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. Ellie, MD

    JAB...JAB... JAB... KNOCKOUT!!!

    Sen. McCain How many fingers do you see?

    October 15, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. DClaire

    God Be With You Barack and yes We The People are at your side, We will be there for you and at the finish line!

    BARACK / BIDEN 2008

    D. Claire

    October 15, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. David

    Zapit. Chrustschow = Khruschev. First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953-1964. Brought the US and USSR to the brink of nuclear war with JFK (another inexperience liberal democrat) in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Obama is nowhere close to being a Marxist-Leninist. Go vote for the maverick and the secessionist.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 15, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |

    what will you all do when it is proven that OBAMA is not a u.s. citizen.... how will you struggle with your "BONEHEADED" decision? i would like to see his actual birth certificate and his transcripts from college that show where he is from? how does someone from such poor upbringing afford to go to harvard?

    October 15, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |


    OBAMA 08

    October 15, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. RS, Va

    TO GLENN October 15th, 2008 6:18 pm ET

    Regardless of who we support – Wanted to clarify the meaning of "socialism". I've seen too many people having very misleading ideas about it.
    I would say that the US govt is right now and has been already SOCIALIST. Lets look at examples.

    1) A couple earning close to 250,000$ in US pay much higher tax rate than a family say with $50,000 income. There are multiple tax brackets currently and it all depends on your income. This has been the case so far under any govt. Isn't this socialism or redistribution of wealth ?
    2) With the current talk about US govt investing money in banks promoted by Bush – isn't this socialism where govt takes more control on things, when they won't work out ?

    What I wanted to make clear is we are already socialist in many ways and there are positive and negative aspects of everything. Pls don't get convinced by what politicians say.

    October 15, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Jennifer

    Reading some of the comments and hearing what McCain/Palin supporters scream at the rallies is very scary. If anyone ever thought that racism was dead...they were dead wrong. All of this shows how young of nation we are. It's sad really. We have all the power (although much of it has been sold over the last eight years) but we lack the mental capacity to know how to use it. Suppression and oppression does not demonstrate power, it shows weakness and fear. This is our chance to move foward and grow, but there are so many willing to regress. I just hope that those who would rather continue to act children and not share are fewer than the adults who want to continue to grow.

    October 15, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. jojodancer1119

    I'm getting my popcorn ready for this debate. I want to see evil canevile growl about Ayers. It's going to be a good one!!!

    October 15, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. jack rogers

    I'm 62 years old. I have voted Republican since I wa 21 years old. This year I will vote democratic. What really bothers me as I consistantly watch CNN News is Cob"s coment about being independent. BALONEY!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. Freedom

    IT'S NOT ABOUT BEING ABLE TO "STING LIKE A BEE, guys and gals, or about how cleverly and deceptively you can win an election, as if it's some sort of cruel game.

    It's about expressing your beliefs to the people HONESTLY, so they can decide for themselves. That's what democracy is all about...Governing YOURSELF, not hiring other people as flawed as you are to make important decisions you can't face yourself, or "redistributing wealth." If given too much power, ANYONE, and I mean anyone, will abuse it. It's history. It's human greed, not "Change."

    Life is not fair, it is not perfect, and people will always face hard times. The President is NOT solely responsible for the economy, and even if so, do you think his/her policies do so within the length of their term? The US economy is so vast and so dependent upon such an unpredictable chain of supply and demand that there is no way the government can see enough of its angles to alter it themselves, and their attempts to do so take decades to take effect.

    Best you can hope for is fairness, honesty, and the OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED, not the opportunity to elect a President that will tell you the right way to succeed. Wake up and smell the roses.

    October 15, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  11. Joy Remson-Johnson

    I am sorry but some of the posts that equate voting for McCain as a sign of patriotism are sickening and disrepectful to many of our troops who have and continue to lay their lives on the line so that we can all vote as we see fit. The soldiers serving this nation represent various races, ethnicIties, religious ideals, economic backgrounds, and political preferences. They are Republicans, Independents, third party backers, and yes Democrats as well. My husband has served this nation in Afghanistan once and Iraq three times and has been called up to go to Iraq a fourth time. He is an independent and I am a Democrat, we both are voting for OBAMA/BIDEN. Now why don't you go to him and the many other soldiers serving this nation and their family members who are all voting for OBAMA/BIDEN and question their patriotism to their face. HYPOCRITS! And leave GOD out of politics!

    October 15, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  12. Ann L.

    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.

    I knew a Glenn a few years ago - he was an air force lifer that never made it past E4; that 'Glenn' couldn't afford a kiddie pool for the deck on his apartment let alone a real swimming pool AND a hot tub!

    I may not have a helluva lot but what I have I have definitely earned, and as my husband says, those people who have million dollar houses are welcome to them, but they don't have the right to take mine away from me.

    With the state of America as it is now too many people have lost their ONE home (sans swimming pool) and yet McCain has NINE - maybe he should sell at least 7 of them and give the proceeds from the sales to those Americans who are losing their homes; or better yet, he is so convinced we have to stay in Iraq long enough to win this war - let him sell his houses to support the troops that are over there.

    October 15, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  13. Lee from louisville

    Heard Liberty Mutual is Mccains insurance carrier hey may need it after the final bell rings & he's on the canvas ,buy way of a K.O...

    October 15, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. David

    Do you really want Mr. Burns, I mean McCain to be President? Of course not – go Obama~

    October 15, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. NOT SAFE




    October 15, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. Z

    Why do liberals want to elect obama who is a pothead criminal, wants to take all their money & dictate their lives? Is there something we can do to make them more intelligent? Or possibly to give them morals & not be snide, hateful & ignorant?

    October 15, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. lafloran

    Kari, honestly, what is relevant about Ayers?

    October 15, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  18. No Hillary = No Obama

    Do you get the feeling that Obama is really not one of McCain's favorite people – even if they weren't competing for the Presidency? I don't think McCain likes Obama that much. It's just an impression. I wonder why. Could it be Obama has not earned his place in history, wants something for nothing and feels entitled? Yep, that's probably it.

    October 15, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. ready for change


    October 15, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  20. Chris from PA

    I read everything that everyone comments and not one person has it right. It isn't McCain nor Obama that is a major solution but everyone working together. I don't think that anyone can set another person up in a debate but both candidates need to present their issues. I think that McCain has a better tax policy on corporations because lower taxes create jobs (as seen in Delaware and Ireland (State and Country with lowest tax rate) but Obama has a better health care plan. Yet all I see on the blogs is OBAMA IS A SAVIOR. LIBERALS ARE MORONS. When people learn to compromise and see things not as one or the other the country can move forward, work together and solve our problems. Come on people get over one person or the other and learn how to compromise.

    October 15, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. JL

    if voters need to care abut Ayers, then they need to be even more concerned about the AIP, in which Mrs. Palin sends her support for them to keep up the good work. after hearing words about our country, it's flag and rules come out of the leaders mouth, Ayers, ACORN, and Rev. Wright mean nothing. the group desires to be on their own, away from American rules and regulations. according to the leader, the AIP will die fighting to be their own state seperate from the USA.

    is that considered terroristic thoughts, plans, actions???

    October 15, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. PL

    DClaire is right!

    We The People are at your side, We will be there for you and at the finish line!

    God Be With You Barack and GOD bless America!

    BARACK / BIDEN 2008


    October 15, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. Erik

    from the American Heritage Dictionary:
    "Socialism. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy."

    from The Princess Bride:
    "You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

    October 15, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  24. Dylan

    I can't believe I'm hearing republicans cry about voter registration fraud!!! Remember 2000!!!!!! Are you serious?! This isn't close to the illegal activity well documented that Karl Rove and his Cronies used against Al Gore in 2000. ACORN isn't even directly related to Obama (yes he was their civil lawyer in a matter once years ago), but what happened in Florida came directly from the mouths of Bush's advisors! Talk about hypocrisy

    October 15, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. Shawn

    We DON'T need to hear anymore about Ayers!!! I personally don't care if Obama has ties with him. Ayers has done a lot of good for his community and it wouldn't bother me in the least if he and Obama were good friends! And would somebody please tell Lou Dobbs to shut up!!! We're sick and tired of his Obama bashing. I used to like watching his show but now can't stomach it because of his obvious bias against Obama. Honesty he sounds more like a Republican than most of the Republicans out there.

    October 15, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47