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. Marie

    Roland you did it again, you know how to bring words out that can destroy people. Obama will do the same thing. He willgive it to Mcclain and he won't know what hit him. He is blinking his eyes and trying to the sympthay bit. Got to go and listen to the debate. be back latter.

    October 15, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. mobeane

    the only reason the liberal press and media is trying to buy this election

    October 15, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  3. Obama

    Joe Werzberger of Ohio?
    Let's get a fact check on John Mccain immediately. I want Joe Werzberger to call CNN, now.
    Joe the Plumber..

    October 15, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. Hayden; Tennessee Obama Supporter

    You couldn't have said it better, Martin. McCain has no route to victory... aside from said routes that he has closed himself, Obama has a stronger counterattack to what's left.

    As Carville has stated since the post-analysis of the second debate, Obama WILL win in November, and he and I needn't polls to see that. This country is tired of Republican policies and governing. This country wants change.

    Obama/Biden '08; prosperity is ahead of us, people!

    October 15, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  5. Nola

    TO the blogger who made a statement regarding AIP – IT WAS A lie created by a right wing organization. Per AP (American Press) . They should take the time to read the other news besides FOX or something on the internet. PLEASE People learn the art of researching a topic before you discuss it.

    October 15, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. John

    Sandra for Obama/Binladen wants me to read fact check. I did and I discovered that it's almost as biased as you are Sandra. I like to read what everyone has to say, I'm not limited to getting all my news through a biased liberal filter. If there is nothing wrong with using people like Ayers, who is an unrepentant Bomber, to rise to the top of the American political scene, then Obama, if elected, will be a dangerous role model for future politicians. If the path to the US presidency is best achieved by being pals with people like Ayers and Rezko this is not a good thing.

    October 15, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. John Frungillo

    I cannot logically find any reason Obama has the qualifications nor the experience nor the "dedication" to the United States of America to be considered as a candidate to become President of the United States of America. I feel Obama has an agenda. Who is behind his agenda? And I'm not sure Americans recognize that this man came from nowhere and I also wonder who is really behind his insurgence to be our Commander In Chief. I also wonder who ultimately owns CNN, ABC and other Main Stream Media. They seem to have Obama already in the Whitehouse. Why?

    October 15, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. Anthony Adetayo Jnr

    "Jesus christ was a community organizer, pontius pilate was a governor" .

    October 15, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  9. Callie

    Obama is a socialist. Obama wants to take Joe the plummer to the cleaners.

    October 15, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |

    Go Barack!!!! I really don't feel like listening to Mccain lie tonight.

    October 15, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  11. Hillary then McCain

    I agreed, not just Obama set McCain up his supporters are too. McCain should not attack Obama like they urged him to.

    October 15, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  12. Sly Boots

    To everyone screaming 'Socialist':

    Ahem. Your government, this week, used taxpayer money to purchase stock in private companies. In other words, they NATIONALIZED them. Guess what that is? That's SOCIALISM! Don't believe me? Look up nationalization on wikipedia. Right there, on the left sidebar, in big red letters, is the tag Socialism. How do you reconcile that? You scream socialist like it was a dirty word at one man, and let it happen every day with people you voted for. Congratulations. You are turning your country into the very thing you claim to hate.

    For the more educated of you, that's called cognitive dissonance. Look that one up too.

    October 15, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. John

    Democrats have been in control the past two years and the evidence shows that they are guilty for this financial mess - they are too stubborn to admit this is all their fault - Dodd, Pelosi, Frank, Reid and Obama continue to arrogantly act like they are totally innocent. I know Fanny and Freddie gave Obama over $100k. Why don't the guilty admit it? Since they will not, why should I trust them with another 2 years? No way. The Democratic contol has not worked. We need a change. That's why I will vote McCain-Palin.

    October 15, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  14. Gina

    McCain must be hard of hearing or really dense when he incorrectly comments on Obama's tax plan over and over again. He appears very edgy and ready to show us how unbalanced he truely is tonight!

    October 15, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  15. MAG-ATL

    He is stilll using that same ald "POW" mess. WHe has the scars to prove what? Agreeing with his party on the Vietnam War/POW?

    October 15, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  16. Steve - Chicago

    Unfortunately our country is headed to socialism with Obama as President. It's a reality based on his positions on things. Does anyone else see the issue here?

    He wants to tax "everyone" – don't think 95% of Americans are getting a cut. Hell – he has raised the ceiling on campaign ceiling by not sticking to federal funding limits. He could have asked his supporters to send all the money to the US treasury. 🙂

    Obama frankly scares the hell out of me.

    October 15, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  17. Sly Boots

    To John:

    Please point me at the evidence. Don't just say it. Show me.

    October 15, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  18. will

    hopefully obama will help you spell PLUMBER

    October 15, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  19. Cynthia

    Barack really needs to get his game on!!

    October 15, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  20. samantha for Obama

    Obama is doing great tonight! He was trying to address McCain and talk to him while McCain just sat there and kept doodling on his yellow pad...that is so tacky and rude. I guess he has to keep his head down because he knows hes in the wrong!
    Go Obama/Biden 08

    October 15, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  21. Joyce

    Nobody has to set John McCain up for an argument....he's willing to argue about anything. America, do we want an angry man in the Oval Office. Watching the debate and he is argumentive...and whiney...about everything.

    I almost feel sorry for McCain....he's so pathetic!!!!

    October 15, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  22. Barack

    If the plumber was working a few years ago (when he was not making as much
    money as he is now), and if he were paying taxes on Obama's plan,
    the guy would have saved the $250,000 + that he needs for his new
    business, and he would not be complaining about not having enough money
    due to paying higher taxes.

    October 15, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  23. mrspkj29

    McCain is not being truthful about having repudiated everything negative that has been yelled about Barack Obama at his rallies. He only started to make a weak stand in the last few days. He and Sara
    Palin are a matched pair and tend to rewrite things to their own benefit despite the actual facts disputing their stance.

    October 15, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  24. John

    Obama has never had any executive experience in an elected political position where we can see the documents that show the evidence of his leadership style. Whatever he did with the unrepentant terrorist Ayers on that board is being covered up by Obama. Why? Is he ashamed? Why doesn’t the media demand those records? This man may be elected as our next president, and yet we are witnessing an all out cover up. Obama is more like a Nixon than a Kennedy. Obama's lack of executive experience makes him less qualified than Palin for the job. She has shown great poise in spite of all the pathetic personal and partisan attacks on her and all women. This will be the second time I vote for a woman on the national ticket as I voted for Mondale-Ferraro in 84. Obama has become too negative in his attacks against McCain-Palin.

    October 15, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  25. JR Nance

    Speaking as a Veteran, one who protested Vietnam right up to when I turned 18 and enlisted, as a Civil RIghts Activist since the late '60's, I hope that McCain tries to inject the WIlliam Aryes into tonights debate.... and that Senator Obama looks McCain stright in the face and says " Yes, I know him, and I'm glad I do"

    I can't condone his actions, but he does stand as a symbol for change.

    For a time, the Weather Underground were folks heroes to some of us.

    By the way, does being a terrible pilot really qualify McCains bid for the Presidency ??

    Does being labled reckless "push the envelope" flier ? ( He tended to crash most of the planes he flew )

    Does being censured by his own peer group for "poor judgement" make him more likely to make responisbile decisions ?

    McCain pretty much rode his families Navy rep to his rank, then screwed the pooch after he got it.

    So, this Veteran will take HIS scars and support Obama.

    October 15, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
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