Vikings-Packers clash sparks flurry of political wagers

11:22 AM, Jan 5, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON - The trash-talking on Capitol Hill was at full throttle Friday, and it had nothing to do with budgetary woes or aid package votes.

The flurry of words is about a hotly-anticipated football game, and to the victor goes the suds - a case of it!

Minnesota and Wisconsin senators have made a "friendly" wager on Saturday's NFL playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. Minnesota's Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar have put up a case of local Minnesota beer, while Wisconsin's Ron Johnson and newly sworn-in Tammy Baldwin are offering a case of Wisconsin craft beer.

The game will be the third between the two teams this season. The Packers won in Green Bay on Dec. 12, 23-14. The Vikings won 37-34 Sunday on their home turf. The Packers would seem to have the edge Saturday, as they host the Vikings. But Klobuchar and Franken aren't buying it.

"It's not often we have the chance to beat Green Bay two weekends in a row," Klobuchar said. "There will be no better way to wash down the sweet taste of victory than with an ice cold Wisconsin beer from my friends across the border."

Baldwin countered she was looking forward to capping off what has been a historic week for her -- she was sworn in Thursday as the first woman from Wisconsin and the first openly gay person to serve in the U.S. Senate -- with a mouth-shutting Packers' triumph.

"This has been an exciting week, but it's only going to get better when the Packers beat the Vikings and put an end to this trash-talking from my Minnesota colleagues," Baldwin said.

Franken said he expects the Vikings to continue to surprise all the pundits.

"The Vikings have outperformed all the experts' predictions this year, and I'm sure they'll continue to do so this weekend at Lambeau Field in Green Bay," Franken said. "I'm looking forward to watching the Vikings win and to enjoying a Wisconsin beer with Sen. Klobuchar in the very near future."

Should Franken's prediction bear out, he and Klobuchar will have a choice of Wisconsin's finest, Johnson said.

"Wisconsin is known for its fine cheeses and other dairy products, but our state produces many great beers as well," Johnson said. "Senator Baldwin and I are proud to offer a selection of microbrews and traditional labels against the best that Minnesota has to offer."

The storied rivalry between the two NFC North division teams dates to 1961, with the Packers trouncing the Vikings 33-7. Their only postseason meeting came in 2005. The Vikings won 31-17. Green Bay leads the all-time matchup 54-49-1.

The wager between Minnesota and Wisconsin senators follows a tradition of Washington lawmakers making friendly bets on sports events involving teams in their states. But the wagering on this game isn't confined to the nation's capital.

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak have a bet of their own. Schmitt is dangling BelGioioso cheese, Titletown Brewingroot beer and Beerntsen's Candies, while Ryback has anted up some sausage from Butcher and the Boar, his city's newest restaurant of the year.

(Copyright 2013 by Gannett Co. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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