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. Ralph

    Nikki –

    1. It's "How in the world"

    2. It's "Commander in Chief".

    3. Presidents who were never in the military.

    John Adams
    Thomas Jefferson
    John Quincy Adams
    Martin Van Buren
    Grover Cleveland
    William Taft
    Woodrow Wilson
    Warren Harding
    Calvin Coolidge
    Herbert Hoover
    Franklin Roosevelt
    Bill Clinton

    Some of our best and brightest.

    October 15, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. My name is Joe but Im not a Plumber

    If Mr. Obama answers the questions asked, then why is McCain still asking them??? Seems to me that McCain is just on a desparate attack mode with no regard for the American people. YOU GOT SCHOOLED OBAMA STYLE!!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  3. pam

    MCCAIN IS A MESS!!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 15, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  4. Average Voter

    Nikki–

    Neither Lincoln nor FDR had military experience. They remain two of our most idealized presidents.

    October 15, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  5. Leandre Fields

    This is McCain's opportunity to show our country that he deserves to be President of the United States. Sad to sounds like a recording. He isn't telling us anything different, but is making points to hit Obama with sly comments. Obama seems to be standing firm on what he wants to do.

    October 15, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  6. Doreen

    I really would have like for Obama to just say, Palin is not V.P. or qualified. She has no , no skills.

    October 15, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. Mimi in Ohio

    $5000 for health care??!??! The only dr. that $5000 would cover is Dr. Doolittle! Having a baby costs over $12 grand, I guess John McCain will give me the other $7k.

    October 15, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. Pat McGoon

    McCain is a desperate canidate. Standing back throwing useless punches as Obama sticks the sure jabs with poise and confidence. Thats leadership pal.

    October 15, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  9. Andy

    Does McCain think we are stupid? Palin a reformer. She can't even interview without a script. His town hall meetings have be horrible. How expect us to trust him when he lies like a rug... Also he entertains racists and allows them to say remarks about a whole race of people. He is suppose to be a leader. Can't wait till he is voted out of the senate also. The race of people he is exploiting are Americans too.

    October 15, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. Carole

    Sen Obama is doing an awesome job. He has kept his cool, he has been forthcoming, he cannot predict what programs he may have to cut until he sees what is proposed in front of him.

    McCain is pushing Palin like she is the next best thing to white bread. Give me a break, she is a performer not a reformer. She needs to go back to Wasilla and raise her family.

    She's already got a pregnant teen at home – and a special needs child. They need her more than we do.

    October 15, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. Kraig

    WOW!! All of a sudden McSame is a Federalist!! HUH! He's never looked like a Federalist. If he was, he would've never asked for earmarks. Sheesh, John, make sense will ya?

    October 15, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  12. mrspkj29

    $5800 avg for healthcare??? What universe is McCain living in? I am a small business owner who pays the premiums for myself and my family and my ONE employee and her family and I pay $24,000 per year. And that does not include maternity insurance thank God.

    October 15, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  13. democratic

    Oh, Maggie.

    Your inbreeding is starting to show.

    October 15, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  14. Kraig

    Maggie, can you explain to all us here what you mean by 'monkey'?

    October 15, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  15. elaine

    look at maggie's comments from 10:03 - she represents the best supporters of mccain and palin....

    October 15, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  16. wily

    to Sandra......god blees you for this good comments

    October 15, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  17. Howard B. (FL)

    Senator McCain is losing the debate. Senator Obama is answering the questions with HIS plan...John McCain answers the question with another red meat attack....

    Is he not listening to the people? Would he ever listen to the people when times get tougher?

    When Senator McCain gets frustrated, he loses his cool, he gets nervous and stumbles on his words and composure. Will he also be just as nervous when across the table from Putin?

    October 15, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  18. Obama Fan

    What is McCain doing with that sharpie? Drafting his next negative ad?

    October 15, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  19. Kraig

    Man, can you believe this, Joe Plumber? It seems 90% of what does is accuse, accuse, accuse, and he doesn't even get his facts straight about O's votes. Holy Moley!

    October 15, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  20. elaine

    i wonder if mccain knows what he looks like when he makes those faces.....we are witnessing the demise of the mac - and good riddance....where is the john mccain i once respected....

    he has become pitiful....

    October 15, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  21. Independent for USA

    Senator McCain cannot detach himself with Bush administration because they are all republicans. That's the very reason why Republicans cannot avoid negative attacks to avert the tone.

    October 15, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. na

    Imagine this debate between VP candidates

    October 15, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  23. Cynthia

    All life is precious–including that of a mother who could die in childbirth.

    October 15, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  24. Sly Boots

    To Mickey:

    I'm sorry, buddy. But if you think someone's middle name makes them a terrorist and/or ineligible to be the president of the US, you're the idiot.

    October 15, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  25. P.

    O Lord...I surely don't want an ol man like Mccain telling me what to do with my body. And who the hell is he and the bimbo Sarah Palin to judge me and the decisions I make regarding abortion. Blah on them both!

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