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. Someone

    I agree 100%, even Biden has baited McCain for this one, when he bites tonight, it's all over.

    And if McCain doesn't bring it up, his supporters will lose faith in him.

    October 15, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  2. Jim, Colorado

    Mccain, Palin going down faster than the titanic.Save the rich first and leave the poor behind is not going to work this time. Obama is trying to provide life boats for the average Joe. Palins I've got nothing to loose will show up when she returns to Alaska.Talk about not seeing into the future. Be intersting to see what kind of political future Mccain will have.

    October 15, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Texas Mom for Obama

    Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News!

    McCain will bring Sarah Palin to the debate tonight to sit on stage with him! Is he out of his freaking mind?

    McCain=Insane in the Membrane
    Palin=Unstable and Unfit to Lead

    Obama/Biden '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Pepou

    If McCain is willing to fall into the Ayer's trap then he will be the laughing stock of the country tomorrow, And that will be poetic justice.

    October 15, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. Saint

    Forget Ayers, that's a dumb subject, Obama has answered that question
    enough during the last two years. The fact is we don't need another
    War Lord in the White house. Go Obama!

    October 15, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. Mike

    Wow if someone as impartial as Roland Martin is stating this, it must be true... why does anyone listen to this guy? Go McCain! Let America know how Obama's plan would eliminate jobs in America and distribute wealth, instead of grow the economy! Show America how business actually works... and throw a couple jabs in there about Obama's relationships with Ayers, Wright, and the little known guy that started his career, McKnight (I hate Socialism)

    October 15, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Jeanette

    I wish everybody would stop putting words in, and injecting their opinions, into the race.
    Let the candidates speak for themselves.

    October 15, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. KenB, MI

    A little motivation goes a long way...personally.

    October 15, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. NENA

    OBAMA......................LUV HIM! I continue watching tthe show. McCain has no substance. He is erratic and insane. I ssuspect he has dementia, ibecause of his strange behavior. When are his advisors and admirers going to get it?

    October 15, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Anne E.

    Obama's like Ali: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!

    October 15, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Martin

    Talk about Rope-A_Dope.
    Headlines should read. Martin agrees with Election fraud,
    by Black American Democratic voters.

    October 15, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Matt

    Stephen: You know what? "GOD" can take a flying leap. I haven't read anywhere EVER that it was a requirement you believe in "GOD" to be a true American. In fact, in all my years of edumacation up thru law school, it was taught that there are ZERO RELIGIOUS REQUIREMENTS to being a good American other than one: RESPECT THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS (OR LACK THEREOF) OF YOUR FELLOW COUNTRYMEN AND DO NOT TRY TO FORCE YOURS UPON THEM. The government is not a vehicle for transforming religious tenets into secular law...no matter how much you pray for it.

    You conservative whack jobs have got another thing coming if you think you're going to ever get away with turning the USA into a religious state.

    October 15, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. Jackie in Dallas

    Go right ahead and attack me, because you know me so well. I don't talk out of both sides of my mouth, just straight out of the front. I don't need to make personal attacks to make my points. You are free to disagree with them, and I think it is great that you support your candidate, but like McCain, you haven't learned that the issues are what are important.

    I did the math using the information on McCain's website and Obama's website, then I went to the National Tax Center's evaluation of both programs. As someone making under 55,000 per year, McCain will cost me an additional $1100 or so. Under Obama's plan, I will pay about $560 less. That concrete enough for you? That's not taking money out of someone else's pocket to pay me for anything. It's a better utilization and collection of the correct amount of taxes for each tax bracket.

    Chew on that for a while.

    October 15, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. Far Left News on the Way out.

    D L Hugley on CNN. What a joke of a company... Who is making these decisions?
    CNN is definately desperate on the way out.

    October 15, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. Jeanette

    That Benett guy on The Situation Room is so politically tied to McCain that he can't even be truthful.
    He said that McCain and Palin aren't saying wrong things on the trail, when we've all heard the traitor, treason, and lies they've been spreading.
    Please stop having Bennett on the show!

    October 15, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  16. Tanya

    Oh yes, Ayers IS the most important issue that concerns me now!
    That my modest retirement investment went down 40% and there is absolutely no chance that I ever will be able to rebuild it, why would I worry about such a trivial thing???!!!
    We are spending billion of dollars in Iraq paying for a nightmare nobody can even explain to us anymore. Let's bring this money back home, spend them on American taxpayers!!!

    October 15, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. MITCH


    I am a true American – proud of my family, my country, and of God's presence in my life -and I will vote for Barek Obama as a vote for morals, honesty, and REAL values.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 15, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. John for Obama

    What yo uare seeing is America waking up and thinking for themselves

    October 15, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  19. Anita from Arizona

    If McCain brings up Aires, it's game over for the McCain for bringing an arrgument with no substance. If he doesn't, then he lied about bringing it up. Lose Lose situation for McCain.

    So if I am on the PTO with someone who stole money from her job and got caught, does that make me a thief, too? I don't think so.

    October 15, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. Eric

    Apparently Mr. Obama has so much money, he does not know what to do with it, according to CNN Situation Room coverage.
    Obama advetising in kids vidio games and sports.
    Talk about trying to reach the younger voters.
    Why does he not use some of this money to put back into the economy, and help Americans keep their homes and put food on their tables.
    He surly is not using food stamps or out on the streets.

    October 15, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |

    Obama just needs to let that DOPE knock himself out.... Obama needs to stay focus on the issues. ( McCain knocked himself out when he chose Palin)

    October 15, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. lafloran

    I can't believe anyone truly believes "obama pals around with terrorists." Isn't it just the only thing palin could hope to get some reaction with? I would be afraid for Palin to be the U.S. president or vp.

    October 15, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. Kurt

    Oh Please, Mr. McCain,

    Don't throw me in the Ayer's Briarpatch....

    Fall for it, McCain,

    You chump!!!!

    October 15, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. voter


    How soon you forget that the GOP stole the election in 2000 and 2004 by supressing the vote? Currently, the GOP is purging voter registration is democratic counties in the battle ground states. You have no problem of the GOP stealing the election or committing voter fraud as long as the GOP wins. Double standard I see.

    October 15, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  25. Matt

    Lastly Stephen, "true American" Stephen....with respect to being proud of our country: Are you? Are you really? Are you proud that we've done almost nothing to help in Darfur? Are you proud of our errant involvement and complete annhiliation of Iraq, it's infrastructure, it's peoples' lives? Are you proud that our country has lost the respect of most of the world as a result of our actions the last 8 years? Are you proud that our system of gov't and our political election process have degenerated into a war of misinformation and deception designed to hoodwink the people they were supposed to represent? Are you proud that our economic system has completely collapsed as a result of the greed permitted by ideologues insisting that Randian free-market trickle-down Reaganomics actually works? Are you proud there are so many homeless, poverty-stricken, uninsured, unemployed, uneducated American citizens?

    Open your eyes friend. America is a constant goal, not a stationary object.

    October 15, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
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