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. paulann

    why do so-called conservatives believe that any or most of obama's supporters are waiting for a handout if he is elected? We have been going to school, getting a good and proper education, working at good paying jobs and raising our families, paying our mortgages and bills, and doing all this while being BLACK and PROUD OF IT!!! We were able to do this under the Bush years, and will continue to do the same no matte who wins. While you are being angry and dare i say it ? "bitter " , we are working to live and continue to make this the greatest nation ever in existence for our children, despite the fact that you have given us eight years of conservative rule and have brought our nation to her knees. FOR THAT WE WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!!!

    October 15, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. Anita from Arizona

    I can think of other countries that is ruled by their religion. Iran, Iraq, Pakistan to name a few. The day the USA becomes ruled by Christian Law like Islamic Law is the day I become a Canadian.

    Quit trying to legislate morality. Can't you be God fearing and accepting of others at the same time?

    October 15, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. beachgirl

    The guy is TWO FACES, so much like all of the Republicans!!
    I hope McCain makes a huge mistake tonight so Americans can just put his party OFF!

    October 15, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. ohio

    obama bring those KO punches out on this liar

    October 15, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. TexicoFrom Mexico

    I encourage everyone to go see the movie W this weekend and see what you would get with a McCain Presidency! Actually it would be worse because you would have not only a cold person in the VP slot but an idiot to boot!

    Veterans for Obama

    October 15, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. Ralph

    Mohammad Ali, aka Casus Clay, is a coward who change religion to avoid the draft. I never thought he was the greatest. i sure don't think Obama is the greatest. Obama has bad judgement in comments and friends.

    October 15, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Ryan in Texas

    Barack Obama has McCain on the ropes. I don't want to jinx this for Barack, but I didn't when I said it in the primary. So, why not say it now. We will win the election. I just wish my vote meant more. I'd love to put Texas in the Obama column, but I don't see it happening.

    Obama-Biden '08

    October 15, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Polly

    I think people are ready for RockM SockM Robots! GEEEEEEEZZZZZZ

    Marry Me Matt! Your comments about God and Country. Right ON~

    October 15, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. 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 haven’t 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 surprise. 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 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  10. Bulldog

    McCain and Palin are frauds. Palin is a schmuck and is dirty. She is the cover up queen of all of her ethics violations as a mayor and governor. This lady would be devestating to our country. If we want to talk about terrorists then let's also talk about Sarah's husband Todd who belonged to a terrorist group in Alaska that hates the USA. Let's talk about McCain transition leader who was a lobbyist for the terrorist Saddam Hussein. Let's talk about McCain sitting on the board of the U.S. Council for World Freedom that supported terrorism in other countries and helped kill innocent people. Bring it on!!!

    October 15, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. ohio

    well we should focus on issues not past everyone has a negative past at one time. mccain has present and past negativity

    October 15, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  12. Deena

    No matter what McCain will do or say tonight's debate is too late. Voters are smart and they already figured out who can lead this country into a better tomorrow. I'm sorry to say that McCain's experienced do't matter at this time. We have too much at stake.

    My theory is that Obama will do a better job because he can unite people to do the right thing. Obama's been antigonizing people around him and Americans in general. On top of that he has a running mate who is dumb. Without her looks, people will not even talking about her.

    October 15, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  13. Peter (CA)

    Scott & Stephen,

    All I see are generalities with no facts to back them up.

    There will be no socialism but there will no longer be a cut-rate ride for the ones gouging themselves at the trough. And why should there be? Do we not all work hard? Should we all not benefit? Why is it that those of us who do not make $250K a year have to pay more than our share?
    Obama is talking about a "fairer" system, not a perfect one. He has laid out plans. All the Republicans have said is: trust us, we know what's best for the country. The wealth will trickle down to everyone. Do you continue to believe that? Look at what is really happening. Wealth is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

    October 15, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. aware

    Tough call – Obama just lies his way out of it even though the now numerous radical pieces fit together!

    Obama calls poor judgment and lying just being bone-headed! 😦

    October 15, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Janine

    McCain is a liar. I constantly see McCain supporters attack Obama about being a liar but yet you choose to support McCain. If you factcheck most of what McCain has said you'll find it. You don't have to support either of them. There are other people running for President.

    October 15, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  16. C Spurgeon

    I hope he just stays focused on the issues. Thats what has moved me to Obama from Clinton and I am thankful it be over soon and we can get on with it.

    October 15, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  17. Charlotte

    I mailed my ballot back and I wrote Hillary Clinton as my choice. You people go ahead and cast your votes for one of these idiots. I think it is a matter of which liar you want in office, Obama or McCain? I don't want either of them.

    October 15, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  18. Gregg - Florida

    Let them bring it up, bring it on, then Obama should bring up Palins involvement with AIG, wich i hope CNN investigates this, Palin endorsed AIG in Alaska this year, she said in an interview today, records are fair game, i agree, lets talk about AIG Palin!! but she wont, she runs and hides, and thats Country First?? /sigh,,wake up America....

    October 15, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. Dawn T. Ada, Ohio

    Exactly why I'm supporting Obama he is a very, very smart man!!!
    Go OBAMA GO!!!
    FIRED UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    READY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. Phil Newton from Murphy, Oregon


    We want issues, not smears.

    McCain goes there, Obama is ready.

    October 15, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. Wayne D. PA

    McCain will win when he can be a man and look Obama in the eyes. Don't count on the polls everybody get out and vote take a friend, neighbor, family they might need a ride. The republicans are trying to use the okey doke.

    October 15, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. Kurt

    Ralph's Quote:

    Mohammad Ali, aka Casus Clay, is a coward who change religion to avoid the draft. I never thought he was the greatest.

    You, obviously, don't realize that Muhhammad Ali was a muslim before he opposed the draft and he had the courage of his convictions to not go to war because he was against war.

    There are Muslim, Christians, and Jews who are against the war and choose to be conscientious objectors.

    It took great courage to do that and by doing it loose your livlihood as the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

    I did not have such courage.

    I was drafted and served in Vietnam, but I can respect the honorable actions of a man who follows his beliefs.

    October 15, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. verbal kent

    Stephen is a great example of the cowardly rascist Republican idiot that we have in this country today. He'd like all "real" (white) Americans to go cast a vote for McCain in the spirit of honor, country, and God. Just because a man is unlucky enough to get captured while at war does not make him have honor. Accusing a man of wanting to teach young kids about sex in order to get votes does not display honor. If McCain truly put "country first" and not "Win this election first", he'd have chosen a qualified VP instead of betting on the stupidity of the American people re: Mrs. Palin. The past eight years have been horrible for us. Our republican president told us that we were going to Iraq to put an end to terrorism. We spend a lot of money over there every day, but our economy is in the tank. You had your chance. Electing another republican would be like bringing back Matt Millen to the Detroit Lions. Wake up people. Look at and listen to these crowds at the McCain rallys. 100% of rascist white folks are cowards...they can only say how they truly feel in large crowds of their own kind. It's not at all about the issues anymore, just watch and see. The last tactic of the republicans= "You don't really want to elect a black as president of our great country do you?"

    October 15, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  24. priscilla

    Obama if he brings up Ayers please please please just kindly mention Sarah's shady husband especially since CNN, FIX News or MSNBC wont touch it!!! It will be nice to see how the public reacts to her hanging around with a husband who hates America so much!!!!!!

    Its time they know the truth about there Sarah since they want to bring Obama down!

    October 15, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. rss1970


    Ever heard of the sixteenth amendment? According to your theory, we have been a "socialist" country for 90 years! Socialism, is not a redistribution of wealth, it is a government's role in regulating the economy (such as nationalizing banks) that determines the type of economic system it is. How much you pay in taxes doesn't have anything to do with socialism.

    October 15, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
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