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. the other jd

    Carmine-I disagree. America is ready for an African-American president.

    October 15, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  2. Glenn

    One other thing Jackie. It is not yours if you didn't earn it. It is mine until the feds try and take it......I'll bury it under my inground indoor pool.....next to my hot tub and four car garage. Capitalism is great and I pay my people well.

    October 15, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. beth

    Why in the world does anyone want these two pounding away at each other? This isn't a stupid boxing match. Just listen to what their plans are and pick the guy who seems like a good, solid leader. I'm going with the brainy one this time.

    October 15, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. anne

    CNN just made fun of the ACORN movement 5:03 central time. This is a serious thing that cannot be made fun of as you just did.

    October 15, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. Mike Kaplan

    That's a good analysis- Obama has just been letting McCain swing away, tire himself out, and mainly just hurt himself in the process. And McCain finds himself in a no-win situation: if he doesn't bring it up, after all the macho posturing, he will look like he is indeed afraid to say it to Obama's face. And if he does bring it up, Obama probably has a withering retort that's been sitting on the shelf, ready to go for weeks.


    October 15, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Dan, IL

    Obama is liberal...

    He has promised that “the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (known as FOCA). This would create a federally-guaranteed “fundamental right” to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, “a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined ‘health’ reasons.”

    McCain needs to bring up this issue.

    October 15, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. Jackie in Dallas


    Boy are you on the wrong track. If you want to compare skeletons, how about McCain's ties to Hagee, or to Charles Keating, or to Raffaello Follieri, ad nauseum.

    As for socialism, etc. I am a hard-working, 58-year old white professional woman who has paid taxes all my life, and never been on welfare. I'm not "lazy" or good-for-nothing. To characterize all Obama supporters as welfare candidates is a bit, well, racist, don't you think? I would just like value for the taxes I pay. When someone like me making less than 55,000 a year pays more in real taxes than a CEO of a bank, that's just WRONG.

    October 15, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Shefali

    American's are sick n tired of the arrrogant republican's failed policies.Democrat Obama is the hope for the world for new responsible leadership.Go Obama

    October 15, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  9. zenter

    you go roland.....go obama!

    October 15, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. freethinker

    Racist much? Get over it! The old white male club hasn't been working out too well so lets go for some real change, change that should've happened a long time ago! I have been ready for a non-white, non-male president for a long time! And I am a white male that is saying this! AMERICA WAKE UP!! THAT IS WHY WE ARE A JOKE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD!!

    October 15, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |

    I really hope you are right! I just don't trust McCain or anyone from his team, they don't play an honest game. Let's look at how they have spent the last few months telling one lie after another even after the lies have been disspelled. It's hard to fight a professional liar, even harder when there is a whole team of them!

    I just be glad when this debate is over, heck I be glad when this election is over. I pray that Obama is the winner, that way we all win! I can hardly watch the first airing of these debates because I always wonder what lie McCain may come up with.

    That old "straight talker" s[eaks nothing but crooked lies!


    October 15, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  12. Sum

    No way, no how, no McSame!! Down for the count!

    October 15, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. READY99


    October 15, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Jonathan, CA

    Obama did the same thing with the "Lipstick on a Pig" comment, knowing that McCain's people would jump on it as sexist and about Palin, even though McCain had used the same phrase before in a similar context as Obama. Of course the Republicans jumped at the bait hook line and sinker.

    October 15, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. Meagan

    Barack Obama will win 364 electoral votes. This has been fun, John, but you can Sarah can go back to the circus now. We've had enough of your pitbulls, lipstick, and poor judgment.

    October 15, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  16. danlyn

    Jackie in Dallas,
    Thank you for proving my point,
    NOBAMA lovers will not say it is wrong to hang around with terriorists, sit in a church with someone who says gd america, ect..it is okay Jackie in Dallas? sure it is you want NOBAMA to take from the wealthy and GIVE to you.. pathetic.. NOBAMA lovers ...just pathetic..

    October 15, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  17. Nifty 60, female and white

    JUST ANNOYED......every one here should read his comments and read them again and again. I am a solid Obama supporter and believe that when attacked he should fight back. But the bottom line is that it serves no purpose except intices hatred. That we still have enough of in this country. Vote for what you deem to be right for you and remember that it is what makes this country so great....you can voice your opinion. Like Obama said when people booed his mention of McCain....we don't need none of that....we need votes. OBAMA got mine already last week.

    October 15, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  18. Jackie in Dallas

    Glenn, I DID earn it, but unlike the ultra-rich who can hide their wealth and not pay their fair share, I gladly pay my fair share as long as I'm getting what I pay for. Socialism is to take from the wealthy and give to the poor - which sounds remarkably like charity to me - I'm just tired of my little money being taken from me and given to the wealthy! I'm not on welfare, and don't ask for any handouts from the government. I believe in a capitalistic society, and when the US is one, instead of a federally funded retirement parachute for the rich and incompetent, I'll be happy to live here. I'm not just a crackpot, I've studied our history, gotten a degree (in 3 not 5 1/2 years). served honorably in our military during Vietnam, and have watched McCain vote time and time again to reduce my benefits. So don't start characterizing me as someone who is lazy and just wants a handout.

    October 15, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  19. dave

    Quit telling me what I am supposed to care about, you imbiciles!!! Everytime McCain brings up yet another example of Obama's choice of confidants, the media states he is putting forth a distration. If our leaders have no sense of character and we can't trust them, we don't need them.

    October 15, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Teresa from TEXAS

    My question for McCain is, "What are you trying to say by the comments about Ayers?". McCain himself stated he did not believe Obama was a terrorist, so the only reason I can see to even mention this information is to scare the Americans into changing the minds. He is incouraging hatred and you can see it in his campaining and the reactions we have seen by some of his suppporters. They are being lead into their decisions by fear and fear alone. We need someone who is willing to help this country the way it is today, Obama is in no way the same type of person Ayers is. It's not like they sat around and discussed doing harm to the U.S. Start thinking with your minds and realize Obama is trying to help this country out of this mess. Mc Cain is living in the past.

    October 15, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  21. Glenn

    Jackie in Dallas. Get a good accountant and and reduce your taxes and study your history. Income redistribution is Socialism. He is dangerous....but I am not worried. McCain will win by 2%. When people go into the booth to vote no one will know. Socialism is dangerous.....I hope you don't find out the hard way.

    October 15, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. Sohrab

    Mccain =no pain no gain
    Pallin=Palling around Todd with AIA to secede from the U S
    Obama= new Leadership for changing America

    October 15, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. Ken

    Well I live in N. Idaho and can see Canada from my house...used to live in Cali and could see Mexico from my house...that must mean I too have "extensive" foreign policy credentials as well-like Sarah Palin! Why oh why didn't McCain pick me as Veep nominee then?!?!!? Ha ha-see how stupid that sounds when an average person says that? The GOP are fools and McCains "stunt" by picking Palin will not pay off like he thought.

    Obama/Biden 08!!!

    October 15, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. danlyn

    p.s Jackie in Dallas..your the racist for even thinking that my comment had anything to do with race, and like NOBAMA lovers YOU BROUGHT RACE INTO THE COMMENT...even more pathetic..b

    October 15, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. Dena

    Roland, can someone please tell me who they are polling in Texas? Because it sure in the heck is not people in my neighborhood nor my shopping centers or my work place. How are the pollsters so sure that Texas is Red?

    October 15, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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