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. Angela Jackson

    I think Obama has truly showed poise and dignity when asked a question. McCain lacks composure and respect. He certainly seems wreckless when he chose Palin as his running mate!!!! He is very bitter and would certainly make me nervous a president of the United States. We need someone who can inspire America, who is intelligent, makes good decisions, and who would certainly look out for middle income family. That is why my vote is for Obama. Obama 08!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  2. joe in Orlando

    Dear Red States,

    Yes, we do think you are all ignorant rednecks.


    Blue States

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  3. Glenn Carlton

    Denunciation of Obama and the implied racial implications would suggest that the McCain camp trying to Distract voters from the real issues like the economy and healthcare. The derogatory statements made by Palin are inflammatory. If you read between the lines Palin is promoting racism. To demean and demoralize a presidential candidate to this degree is not acceptable.

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. Elisabeth

    I love how McCain supporters are citing Barack's lack of experience as a reason to back McCain.

    I'm sorry, but you've got a woman on your ticket who can't even name a written source she uses to stay on top of the issues. She can barely form a coherent sentence without some serious coaching and practice. Isn't your argument of Barack's inexperience a bit ridiculous when you look at her vacant stare?

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  5. Ron Prachel

    I would love to open a ticket for:::NONE OF THE ABOVE.
    These two characters are a joke... What happened to candidates who actually cared about the American People???MCCain looks like he just had wisdom tooth surgery and talks like that. Obama looks like a scared child answering a superior...(Who is not his superior). Can we, as people in America, have a decent candidate run for our MOST prestigious office, that does not look like an uniformed lost little girl being politically correct, after having oral surgery!!!

    October 15, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  6. RaganWalker

    Obama handled himself really well when the issue was mentioned-Got back to the issues!

    October 15, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  7. samantha for Obama

    Why is McCain so negative? Do we really want a President that is that angry and mentally unstable. It appears that McCain has no ideas about how to change anything, he is just negative and disgruntled!
    And what is with his odd faces he keeps making. It looks as if he is gearing up to show us all just how unstable he is! He blinks enough for all of us watching too...a clear example of lies, and uncertainty~

    October 15, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  8. KC in Utah

    Roland is right! Watch McShame in the debt – he is an idiot and acting like an fool, watch his body and facial movements. McSame thinks he is winning up guess again! Oh and to all the Mcdiots who support McSame – you will need a crying towel on November 4th.

    October 15, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  9. Gayle

    McCain is sp petty. If people do not see him for what he really is, then we will definitely be in a mell of hess if people vote for him for Presidents. He is so transparent about his pettiness is evident. He is ticked off because Barack Obama has raised more money by middle America supporting change. He is ticked because Middle America is about supporting someone that is for them and not for their own selfish motives. Stick to the issues and tell us what we need to hear. McCain is a spoiled rotten child in the playground that is not getting his way. I am appalled at the smugness of his air on the debate as he watches Barack's answer the questions, he is so very petty. I am one that will do all that I can to see change in this country. John McCain is very very petty.

    October 15, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  10. Obama Supporter

    Have listened to any of the things Obama has said? Obviously you are either hard of hearing or have selective listening so I won't be upset at you for not knowing what you're talking about.

    October 15, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  11. charlotte of Memphis


    October 15, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  12. Mickey

    Obama wouldn't even qualify to be his own body guard because of his ties to terrorist. With a midlle name of "Hussien" who do you idiots think your voting for ??? The man won't even cover his heart during our countries song. You liberals will never change. Obama had only been in the senate for 143 days when he started to THINK about the presidency. 143 days of leadership is what you voting for and a professinal BS con man. Not saying McCain is much better but at least he has SUM experiance. Have a great evening and I love this country. May we all stand behid our next president whoever it may be

    October 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  13. rtripler

    So Nikki......you therefore didn't vote for George Bush by any chance, who dodged military service..............where is Sarah Palin's military experience, since there is a good likelihood that McCain won't live out his term ! Get real!

    October 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  14. Samantha in MI

    McCain is pathetic!!! Obama will come out on top! Obama/Biden 08/12

    October 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Andy in Georgia

    It is about time, we tell John Mccain we are all so sorry for him and his scars, but the negative campaigning is beginning to scar all of us.
    Barack Obama will NOT raise taxes on 95% of us... we all get it......why can't John Mccain. He said Barack was ready ro measure the drapes, but after tonites debate I think "joe the plumber" is going to be asked to change out the bathroom fixtures.

    October 15, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  16. Azza

    Actually, the reason the president is the Commander-in-Chief is so that there is CIVILIAN control of the military. Read a history book.

    October 15, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. ga

    WOW I am like a little Joe the plummer and not feeling like giving all of my money to OBAMA. WHAT A HORRIBLE Plan to take away money from small business....
    McCain got my vote on this debate! TO all the JOE's out there we need to stand up against OBAMA and vote McCain!!!!

    From now on it is NOBAMA for me!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  18. JR Nance

    Palin ??? How scarey....

    When the conversation turns to Radical Religions,forget Islam, Palins Pentecostal upbringing will ALWAYS affect her decisions.

    She aligns herself with seccesionists in Alaska, abuses her power as a Governor, apparently knows nothing about birth control, hands her youngest off to her daughter, NOT her husband, and states she wants to deny any woman the right to control her own body.

    Funny, I've never heard her speak up for womens rights in her short, limited political avocation.

    Yet some folks believe she is qualified to be VP ?

    Hilarious !!!

    October 15, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  19. Rafael

    McCain really likes to talk to Joe the Plumber, what about the American people?

    October 15, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  20. Kraig

    It is very clear that McCain's approach to everything is reactive. Wait til you have a problem and then react in extreme fashion. Obama is proactive; he thinks ahead and understands how to speak up ahead of time, and respond when the need arises, but in a very calm, calculated way. McCain follows his panic, fear and anger.

    This is the temperament issue that makes McCain unqualified.

    The other is that McCain, even though he's been adequately repudiated, he still misrepresents and maintains his failed point. This is the definition of a buffoon.

    McClumsy and McFailin' are the riskiest choice...if you want to be afraid of something, that's the problem. But, let's not worry about that; let's vote for the truly apt and qualified, O & Joe, and get this country back on track!

    Roland, I really appreciate hearing your viewpoints. It's great to see somebody truly speak their mind...and make sense at the same time. Jesus bless you, man!

    October 15, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  21. joe the plumber

    McCain has never had to look for private health insurance, neither did his dad or grandfather. What does he know about joe the plumber's situation!

    October 15, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  22. dalee

    Sorry, McCain, Palin will never be a role model for me or my daughters. Wink wink. btw, how does anyone take someone seriously when they are smiling and giving the American public a wink and a smile.

    October 15, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  23. Daniel Anya

    Roland ! Please can you do me the dance you did at the democratic convention? I will dance along at home here in Japan!I will be waiting.

    October 15, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  24. Maggie

    If Obama wins, we will have a lying monkey for president.

    October 15, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  25. Annie M

    Tonight Mccain is not getting it. I don't understand why he keeps going back and forth.

    October 15, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
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