October 15th, 2008
08:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Martin: Obama is setting up McCain for the political rope-a-dope

Martin: Obama is setting up McCain for a knockout blow.

Martin: Obama is setting up McCain for a knockout blow.

(CNN) - Muhammad Ali was not only a great boxer, but an awesome tactician.

Remember the fight against George Foreman in Zaire? My man damn near went to sleep on the ropes as Foreman flailed away, using his energy to pound away at Ali. And at the right time, the Greatest of All Time started blasting away, eventually knocking Foreman out.

That's exactly what Sen. Barack Obama is doing to Sen. John McCain.

At no time during the Democratic primary has Obama tried to pick a fight. So when he told ABC last week that when it came to bringing up 1960s radical Bill Ayers on the campaign trail, McCain "wasn't willing to say it to my face," I instantly saw it as Obama throwing down the gauntlet.

Knowing full well that the senior senator from Arizona has a hot temper, he couldn't resist the bait.

"He has probably ensured that it will come up this time," McCain told a Missouri radio station.

And by doing so tonight, Obama will be ready to pounce.

I debated conservative Michael Steele last night at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C., and he said McCain should stay focused on the issues. I concur.

By bringing up an issue voters don't care about, McCain will alienate independents, and make it easier for Obama to appeal to them.

If it happens, just watch Obama pound away at McCain, just like Ali did to Foreman.

soundoff (1,160 Responses)
  1. X-Republican in Texas for Obama

    I can't wait! Our family will be voting Tuesday for Obama/Biden.
    Bring it on McCain Obama is ready.

    October 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Bob Indianapolis IN


    After tonight
    Obama will make it THREE!

    (Seriously kids, take it easy if you decide to play the "my friends"
    drinking game...)

    October 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Canadian POV

    We elected a Bushie here yesterday. My fellow citizens have lost their marbles but some of us, most of us, yearn for an Obama win. Selfishly, it will influence the neo-con clowns that still control our government.

    I only hope that this debate tonight is actually a debate and the candidates can interact with each other. If they don't why bother having these staged Q&A appearances.

    October 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Still for Hill, but voting McCain

    I have yet to see Obama "pounce" on anything. Obama is a day late and a dollar short on every issue. Furthermore, Roland Martin has no credibility with me whatsoever, since he and Donna Brazille (the uncommited superdelegate) tried to scare democrats with the threat of race riots in Denver if Obama was not crowned "the messiah".

    Obama doesn't even need to do anything except keep his mouth shut in this campain. The vicious, left wing media will win it for him. Obama should just keep doing what he is doing "Promoting the Socialist States of America".

    Goodbye jobs!

    October 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. JB

    McCain will only hurt himself if he goes to Ayers. Not a smart move – so, undoubtedly, McCain will go for it.

    October 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Dealt, Lisbon

    Will somebody please explain to me why columnists, analysts and now family keep advising McCain to be himself, saying the "campaign should let McCain beMcCain", etc.?

    If McCain can't control his own campaign, then how on earth is he expected to be imune to lobbyists and lead a country?

    Perhaps McCain is being McCain, and people just had the wrong perception of McCain. The alternative is McCain being duped and bossed around by his own campaign... for months.

    Either way, he's certainly not hasty and lucid in his response to a crisis... even in his own backyard.

    October 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. RGG

    Go Obama! land him on the carpet. Take him out of his misery.

    October 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Mike

    A vote for McCain is a vote of confidence in Gov. Palin!!!!

    October 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Tammy

    Go ahead, bring it up. We all have someone that has said something or done something that they shouldn't have. Not everyone has the same opinions as their friends or even relatives. Obama is a man from humble beginnings, who floundered a bit like many of us. He found his way, made a life for himself and vowed to make a difference for as many people as he can. As far as I can see, he is a good father, husband and man. He has been honest about everything as things have been brought up.
    Here's the deal folks, you have to consider what the most important issues are to you this election. For me it is healthcare, the economy and restoring our reputation around the world with diplomacy and steady, confident leadership. For me, this is Obama/Biden. McCain's healthcare plan scares the hell out of me, he has admitted many times he isn't as knowledgable about he economy as he should be and is a hothead who doesn't seem to be real interested in being diplomatic. He made a foolish choice in his running mate, it was very irresponsible of him. You don't pick someone who is under investigation by an ethics committee, I don't care who they are! In addition to that, he has had cancer 4 times, he should've picked someone with much more experience. No one wants anything to happen to the man but cancer is unpredictable and he should've thought it through better.
    As far as this Ayers thing, you're right, I don't care. Obama was 8 yrs old when it happened and Ayers was never convicted of anything. He made life changes and is now a professor. Trying to hold Obama responsible for Ayers actions simply because he sat on a board with him is rediculous. Does that mean 40 years from now we can hold a young politcian responsible for Bush/Cheney actions in Iraq simply b/c they may have been on a board together? I don't think so. Lets be realistic people.

    Obama/Biden 08'

    October 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. PoliticoPundit

    Who listen's to Martin anyway?? He is a blind supporter and endorser of Obama.. First time in this country I have seen A news person is so for a party. .How can you report if you are Biased.. CNN should look into this and not put Martin and Begala on the panel.

    October 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. blamegame, TX OIL

    It is a wrap for McCain.......William Buckley's son said it best by stating Palin is a CANCER to the GOP. We just want to deal with the issues in Texas. McCain is avoiding the REAL issues like the unemployed AMERICANS in Michigan and Ohio, healthcare, foreclosures and homelessness. It is ashame that our fellow Americans are living the life of someone in a third world country. Obama/Biden not only address the real issues but provide you with articulate solutions. I have a great appreciation for the combined empathy, educational attainment and work experience. GO OBAMA/BIDEN!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Robert

    I have admired Senator McCain for years. I am also 71 years of age. Like Senator McCain, longevity runs in my family.But believe me it is hard to do many things mentally and physically that I could do even 10 years ago.
    Thank God I did not have to endure what Senator McCain had to endure as a prisoner of war. I just cannot see Gov. Palin a heartbeat away from being president of our USA. No sound thinking person, Democrat or Republican can believe Gov. Pailn is qualified to be President of United States of America.


    October 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Central Florida

    Go Obama!

    Our country needs calm, steady leadership during these challenging times.

    God Bless America!

    October 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Lesley

    McCain's friends have their own ties to Ayres through the foundation that Obama worked on with Ayres. Then there's Gordon Liddy and a host of other similar characters that McCain was supporting at different times in his career. He even spoke at an ACORN event last year. If we had more time, we should investigate all candidates' affiliations, not just the ones that McCain wants to focus on. But since there are only three weeks left, and the mud isn't sticking to the wall very well, you'd think McCain would get a clue. But no. He keeps hitting his head against the wall. Not very bright.

    October 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. al in memphis

    Doesn't matter which side you are on, both of these men deserve respect. I can only imagine how much energy and dedication it takes to put yourself out on the campaign trail for months and months.
    That said, the choice for leadership is clear. It became unquestioned when the choice for VP was made. THis is not a political game, these are critical times that demand leadership that listens, thinks, and react in a manner that inspire people. That why fear tactics of the Repubs has not work. Voters know the government has to start serving the interest of the people again.

    October 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. BLK

    O'BAMA IN 2008
    Maybe that will make'm happy!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. FreeNLovIt

    I dont know. The Bush were linked with the Bin Ladens. Does that make the Bush, terrorists?

    October 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. ran

    People now is the time to make sure you vote and encourage everyone you meet to do the same. We do not want this to be decided by the Republican lead Supreme Court like 2000.

    October 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Bill

    The nation does need a REAL leader. NOT a socialist. I am rather enjoying the Obama-shuffle though. Let ME make this perfectly clear..Until the questions are plainly answered about Ayersand White my undecided vote will go uncast.

    October 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. Maritza

    Roland Martin , your so blind and biased, how do you even function from day to day, YOUR candidate has no resume , no substance, just a misleading and dangerous agenda for this country, useful fools that spew radical propaganda, McCain has more intergrity. love of country, and qualifications to lead this nation in his pinky finger than your socialist candidate has in his entire body. Why don't you do a piece on ACORN and how that equals fraud, deception and ho that ties in with your candidate? talk about a TKO from McCain on that.


    October 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. 3M

    You know it would probably be more productive if George Foreman showed up instead of John McCain....

    Obama Boma yé ! Obama Boma yé !

    October 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. That One won

    Never count McCain out, not yet!

    October 15, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. FreeNLovIt

    McCain is a good man, but wrong for the times. For the second time, Bush is responsible for McCain's presidential defeats.

    October 15, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Charles

    Obama with a knock out in the 3rd round

    October 15, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Pete

    You have to wonder when somebody is going to bring up the fact that Oliver North is a convicted felon, who earned that distinction by subverting the constitution of the United States. He also got off on a "technicality".

    I admit that there is a distinction: the people North conspired to kill and maim were not, as a rule, American citizens. Because of that, some folks think that Col. North is a patriot. I would argue that because he had sworn an oath to uphold our constitution, his crimes are the more reprehensible.

    In spite of that, he's a free man. And I'm sure he's a great guy to have as a neighbor. And if he were on the zoning board, or whatever, I'm sure that I'd work with him.

    I don't think that he apologized for his crimes, either.

    October 15, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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