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. Peter (CA)

    Blacks vote at over a 90% clip for Democrats. Be it Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, or Barrack Obama. It's not about race, it's about policy.

    And when you go to Howard Stern for your cutting edge political punditry, well, I think that pretty much says it all.

    October 15, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. Steve

    For those of you who think "spreading wealth around" is socialist, please turn in your tax refunds. If you're on Social Security, disability, unemployment, welfare, or Medicare, refuse your payments. Over 90% of the wealth in this country is held by less than 10% of our population. That segment of the population pays very little income tax. Income tax (and capital gains tax) is what the government runs on. Those and other taxes are what are used to fund roads, bridges, buildings and social programs. Obama wants to close loopholes so the badly-underfunded programs like breakfasts and reading programs for poor kids can get the money they need. He understands that each citizen has a responsibility to take care of everyone else as well as possible. That is not socialism you idiots. That is the way our country runs itself. I personally make well into a six figure income (that's hundreds of thousands of dollars for you third grade educated right wing nutcases). As wealthy as I am, I agree with Obama. We need to share. It's what makes us strong as Americans. Get over yourselves. You are part of a large society, even though it may not appear so from that cabin with an outhouse in the back you live in just outside of Yahooville.

    October 15, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  3. NJ

    Rope-A-Dope from a BONEHEADED Candidate. The only thing worse are the Boneheads that are still chanting for him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  4. Meg Madison, Cary North Carolina

    I hope this outrageous non-issue IS brought up, so that it can be put to bed, along with all the other misleading, provocative smears that McCain/Palin have been trying, in vain to promulgate. Let him blow a fuse! Obama will answer him, as always, directly and honestly like the statesman he is and show McCain for what HE has become...a mean spirited, lying, dishonorable, dysfunctional fool.

    October 15, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Stephen

    Matt, I am proud of my country but not always my government. Only a fool does not acknowledge and learn from one's or other's mistakes. I am no happier than anyone else when it comes to the state of our nation today, however, I do not believe that more government will fix that nor more regulation and taxation. We do more to help others in this world then any other country and have liberated most of it during the World Wars. Personally, I think that a return to those values and ideals that let our grandparents be the "greatest generation" might actually return this country to one that all of us can be proud of and that is a hope that I believe we all share. I do not believe that McCain is Bush or he would not get my vote. Obama will never get it because I do not trust his policies nor his promises and finally Bush is no conservative!! The growth of government under his administration is a tremendous dissappointment and a mistake that we are all paying for and we should not make that mistake again by electing someone who wants to grow the government which has failed us time and again. I am for reformation and we need it now.

    October 15, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Martin, it's interesting how you continue to convince folks that you are an Obama supporter, yet you continue to expose his strategy. Put a lid on it why don't you!

    October 15, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  7. Raffaello in CT

    I am starting to feel sorry for right-wing folks against Obama – they're flailing away in rage and desperation, petrified that a black man with a liberal economic program will be leader of our great nation. Yes, I said "liberal", not "socialist".

    Y'all need to get your mind around Dems in charge of Congress and the White House for the forseeable future. We've had to suffer the last eight years, but we didn't lose faith in our system or threaten your beloved "W". Speaking of which, if I hear anyone threaten my man
    I will personally turn you into the FBI myself.

    October 15, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  8. Tell it lke it Truly is

    Acorn is under investigation for Voter registration fraud.
    That is a fact, whether Democratic supporters want to continue to push it under the table or not.
    it was Obama`s desperate attempt to gain Democratic votes, by Black American voters. Change history.
    Sure the polls say he is ahead.
    One Black American admiited to supporting McCain instead of Obama.
    He is now being called a trader, receiving death threats etc.
    Is this not racist.
    What does mr. Martin have to say about this.

    October 15, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Christians for Obama

    I agree. Ayers is a non issue. I encourage all readers to do their own research and not depend on the media to report the news fairly.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 15, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. EqualBranchesofGovernment

    The recent polls show Barack Obama up by 10 points.......but if I were Senator Obama I would approach this debate as if I were even or down........Polls lie...............when people get in that voting booth.....people who say they are for Obama publicly will vote for Sen. McCain just because Barack Obama is black.

    October 15, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. zapit

    Please, please, please ... Vote for Obama! We need a socialist in the White House. It's about time the Marxism-Leninism took over the world. It's a shame that Sergei Chrustschow is not around here anymore to see how United States was buried.

    But then, 90% of you, don't even know who Chrustschow was. And if you don't, stay at home on the election day, because you don't know the history.

    October 15, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  12. ROSE from OHIO


    VISIONS FOR TOMORROW...please.........

    A leader that will lead.........
    a PRESIDENT that protects and serves us all...
    VOTE! VOTE! VOTE for our future!




    October 15, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. Jon, Michigan

    It would be silly for McCain to try to attack Obama at this point. He's tried over and over again with little impact. To have a chance, he needs to go after the greedy SOBs of both parties responsible for the current economic woes and credit crisis.

    Going after the opposition candidate is what politicians do – going after corrupt politicians (GOP or DNC) and crooked CEOs, that's what real mavericks do. Come on, McCain – let's see the Maverick?

    October 15, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. MemeForObama

    Mcain might as well suspend the rest of his campaign and walk away will he still have some dignity left in him. Obama is our next PRESIDENT.

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

    Senator Mc Cain should stay on the issues and leave the personal attacks alone. Senator Obama is a much stronger candidate then when Senator Clinton tried to widdle him Senator Obama will try to excute verbal judo- probably he will. Don't give him a chance.

    October 15, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  16. Raymond

    What....are you out of your tree, McGeezer
    We think that you have been eating Aunt Sarh's Mooseburgers to much.
    Now, go to your retirement home and let Cindy paint the town.

    October 15, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Eric

    For all those idiots all there, and let's just say there are a few, there is no Acorn voter fraud. It's called registration fraud. It becomes a fraud when the actual Michey Mouse will try to VOTE! Right, Got that! Stop listening to Lou Dobbs and read real journalists.

    As for McCain, I feel sorry for him. He is no match with Obama on personality, intellect and judgment. The poor guy really thought he had a shot with his POW POW story and a bimbo by his side. He really thought he could pull out a trick, despise the american people with the worst vp choice and history and pull it off. He can't.

    Tonight, he will have a choice, go down in dignity or listen to the right-wing nuts and try to throw mud. I have no idea what he is going to do. And at the end, this is what is so scary about this man. You don't know what he will do, ever. That's no maverick. That's erratic.

    October 15, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Howard

    Hey Ralph, you call Muhammad Ali a coward, but I'd like to see you climb into the ring with Joe Frazier three times.

    October 15, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. NJ

    ACORN worker in Michigan Arrested for Forgery in Voter Fraud.
    One down thousands to go. And the domino effect is set in place.


    October 15, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. Dan, TX

    McCain's campaign made a great mistake. They thought that no one knows Obama, so if they lie about Obama it will taint him and turn people away from him. The problem is, we DO know Obama and know he is not an Arab, Muslim, or pal of Terrorists. Thus, your negative ads make McCain look STUPID.

    October 15, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. Not "that Girl"

    I've seen this echoed a few times here and I'll say it one more time.. Fellow voters/ Obama supporters don't get too comfortable with Obama's current position and lead over McCain be sure to go out and VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!! Let's not get to Nov 5 and be scratching our head and hineys screaming and whining "How could this happen how did McCain win?!" Lets drive this bus all the way home to Capitol Hill and announce Obama as our next President !!!!

    October 15, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  22. Kari

    How can you say no one cares about the Ayers connection??? I find it VERY relevant. Obama has used and will use any form possible to further himself – you see it is about HIM, not America.

    October 15, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. Guru X

    The idea that McCain may announce a one term only bid at the debate is curious – do proponents think the outcome of his first term is so uncertain or do they think Americans want him in as a temp while Sarah learns the ropes?

    October 15, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  24. That Guy

    After reading many of these posts I am completely saddened by the state of American politics today. For those of you on the right and the left, take a step back and look in the mirror. You are posting anger and disgust at another American simply because they don't agree with your single-minded views. My only hope of the debate tonight is simply that the candidates stick to the issues and inform the American public of what policies they will enact if given the opportunity to become president. None of the silliness about Ayers or Keatings or anything that isn't directly linked to policy.

    October 15, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  25. manueL

    mcsame or mcpalin should know that we americans are saying that enough is enough.I feel like throwing up whea that wink wink speeks,she irritates me.

    October 15, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
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