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. Cindy in Atlanta

    My 401K is almost tanked and the Reps actually think I want to hear about Ayers...(they have ran this man's name in the ground...and also, I think is close to endangering his life). McCain has skeletons in his closet as well...but I'm glad Obama has had the decency not to bring out his dirt (so far) because it really might put a bad stink on this election.

    I saw a clip on MSNC last night where McCain was the keynote speaker at an ACORN event in 2006...not 40 years ago!!! So give me a break there.

    I guess if you are not part of the Republican "base" you are supposed to be stupid. You can't lie to the "non base" americans in this country.

    Obama/Biden 08!!!!

    October 15, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  2. mia

    BARACK!! BARACK!! BARACK!!BARACK!! and mccain just sits in the corner saying"Should i quit" everyone says,"YES YES YES YES YES

    love your biggest fan


    October 15, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. MAJ

    Obama will speak to the people. McCain should also, if he does bring up Ayer's etc. he will make himself look more of a fool than ever. Personally, I think McCain is acting like an old spoiled fool.

    October 15, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. eddy

    Once again they are upset that their poor folks did not think of it first.
    What dumb comment will Palin make on this?

    October 15, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |


    October 15, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. sonia

    I've just read a couple of comments on a CNN blog from people who support MCCain and they said their comments did not get posted. I've had the same experience at times in the CNN blog. I have news for you, there are plenty of people who do not share CNN's left-wing views, and who would like to support someone who doesn't pal around with terrorists, and who would know what to do if the red phone rang in the middle of the night. I'm afraid Obama would just say "call me later..." just like he did when the bailout had to be considered. CNN has tried very hard to turn this election.And yes, CNN and NBC have tried their best to see that we have an Obama socialist government. You can spin all you want but in the end, you may not be able to swing the election .There are still many people who work for a living and don't believe in hand-outs and redistribution of wealth.

    October 15, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. Jack Six Pack

    Dirty politics is all John McCain has left in his idea bag – old John just wants to repackage the Bush/McCain ideas hoping that people will "buy it".

    Did you like these past eight years? Do you like what's in your 401K portfolio? Do you like the amount of debt we own to China and others? Do you like the job prospects in America?

    Well, that's exactly what John McCain is offering you – more of the same with a cute little pig with lipstick on the side.

    October 15, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. Nicole

    Well as it was in the last race, if the Republican party can't win on answers, they resort to fear. Last time it was some Vietnam vets recounting far streched trues about John Kerry. Now CD's spreading lies. No wonder I won't vote the Republican ticket, I detest the lies and low life tactics they use. They do the same thing if they get into Federal government positions. How can we ever trust them?

    October 15, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  9. VETS4Obama

    Hey Michael from Arkansas....looks like the country is in great shape after your right wing nut jobs have had control for 8 years doesn't it? Give me a break! Welcome back to the MINORITY where you belong too! Face the facts....your right wing theories have failed you and the country!

    October 15, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. steve from fayetteville, nc

    the mccain/palin ticket is a joke, just not very funny. watch the way they run their campaign, and it shows what kind of "leaders" they would make.
    can't wait for nov. 5 when this country can begin to move forward again.
    can the new president start right away? (after a short vacation for he and his family).
    obama will be the leader this country has needed for a long time.
    but only if people get out and vote!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. ts


    Do you think Ali in his prime could of beatan those guys in UFC ??


    October 15, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. NNige

    Hay Sean, I like your comment obout the dope on the rope. That made laugh. I am also surprised that i remember how to spell laugh, LOL.

    October 15, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  13. Texas Teacher

    You don't want any part of that comment, right? The truth hurts, doesn't it? McCain does not need money to run ads... the media is doing it for him. Why is that? Big Business.... part of the 5% of the wealthiest people in this country? Is their bias..... you bet your bottom there is! But it is not LIBERAL Bias...

    October 15, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  14. DAVE IN CA

    can you explain the "VOTE EARLY" so that you are not swayed by the republican ads towards obama? do you think he is worried about truths coming out more and more so if you brain washed left wing future socialist backers vote early it is too late? now i see that video game manufacturers are putting this in some popular games and only in swing states? sounds like those dvd's they supposedly distributed

    October 15, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |


    October 15, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  16. Ex-Republican for Obama

    Flash back to April of 2008:

    McCain (to Obama): You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting. In what world could you possibly beat me?

    Flash forward to Nov 4th 2008:
    (all speaking to a wrinkled and morally bankrupt John McCain, pissing in his diapers on the floor)

    Hillary Clinton: You have been weighed
    Katie Couric: You have been measured
    Tina Fey: And you have absolutely...
    Christopher Buckley: Been found wanting.

    Barack Obama: Welcome to New World. God save you, if it is right that he should do so.

    October 15, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  17. For the records

    How many Black Democratic supporters are hired by Accorn
    I bet you cannot find one Republican employee.
    Talk about trying to fix an election.

    October 15, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  18. Kathy

    Obama may well go after McCain on his Bill Ayers' comments, but I believe that all the rules of the "debate" will soften any comment.

    October 15, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  19. Pat Brook

    Let us go Obama!! Forget Mc shame, he got no more ammunition to use against you!! What's next Mc Shame!! This is no time to fight!! May be Obama should recruit you and send you to find Bin Ladin when he goes to the white house.

    October 15, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  20. Texas Teacher

    I just read Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope. I'm getting ready to read Kline's book, The Shock Doctrine. The former tells you who Obama is.... he will make a wonderful president. The latter, tells you what the Bush Administration has been up to big time.... and what McCain was slated to finish! Deregulation was just the tip of the ice berg! 9/11 was the first major shock....now this bail out... th

    October 15, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  21. Freedom

    "Just because a man is unlucky enough to get captured while at war does not make him have honor."

    Yes that's correct. But when your TORTURING captors directly say that they will release you upon your admittal that the war is wrong and you sustain the pain, YOU HAVE HONOR.

    I don't care whether the war was right or not. He didn't turn his back on his country, he had faith in those elected to run it, and those ELECTED to run it chose to go to war.

    October 15, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  22. Jim, Honolulu

    The blame for McCain going over the cliff largely goes to McCain (although Palin has given him a healthy push by alienating centrists like myself). He's made a wrong turn at every turn, like speaking about 60's radicals (the 60's!) and just seems to be so out of touch with mainstream America. I'm a Republican who's now voting Obama.

    October 15, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  23. verbal kent

    Hey Chuck. OF COURSE some black people are voting for Obama because he's black. Do you believe that there aren't white people voting for McCain because he's white?!

    October 15, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  24. John

    Debates usually make no difference in Presidential elections. It's not if the candidate looks presidential, but the things they stand for and their record. When Nov. 5 comes this election will be over, 50% of the nation will be happy and the other 50% will be happy it’s over, the market will rally, people will go back to work, and those who are not paying their mortgage will be evicted from their homes.

    October 15, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  25. Ex-Republican for Obama

    Z wrote: "Or possibly to give them morals & not be snide, hateful & ignorant?"

    Can you repeat that again? Perhaps it's just me, but I could swear you seemed like you had no morals, or perhaps you were being snide, hateful or ignorant?

    October 15, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
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