Kelly is one of the GOP freshmen swinging their support behind John Boehner's debt proposal:
Republicans poured out of today's conference meeting with stories of "momentum" for the debt plan backed by the Speaker of the House. The RSC had, they said, been quieted by yesterday's fight. RSC Chairman Jim Jordan didn't speak during the meeting; he told reporters afterward that he was still a "no." Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of Ways and Means, told me that several previously skeptical members stood up to announce their "ayes," and Rep. Peter King put the number at "eight or nine." The story he really wanted to tell was that of Rep. Mike Kelly, a freshman from Pennsylvania who played football at Notre Dame and had been looking like a "no" vote. Kelly had placed "Play Like a Champion Today" signs at the door, and when he spoke at the end of the meeting, he held up a big sign of his own.
"He gave a Knute Rockne-type speech," said King. "And it ended with 'Put on your helmet, buckle your chinstrap, and knock the shit out of 'em.' He delivered it well."
Politically, the move seems like a safe bet for Kelly -- PA3 (pre-redistricting) is only a R+3 in Cook PVI and the seat of course was last held by Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper. Kelly could always face a primary challenge from anti-debt deal far right-wingers -- and indeed, his last primary drew the most candidates of any congressional seat statewide -- but he's made a pretty good name for himself so far in DC. Just ask Anthony Weiner.
UPDATE: Kelly likes his football. He used similar terminology to swipe back at Chris Matthews after the "Hardball" host knocked him on air. From the Hill:
Kelly, who’s pushing for substantial spending cuts and comprehensive budget reform, added, “It’s easy for Mr. Matthews to criticize the play on the field when he’s sitting 50 rows above the action. If he’s not comfortable with what’s going on in the field, he needs to enter the arena, tighten his chin strap, and get in the game.”