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. g

    Martin deserves a raise! His reporting and analysis has been spot on throughout the past 20 months. What all op-ed writers should strive for!

    October 15, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Cindy from NC

    Yes I agree... If McCain is so smart... He won't fall into to this trap. And some of his silly supporters are egging him on... JUST TO TICK the rest of the American public.

    I LOVE THAT OBAMA CAN GET A KO W/OUT THROWING ONE PUNCH. A MAN THAT CAN BEAT YOU WITH HIS MIND. I guess that HARVARD ED paid off. I will take this Educated Elitist any day over .. I married a rich girl , snob, arrogant Elitist.

    October 15, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. James Wilson

    Give me a break. Obama and rope a dope. Obama can't even hold John McCain's jock strap, much less fill it.

    October 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Annie, Atlanta

    Christinie K –

    It was 40 years ago – he was protesting the Vietnam war. He's now a college professor. We did care, we googled him and informed ourselves. It's a non-story. Get over it. I'm more concerned about Sarah's ties with the AIP, personally. That's in the here and now.

    October 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Steve/ Houston,TX

    All Barack has to do is continue to focus on the issues and not this garbage that McCain has to talk about and he will win another debate and also the election as predicted. That's all.

    October 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. Ex-Republican for Obama

    Knock the snot out of the old man. He doesn't deserve to live in america after treating the american voters the way he has.

    Obama all the way!!!

    October 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    Could this really be it, McCain's last stand...? I thought this day would never come soon enough; again that's if this is the final round.

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. mmd

    Palin told a crowd today in New Hampshire, that the state is in the northwest. Of course, they booed her.
    Speaking of boos, palin knew that the hockey crowd would likely boo her the other night, yet she took her children. Poor litte piper who was wearing the team's shirt look so confused. Is'nt there a child labor law that protect kids. palin is political trash.

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Ken

    The lead glove behind the rope-a-dope is called the Keating Five.

    Obama has the opportunity to call those individuals who caused the current financial crisis "financial terrorists" – just like McCain's good friend Keating. McCain took over $100,000 from this financial terrorist and only paid it back after being shamed by the Senate Ethics Committee. I don't know if he every reimbursed Keating for the fancy resort trips – including travel by private jet.

    McCain's exposure from the Keating Five comes at a time when the financial institutions are causing the same misery as the S&L scandal did in the days of the Keating Five. People will be able to clearly relate to that. A real rope-a-dope.

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    It was told that the BLACK guy that ask McCain "to give it to Obama" was PAID...........DO anyone know how much it cost to hire a man to use? No need to get the quote for Palin, she and todd are set for weeks.

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Christiane from Germany

    Can not wait to watch it tonight. i will stay up till 3 am , about the Time Difference.Go Obama

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, Barack. Go get 'im.

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. James from Vegas

    To all the repubs so concerned about Ayers... why aren't you equally concerned about McCain's friendship and admiration for Gordon Liddy? Why aren't you concerned about his campaign's ties to lobbyists who were found responsible for lobbying for Sadam Hussein? Why aren't you concerned about Todd Palin's membership in the Alaskan Independence Party? This stuff is all fact. Just like the fact that Obama worked with Ayers. Are you really concerned about Ayers, or do you just dislike Obama... there's nothing wrong with that, just say it, argue the issues.

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Anthony

    I just think that John should just try to get his economic message out about how he is going to help people out, with new jobs,homes,healthcare and how he plans on help people put money in there pockets. If he go's for this Bill Ayers, or Rev. Wright, bait that will be the end of him in the Race for the White House. People love john for his service to the country, but now is not the time for that message. But he has tried everything else and nothing has worked, so I think he will go for the bait, and that is very sad

    Sorry John Your time has past, The Furture is Obama's and the 95% of Americans that think the country is going in the wrong way.

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Mike in Columbus

    If he brings it up... he'll be slammed... if he doesn't he looks weak and erratic.

    Remeber, his base wants to "see the gloves come off", "a real fight"... I think hes kind of trapped.

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Preco, NY

    When McCain became a senator in 1986, filling the seat of retiring Republican icon Barry Goldwater, he was finally in a position that a true maverick could use to battle the entrenched interests in Washington. Instead, McCain did the bidding of his major donor, Charlie Keating, whose financial empire was on the brink of collapse. Federal regulators were closing in on Keating, who had taken federally insured deposits from his Lincoln Savings and Loan and leveraged them to make wildly RISKY real estate ventures. If regulators restricted his investments, Keating knew, it would all be over.
    Now, when Keating tried to stack the federal regulatory bank board with cronies, McCain made a phone call seeking to push them through. In 1987, in an unprecedented display of political intimidation, McCain also attended two meetings convened by Keating to pressure federal regulators to back off. The senators who participated in the effort would come to be known as the Keating Five.
    This is one of the reasons why RED states are turning BLUE!!!!!
    McCain is too RISKY!!!!

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Minneapolis Mikey

    I hope so, it will be fun to watch if it is the case. Rather than the "Thrilla in Manilla" It will be the "Blockbustra at Hofstra" (it was the best I could come up with).

    October 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Ann

    Once again Roland you prove you are not a journalist, but a tool of a party and a candidate. If anyone in the business sector used their job to incite comments like the ones listed here that person would be fired. Of course, you won't be because you hide behind the fact that your are a "journalist" or in the "media" or that you are providing "commentary". Re-read this Roland, there isn't any journalism here. Commentary would mean that you actually present a topic or issue and then makes statements about it. Nope, not here. This is just your unofficial Obama advertisement thrown together around a boxing theme giving it a tone of "fighting and physical violence". All of this just provies once again, 2008 is the year that journalism died.

    October 15, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Lou Simboli Buffalo, NY

    McCain is an old fool. I use to admire and respect McCain(in 2000). NO MORE!!! He is a lying old fool, who will SAY AND DO ANYTHING TO GET ELECTED. GO OBAMA!!!! McCain is going DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. TexicoFromMexico

    McCain is finished.....this will be the end tonight.....Barack does not even have to do anything byut smile, give the stump and its good night sweet heart!

    a tie = OBAMA WIN

    Veterans for Obama

    October 15, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Texas Trail Dog!

    The mentality of some people. This is not a boxing match. If it where I might lean toward OBAMA. But it is not boxing this is a world wide situation that needs a statesman to control the highest office of the land. Not some come along lately who doesn't even know the first thing about leadership. He couldn't even clean up his corrupt church, made dealings with known felons, and hired known terrorist. No gave $800,000 to a corrupt voter registration organization. NO WE DO NOT NEED OBAMA.

    October 15, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. Callie

    I don't believe McCain will do any thing like this that make's him look so dumb. Most of us have seen this coming so how could some one who thinks he can be pres. not have the forsight to have seen this.
    I still say the more I watch McCain the more problems I see with what he says and does, I can only hope that after tonight he see the writing on the wall and just goes a way, and that his wife see that she can not buy them the White House and lets this man go home for the rest of his life so every one stops laughing at what was a great man years ago.

    October 15, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. Xavier, Saint Louis, Missouri

    GOP, are you ready to throw in the towel yet? Can you say landslide?

    October 15, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. People make no sense

    Steve from Dallas, your definition of a terrorist gives credence that the United States is a terrorist country. Didn't we push our politcial agenda by threat intimidation or force? (Iraq) spreading democracy.

    Yulp that's what we did and McCain supported it so he is a supporter of Terror.

    October 15, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Marcy

    As a Mature woman I would like very much like to see a woman president , But, as we can clearly see the female choices are dismal. I just can't beleive McCain choose Ms Palin it seems his decision was based on she is female this is it!! The Idea she can run our country is a scary feeling, And if this is any indication of McCain's decisions Please is it clear enough for you.
    I feel Obama is far above McCain even if his experience is less in congress, what did it show us of McCVain's experience???

    October 15, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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