October 15th, 2008
08:30 PM ET
6 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. Jerry

    I hope Senator Obama gets a chance to remind Senator Mcain that he just a few years ago was the MAIN SPEAKER for a Acorn event. And oh yeah also Senator Mcain as a lawyer once defended Acorn.

    October 15, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  2. Rachielle from VA

    Roland, once again...you speak the ultimate truth. McCain is going down tonite.

    October 15, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. Corey W

    It is bascially over for McCain and that concubine Palin 20 days and counting.

    October 15, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  4. cajafa

    Didn't McCain scold Obama in the second debate for announcing his plans to invade Pakistan if necessary in order to catch Bin Laden? He even misquoted his hero Teddy Roosevelt "Talk softly and carry a big stick"....Now McCain is announcing he's going to whup Obama. Attack him about Ayers. McCain has so much to teach us!...if only he'd learn it himself.

    October 15, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  5. John

    If Obama wins, Democrats, if true to their words will seek to regulate banks so they don’t offer sub-prime loans to people who don’t qualify, while allowing mortgage companies to give the same people loans which unregulated Fanny and Freddie will buy. The bad sub-prime loans will continue because the Democrats say we don’t need to regulate Fanny and Freddie, that we need to “spread the wealth around”. By 2011 Obama’s reign will be like Carter’s. Interest rates will skyrocket, Pelosi and Reid will force Obama to sign a big tax increase on people earning $40k or higher, gas will be at $10/gallon because the Democrats will end the drilling in January 2009. It will be as big an economic crisis as we had in 1979 under Carter. Just hope we do not have another terrorist attack under Obama, because his lack of experience will result in a badly mismanaged response that will make George Bush’s Iraq war look like a stroke of brilliance.

    October 15, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. Bec

    Think about it: If the republicans, (McCain) were 100% confident about their politics, strategies and ideas for the next 4 years, then they wouldn't need to use smear tactics to make Obama look bad.

    October 15, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  7. Bill

    ROUND 3 KNOCK OUT!

    October 15, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  8. OHIO FOR OBAMA

    Well this should silence the Obama critics once and for all. Go OBAMA. ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE. WE DON'T CARE ABOUT AYERS, WRIGHT OR ACORN. LETS HEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO ABOUT HEALTH CARE, THE ECONOMY AND CLEANING UP WASHINGTON.

    OBAMA/BIDEN.

    October 15, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  9. Whats right ?

    Z... you made a comment about Obama being a pothead and why you can't give his supporters morals?? Speaking of moralas.. how about starting with Palin's kid and having stay in school and not dropping out of HS at 17 because she got knocked up by her redneck bf.

    SO right... where can i sign up for morals like that! A woman who can't control her 5 kids... but we are supposed to trust with the country?!?! no thanks!

    Obama has my vote.. him, his wife and lovey children.

    October 15, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  10. Gary Chandler in Canada

    when has McCain been a leader? his daddy and grandpapa were!
    All McCain had to decide was what music to play when he dropping bombs from 20,000 feet!
    he would have been kicked out of the Academy if not for his mommy and daddy.
    I am SO glad he never opposed the bail out. The race would still be close, even with Palin.

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

    Rowland is absolutley correct. McCain's temper is even worse than has been reported. Having seen it personally, we do not need a hothead, but an even tempered strong leader and Obama is that candidate: Period.

    October 15, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  12. Obama's Sister

    McCain-Palin scare me. My rights to control my body will be overturned and before I know it, they will out law birth control. If that happens, I'm moving to Canada!!

    Go Obama!!

    From your bi-racial Sister in Spirit!!

    October 15, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. John

    If McCain wins, he will regulate Fanny and Freddie so that they will no longer be allowed to buy sub-prime loans. The deregulation of banks is not what caused this financial crisis, but the refusal to regulate Fanny and Freddie. Republicans tried to regulate Fanny and Freddie while Pelosi, Frank, Reid, Dodd, and Obama fought to keep them deregulated. With McCain in office and a Republican run congress, by 2011, the demand to Drill Here and Drill Now will begin to result in benefits for our nation’s dependency on foreign oil and keep the price of fuel down. Interest rates will stay down because Republicans will allow our economy to grow by keeping taxes low and allow businesses and corporations to pay their employees more. I think I am tired of the Democrats messing up this nation. They have been running things down the past 2 years since they won in 2006. The kind of change and hope I want is what McCain offers, not Obama. NObama. Yes McCain.

    October 15, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. to: "dave in CA"

    they're called scholarships and financial aid and if you think voting for McCain will bring any of the less fortunate to college, you have a lot to learn...

    October 15, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. watcher

    God's man will win......................

    October 15, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. JB

    cslater – that is a GREAT idea! Everyone should use their camera phones (technology can be put to good use!) and take a picture of their ballot choice next to their driver's license. That way if there's any issue, we can see who really voted for whom...on BOTH sides! It may come down to that if the last two elections are any indication!

    Oh and people...seriously now...fact check and snopes...non-partisan TRUTH...even if it's not what you want to read!
    ***********
    You can turn on a light and turn a person toward the light, but you can't make them open their eyes to see the light. Some people will forever argue there is no sun matter how many people try to take off their blinders.

    October 15, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  17. Surane Fonseka

    At the end of the day, the voters will ask the following questions:

    1. Did not McCain say only a few weeks ago that the "FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ECONOMY ARE SOUND"?

    2. Will Palin ABUSE POWER again?

    3.Should the voters nip it in the bud?

    4. Do we want ANOTHER 4 YEARS OF THE SAME 8 YEARS RULE of the REPUBLICANS when McCain has voted 90% of the times with the failed Bush policies?

    5. How can the Country fight terrorists when there is no money and when the economy is collapsing?

    6. Why is McCain and Palin, trying to DISTRACT the voters from the REAL ISSUES, are they BANKRUPT OF SOLUTIONS AND IDEAS?

    7. Dont they know, that we are in the internet age and that we are more informed than them about matters of the world, by misleading, that they are only insulting the intelligence of the voters?

    8. Was McCain so inexperienced enough to choose Palin as a running mate?

    October 15, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. Matt

    Stephen, the "greatest generation" saw the Great Depression that led to FDR's birthing of the "welfare state" and the "socialist" programs hated so vehemently by your ilk. The reality is, it is perhaps the single most American of all things to question and criticize your country, to always demand better of the elected leadership, the institutions intended to structure our society and your fellow members in that society...acknowledging when your country is not something of which you are currently proud, so you can begin determining the right course to righting our course. THAT is what you neo-conservatives and the Republican party have forgotten. What have ultimately been your most costly mistakes this election cycle are to impugn the patriotism and devotion to our nation's core ideals of those who believe there is a different way to achieve them than you do and to underestimate our resolve to fight for them. We question our country precisely because we love it and recognize the need for CHANGE, not just the need to talk about it to disguise an instistence on "staying the course."

    "A foolish constistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    October 15, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  19. watcher

    He did last time..........

    October 15, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  20. VA 4 Obama

    Good job CNN leaving comments open for once! Roland Martin – I have a lot of respect for you, Sir, comparing Barack to Muhammad Ali! That's a great praise!!

    "He's too ugly to be the President!"

    GO BARACK GO!

    October 15, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  21. kwame

    Obama can not afford to coast. He can not look like he's relaxed while McCain seems to be fighting for his positions on the policies and for the American people. Obama needs to show excellence in his understanding of the policies he's proposing while keeping McCain at bay. Argue that his policies are better and that McCain's keep us in the same situation we find ourselves in. Hammer away at the message of change

    October 15, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  22. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    On the Keith Olbermann show "Countdown" on MSNBC, one of his guests was Allen Raymond, who wrote the book "HOW TO RIG AN ELECTION".

    Mr. Raymond knows what he is talking about! FORGET ACORN!

    THE GOP IN 1990 HIRED OFF-DUTY POLICE, BUT WEARING THEIR UNIFORMS TO INTIMIDATE MINORITY VOTERS!

    THE COPS JUST STOOD OUTSIDE OF POLLING PLACES.

    NOW THAT'S WHAT THE REPUBLICANS WILL DO, HAVE DONE.........ITS A FACT!

    DISGUSTING!

    DO NOT BE AFRAID FOLKS, VOTING IS YOUR RIGHT AS A CITIZEN!

    LET'S RISE UP, AMERICA, AND LET THE REPUBLICANS KNOW THAT WE.........THE PEOPLE..........REJECT.......THEIR VILE POLITICS.

    October 15, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  23. Mike Jackson

    America its time to see that we need Barack Obama in the white house...its not about him being a black man, its not his religious preference, its not about his friends--we all have made choices in life that we sometimes have to go back and put some corrective intervention on: we change our minds and so do politicians.....its not as if George Bush hasn't made many bad decisions in his FIRST 4 years and still the AMERICAN PEOPLE voted him in to screw things up for 4 more.....but the American people were what "WRONG" and George Bush has been "WRONG" So people get out and vote for Barack Obama he will turn America around and make it a better and more economical place to live and feel safe.....so please understand its time for a change and we are the ones who have the power to bring in that change.

    SO VOTE FOR THE RIGHT ONE ON NOV 4th.

    GO OBAMA

    October 15, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. tired

    i really think that the comment that independent white woman left was really stupid. of course some white people don't wont a black man to be the face of america. let's remember that times have changed and people are really learning and making efferts to love and care for people and not color. Don't get left behing sweetie.

    October 15, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  25. Aaron

    Barack Obama is our generation's Bobby Kennedy.

    October 15, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
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