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. Ian

    Talk about rope-a-dope. You'd have to be a dope to vote for either of these two candidates.

    October 15, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Austin in Chicago

    Debate Prediction: McCain will bring up Ayers; Obama will counter with Keating; McCain will go ballistic and scream at Obama to "put up his dukes"; and the world will see him for the sad old crotchety shell of a man he has become.

    It's too bad he lost the Republican primary to Bush in 2000, because that was his moment, and he might have made a darn good President.

    October 15, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. Sandra Hyland

    I know there's alot the canidates are talking about when it comes to HEALTH CARE and all, but my question is what about programs out there for people who have a MENTAL ILLNESS?? The program that I went thru when I was in the Austin State Hospital was horendous!! It was a nightmare. They didn't care about me one I'owta. I just want to see how some hospital are....RUN....some better than others and also the ones that are "Not" running properly. Is there anyone that can give me any reasurance on "Not" just Health Care but also care for the.....MENTALLY ILL??

    From Sandra Hyland, Austin, Texas

    October 15, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. deb in az

    i wish mccain would ask obama why his good friends all seem to hate america? ayers, wright, rezko and the list goes on.......

    October 15, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. mattiep

    mr martin can some one tell me how come no one talks about Sarah Palin and her husband, and the __AIP____ group in Wasill aLASKA..? wHO IS THE AIP GROUP. SAW A LITTLE BIT OF IT ON THE RICK SANCHAZE SHOW. AND THAT THE MCCAIN S GROUP DONT WANT US TOO KNOW ABOUT????????

    October 15, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Brian

    I completely agree Mr Martin. another analogy I like to use is that McCain is playing checkers when Obama has been playing chess. McCains closet goes much deeper that Obama's and if he does try to bring Ayers up there is so much stuff Obama could bring up on him it would be no contest. McCain definitely does not want to go there. But if he does I think it will be a "check mate" for Obama.

    October 15, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. Independent but Leaning

    Perhaps, but the American people need to be informed of Obama's character and judgment–whether they want to hear it or not. At the very least, when Obama runs this country in the dirt we don't the people who voted for it sitting around crying, "why didn't someone tell me he was a Socialist?"

    Hold on tight folks, your Constitutional rights are about to get rewritten by the Obama-Pelosi-Reid ultra-left machine.

    October 15, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Nita in Virginia

    McCain will throw everything but the kitchen sink, then Obama will hit him with the one two punch...McCain goes down...8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1...ding ding ding.

    October 15, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. Gene

    If McCain tries to go negative in tonights debate... I have a feeling that Obama's gonna leave him jaw dropped and ready to run off the stage, not just walk. I'm looking forward to tonight 🙂

    October 15, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Tommy

    That one is Karl Marxs friend too and all the others spewing the "socialist" line regarding Obama: wake up folks and look at the wide, wide world of insurance, banking, financial markets and healthcare for Iraq as it is today. You already have socialism under Bush (probably your hero). Pay attention much?

    October 15, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Scott

    I agree with Andre – I can't believe that the McCain campaign would be so stupid as to allow him to fall into the Ayers trap. But, I could be wrong (especially based on past tactics by his brilliant campaign staff), and it sure would be fun to watch!

    Even if he avoids Ayers, etc. it is hard to see how he could score any kind of a big win at this point as long as Obama stays calm and presses the issues.

    October 15, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. sunnysandiego

    To the mats. C'mon Obama let's get this McPain over with...you got plenty of ammo..keating...liddy...pork..lobbyists...and more than half of the voting Americans in your corner.

    October 15, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Rachel

    Love it. Obama will win with little or no effort. John McCain
    will probably knock himself out. Can't wait.

    October 15, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Tim E

    Never, never, never underestimate your enemy! And make no mistake about it, McCain is Obama's enemy. In spite of his comments about Obama being a decent person and a citizen, McCain will never submit to being bested by a person of a different color. It wasn't allowed in the bamboo cages of Hanoi and it will not be allowed in the pristine Presidential palace in Washington, D. C. In his inner sanctum , John will always feel superior to anyone of color. It keeps him ticking. Obama had best remember the lyrics to "Smiling Faces."
    Besides, many a fighter tried the rope-a-dope. No one did it like Ali. Obama is no Ali and McCain fancies himself a reincarnated "John," Rambo that is.

    October 15, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. NJ

    OBLAHMAMANIA has really hoodwinked a lot of you guys. But I guess it probably wasn't a hard fight. Braincells were obvioudly not in abundance for you, you probably smoked them away........False sense of security is always a blind crutch....

    October 15, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Akinola - Houston

    "Why does it take a very competent black man to run against a very incompetent white man before a black man can make it to the white house" – FE

    October 15, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. mb

    Let's have a knock out!

    October 15, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. No Chance for McLame!

    Steve from Dallas-

    You say: "Lets see, a person who tries to push their politcial agenda by threat intimidation or force… yep thats what AYERS did in the 1970's. And that makes AYERS a TERRORIST by definition."

    Doesn't that mean GEORGE BUSH is a terrorist? AND John McCain?

    Is that NOT what we did in Iraq? Push our political agenda by using brute force and killing innocent people every single day over the last five years???

    Get a clue, moron.

    October 15, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. Shawna in Baltimore


    You are everything that Sean Hannity is not. And that's a good thing.
    And I'm not speaking of you being left and he being right(wrong).

    I listen to both liberal and conservative views....and you make more since time after time!!!

    Can't wait to see the Greatest Fight of All Time tonite...atleast I'm hoping it will be.

    October 15, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |




    October 15, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. laura

    Every time I watch these darn debates I end up donating to Obama. I don't know why. I just get pissed off at the thought of McCain/Palin in the White House.

    October 15, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. Glenn

    We are on the path to Socialism and Wealth Redistribution. Take my money and create another welfare family.......and are the 95% of blacks racist Roland? Just wondering. All of you are drinking the cool-aide or are out of work and want me to continue to pay for your sorry socialist butts. Sorry, my money is overseas....tax free. You guys are going to be surprised in the end. McCain in the end by 2% The Bradley effect will come into play......Sorry guys. Not ready for a SOCIALIST here in NC.

    October 15, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. Elizabeth - Texas - Former Republican

    McCain needs to answer questions on:

    His pick for VP – Palin
    Palin and First Dude's involvement with the Alaska Independent Party.
    Palin's abuse of power.
    Palin's ethics violations.
    Palin's comments she doesn't have anything to loose.
    The Keating 5. Cindi involvement making money during Keating 5.
    The Watergate scandal and his involvement with leaders.
    The comments on not working with other countries.
    He made comments he doesn't understand economy.
    His tax breaks for the wealthy.
    Phil Gramm
    And the list goes on.

    October 15, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  24. The best bday gift for me on Nov 4th is "President Barack Obama!"

    **rubbing hands together, grinning slyly**

    Mmmmm, I can't wait....


    October 15, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  25. Llij Nosmoht

    McCain is only about shock and awe. Every irradic move he makes is for showmanship and surprise. That is not what the presidency is about.

    October 15, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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