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. Greg in Mpls

    To Ryan Cincinnati: that's funny, because I think he's all those things as well AND he's also the candidate I'd rather have a beer with.

    So I guess we get a good president and a real person at the same time.

    October 15, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Marie

    I absolutely agree. McCain/Palin's attempt to discredit Obama with the Ayers relationship will fall short as Obama repeatedly says he has nothing to hide. The attacks fortunately show the Reps. for who they really are. I find it truly amazing how people turn against Obama when something slight comes up and all of a sudden people have amnesia regarding the skeletons in the Reps closet. I think if McCain dares to bring up Obama's alleged relationship with the "Weatherman" not only will he be using bad judgment "AGAIN" but as you said Barack will come out swinging.

    October 15, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Vincent, Great Lakes, Illinois

    There seems to be a lot of persons out there that think they know about the political machine in Chicago. They don't.

    And because they don't, Obama will put McCain in his place as his handlers haven't done their homework on Bill Ayers too well. therefore, all Obama needs to do is strike with the truth. You see, this was brought up by Hillary at the beginning of this year and it didn't go anywhere because It is a non story. That is why they didn't pursue it.

    Obama will knock McCain over with a feather on this one. The spin is not going to beat out the truth this time.

    October 15, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Shari, NY

    Donald Trump is losing his mind along with his mane. He talks of impeaching Bush while extolling McCain/Palin in the same breath – another ploy to create a distance between Bush and McCain. Not gonna work!

    October 15, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. Rick S

    This is more of the Obama that we don't give him credit for. Yeah, he is this bright charismatic guy- but let's face it the guy is calculating- in a good way. That is how he goaded Bill Clinton when he said Reagan was a transformative president- not mentioning Bill, and we all know how that ended up. Touche Barack, Touche

    October 15, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Stu-Florida

    Ok Barack... take a moment to sit on your stool, get them to wipe the sweat, take a big swig of water, swirl it around and spit into McCains cup. Be aware, though, he's got you right where he wants you...
    Go a little easy on him... he's kinda old

    Go O and Joe

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. NC turning Blue

    Man...Id like to see Barack rip McCain tonight. I know he has it in him. Barack is the DEM voice...and I dont want him to be kind. I want him to knock it out.

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. alex hogan

    I must agree Roland...definately a rope a dope...he is pretending he doesn't want to talk about it so that McCain brings it up and Obama is then able to strike back with statements that remind voters he has worked on educational reform in a bi-partisan fashion from an executive role. What seems to be his weakness becomes his strength.

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Paul

    I think McCain would still beat his butt...bad arms and all...democrats are really the ones who are getting set up by Obama...now you see cool calm and collected. In January 09, you're going to see the real left wing nut job that he is...enjoy your 4 years...that's all he's gonna get.

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. Blue all the way.....

    Go Get Him Obama....You can do it. It is time to stop the lies and BS that is floating around by the Republicans. Who do they think they are? We have given them 8 years, no more...it is time for Change, a good one too.....

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Mack

    Throw in the towel !!!!
    Stay home 11/04 !!!!

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Filipina

    McNasty already dig his own hole by Failin talking crap


    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. banderson

    I just hope Senator Obama stays to the meat and potatoe issues. Forget about a rope-a-dope and forget about taunting. Finish him and let's win this election so that the American people can get their country back.

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. edmond

    that s right! this is what will exactly happen tonight...

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. chuck

    McCain, the end is near. Bringing up Ayers will be your demise. Between you, Palin, and your wife, you have turned off more Americans than you'll ever know with all your hate talk and racist inuendo. November 4th will bring real change. Not more of the same.

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Niel McDowell

    I sincerely hope you're right about this. I won't be totally comfortable until an Obama victory is confirmed in November.

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Janet

    Neither John McCain nor Jesse Jackson speaks for Barack Obama. They are both about sabotaging Obama's campaign. They both think they should be or should have been President.

    If you really care about what Obama wants to do, listen to Obama!!

    It is way past time for McCain, especially, to tell us HONESTLY what he would do, and about all of his many connections with Keating, Acorn, womanizing and the many, many other not so moral and nice episodes from his past, instead of trying to have us believe what he tells us he knows Obama will do or has done.

    Give it up John. You are not only NOT going to be President, you have ruined your standing and reputation in front of the whole world.

    October 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Joe E.

    I know too! And BOY am I looking forward to seeing the expression on Senator McCain's face! It should be one of those that gets flashed around the world for YEARS! But, I'll bet that he opts to be the coward that he's been all of his life, and that he won't bring it up. Either way, he loses!

    October 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Yorkali

    Roland, you could not be more right!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. ez

    Early voting is the way to go.

    Registered Republican "voted" Obama/Biden 08. I also "voted" Democrats on the entire ballot.

    October 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Pat H,Atlanta

    I hope McCain feels froggy tonight!

    October 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. Madeline

    Obama dared McCain to ask him about Ayers but I bet if McCain brings it up Obama will turn around and criticize MCain for it. I hope McCain doesn't take the bait. Rev. Wright was right about Obama.....he is a true politician. McCain really needs to remind people that we don't want a situation where we have a Democratic President with a Democratic controlled House. Obama, Pelosi, and Reid with no supervision....that is plain scary.

    October 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. Bruce

    Obama needs to stay focused on the issues that people want answers to. He does not need to get in the dirt with McCain. He only needs to smile and say we have aready addressed my Ayers connection do you want to explain your connection, after all I was intorduced to him by a mutual friend. Then Obama must drop the Ayers thing and look at the camera and say that he is there to answer the questions that most americans want answered and do a detailed lay down of his plan.

    October 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. Tom - Oregon

    McCain steps in his pot holes daily. Can't wait to see the mud on his face tonight. Oregon's ballots get mailed out next week. Can't wait to vote and return my vote for Obama. Once the election is over, Palin will go back to Alaska and who knows, maybe join the First Dude and try to secede from the lower 48. As for McCain, the Republican Party is already throwing him under the bus for conducting a terrible campaign.

    October 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. paul

    This will be one very interesting debate if McCain rises to the bait and brings up the Ayers issue. If he really debated the issue with himself beforehand he would realize it will only further damage his image, painting him as inacapable of being the type of person who reacts first and thinks later.

    McCain needs to follow his own advice (from earlier in the week) and tone down the rhetoric. He needs to engage the thought process before speaking.

    I'm looking foward to a very entertaining 90 minutes and yet another win for the man who remains calm, collected, and thoughtful in the face of adversity.

    October 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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