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. democrat no matter what

    Prediction for General Election 2008:

    Obama/Biden = 400+ Electoral Votes

    McCain/Palin = 130+ Electoral Votes

    In other words.....Landslide!!

    October 15, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Jonathan, PA

    It's like playing chess, and you lead your opponent on and on until you seal the deal by taking their king unexpectedly. And John McCain is the one whose king is off the board.

    October 15, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. NettenAZ

    I can't imagine that Senator McCain would think Senator Obama would not have an answer ready for him. But then again, this is the man who said the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Never the less, go get Obama.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 15, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    Time for Palin to go back to Alaska and McCain to Arizona!

    O and Joe '08

    October 15, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Carmine

    I can't stand CNN and its viewers they are so far left it makes me sick. Even if Obama wins the republicans will fight it and win. I don't care how politically correct you want to be but this country is not ready for a black president. If the democratic party wanted to win this election they should of went with any white guy. I can't wait for the election all these polls are off because too many people are afraid of telling the truth.

    October 15, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Old white woman for Obama

    McCain is not that smart. He will not be able to stop himself and he will loose it tonight.
    I support Obama and can't wait to see McCain to step in it tonight!
    This will be fun!

    October 15, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. yeah baby

    Can't WAIT to see it happen – I've been wanting to punch him out for all of the lies he's told for weeks now!

    October 15, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. mms

    Bill Ayers has nothing to do with this election ,what ever he did after he recieved his award has nothing to do with Obama.Was Obama standing next to him?No.

    October 15, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. N.S of Huntsville, Al

    Go Obama Go Obama

    My prayers are with you

    October 15, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  10. Paris

    Roland what you forgot to mention here is that this is your wish not what will happen.

    I am not surprised by your article no longer , it is very clear that you are biased and voting for Obama so I suggest you state that when you write about the candidates.

    CNN = Obama HQ

    October 15, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. Jackie in Dallas

    For all of you who are saying that it is socialistic to share the wealth...well, guess what? It is OUR wealth we'd like a share of.

    I'm tired of baling out the rich while watching 90-year old women kill themselves rather than be evicted from their homes of heaven-knows how many years. I'm tired of paying more than my fair share of taxes while the McCains and Trumps, and all their buddies in oil and banking, take their money offshore or have is so wrapped up it never get's taxed at all.

    If I thought for a MINUTE that McCain and Palin either had a real plan or could actually do the job, I might have second thoughts, but they've proved over and over that they are incapable of telling the truth or recognizing what is important to the majority of people in this country. For Palin to stand there and flat out LIE about the Troopergate report that found her guilty of misuse of power and violations of ethics (even though, through a quirk of law, the actions are not illegal) and say she was exonerated?

    Please, Roland, I hope you are right!

    October 15, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. bill

    i just hope obama gets under mccains skin.lets make him angry. so we can see the real mccain.unfit to lead .go back to tour seven houses thirteen cars.send your dolly back to moose and carabou country YES WE CAN AND BY GOD YES WE WILL VOTE VOTE VOTE

    October 15, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    ***********PLEASE CNN JUST ONE MORE COMMENT***************








    October 15, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. David

    I've got it all figured out. The Republicans want to loose this election so that in 2012, they can say that the Democrats have had four years to fix things and have failed to do so, now it's our turn.

    Everyone knows,or should know that four years is not long enough to fix the ecomomy. It'll get better, but won't be perfect.

    October 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. Scott L

    Interesting thing happened today...two of my friends who are Obama supporters...I mean "were" Obama supporters are now not voting for him. They are not voting McCain either.

    I asked why they changed their minds and they said "I finally paid attention to his tax plans"

    Very strange...hopefully more liberals see the light that Obama's tax plans are socialistic to the core.

    October 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  16. Glenn

    Come on CNN. Let me post my comments. He is a Socialist. I will be paying for all you lazy cool-aide drinkers to stay home and get a check. Racism will come into play.....the Bradley Effect. Obama better be leading by 10+ % on election day.....or he loses. Racism and Socialism.....not a good day for Obama.

    October 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. sick n tired

    Hey Roland do you by any chance support Obama?

    October 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  18. Realpolitik

    He came, He saw, He'll hit him right there in the jaw

    October 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. Don in Florida

    Obama Supporters....let's not celebrate too early, we still have alot of work ahead of us over the next 20 days. Once your state starts early voting, volunteer to help get people to the polls. we need most of us to vote early so that there won't be any 'funny business' at the polls on Nov 4. Trust me I know, I live in Florida. Make sure your College kids have Absentee ballots available to them if they havent registered at college. If for some reason you can't vote, help out by providing transportation to the polls to at least 10 Obama voters. This is still not over yet. We have to be prepared for an October suprise. Some international event that could help McCain. Don't forget Bush is still in office and there are a lot of things he could do to try to help McCain, so we have to work very hard these last 20 days. And finally, let's be respectful of McCain and his supporters. We don't want to look or act like some of those people at the Republican rallies. We're better than that. We will usher in a whole new Democratic Revolution that will change this world for the better for generations to come.

    That One & Biden 08 & 12

    October 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  20. jake, San Francisco, CA

    Don't get over confident Obama Demoncrats, we need to come out and vote in unprecedented numbers to put that phrase in history. yeah, i mean Obama Demoncrats

    October 15, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  21. Diane


    October 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  22. BM

    Help me understand what Palin meant when she stated that she has nothing to lose.That is not something a vp should say when people are hurting financially and the economy is a mess. We have everything to lose. Maybe she doesn't since the first she and the first dude do not think they are part of the US.

    October 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  23. Glenn

    Hey Jackie.....keep drinking the cool-aide. He has no experience and is a Socialist.....and it is my hard earned money he wants to give to you lazy bums......yes I am in the upper tax bracker but I earn it. I do not wait for a check each month from the Gov.......keep checking your mailbox.......maybe you'll get one soon.........and you're welcome

    October 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  24. davit

    Well, based on his campaign so far, whatever it is McCain needs to do, he'll do the opposite.

    October 15, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  25. Vote!

    Yes it looks great for Obama, but none of this will really happen if we take anything for granted.

    Vote early! Tell your friends and family to vote early too! As others have said, if you vote early you won't get caught up in last-minute Republican tricks or scare tactics.

    Obama 08 & 12

    October 15, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
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