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. Nadi

    As an Australian watching from the sidelines, I do not understand why the Republicans are not speaking about what really matters to America and the world.

    Bill Ayres or the next "Depression"...what's more important?

    I hope the USA gets it right...Barack for President!

    October 15, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. Kraig

    What McCain is not willing to make clear about health insurance is this: $5800 IS the average cost of health insurance in the US...for a single adult. For a family, it's $12,000. If you're a single your 'refundable tax credit' would be $2500. However, you will pay tax not only on every dollar you pay for health insurance since McCain wants to take health care purchasing away from employers...no more pre-tax deductions and higher cost for your insurance. Then, he will tax the benefits you get from that health plan. I have one thing to say: "OUCH!" I won't stand for a policy like that. O wants to simply lower our cost...period. How much simpler can you get?

    October 15, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  3. anna

    Mccain was "left behind" tonight !!

    October 15, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  4. Mark from Baton Rouge

    Take a look at the comments from "Peter" So much for the open "free thinking" democrats. If you object, call us racists, point out the hypocrisy, call us names, talk about the issues and tax us more,...so much for diversity!

    October 15, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  5. JANIE

    JOHN MCCAIN: LOOKED SHOCK W/ OBAMA HEALTH INSURANCE NO FINES, NO FINES JOHN MCCAIN. JOHN MCCAIN, INTERRUPTING, SNARLING, FIGITIVE, GRUMPY, POSTURING, INTERRUPTING MODERATOR, HOT TEMPERED, FUMBLING AROUND, THIS IS NOT A MAN THAT LOOKS PRESIDENTIAL OR ACTS FOR THAT MATTER OF FACT.

    MEN OF AMERICA: ASK YOURSELVES THIS QUESTION: DO I MAKE $250K a year, NOT MANY, AND PROBABLY NOT ANY LURKING AROUND IN HERE. SO EVEN SO IF YOU DO< WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH PAYING MORE TAXES ON $250K( THAT IS 20,000+ A YEAR) AND YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH PAYING TAXES. NO THAT IS GREED!!!!!!!! FOR THE ONES OF YOU THAT AREN'T MAKING THAT THEN YOU SHOULD BE STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE TO KICK THE REPUBLICANS out of the WHITE HOUSE AND NOT LETTING MORE GET IN OTHERWISE, YOU CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE AND LET POLLY SUE STAY HOME AND EAT HOTDOGS AT NIGHT AND TERRY WEAR THOSE SAME JEANS AND NOT BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN EXTRACURRICULUM ACTIVITIES BECAUSE YOU CANT AFFORD IT, AND, YOU ARE APPEALING TO SARAH PALIN AND JOHN MCCAIN AND YOU AREN'T MAKING ENOUGH TO MAKE YOUR ENDS MEET!!!! I HOPE YOU THINK ABOUT AND ASK YOURSELF THAT VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION. THINK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE/FAMILY, BECAUSE MCCAIN/PALIN IS NOT YOUR JOE BLOW 6 PACK SYMPATHIZERS AS YOU THINK THEY ARE.

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  6. S Burset

    Mr. McCain, please stop talking about Obama, and start talking about what you are going to do.

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  7. Alan D. Ackerman

    I heard McCain talk of idiology – what kind of ideaology is that?

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. peter mallard

    Please... for the American People.... OBAMA IS OUR PRESIDENT!!! GOV. PALIN..... IS A JOKE!!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  9. Vinny

    McCain FINALLY looked at Obama today.

    October 15, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  10. Leandre Fields

    Obama could have agreed to 100 town hall debates and he still would have ran circles around McCain and his radical views. McCain, you may probably never heard of "No child left behind" until now. lol

    October 15, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  11. Danbama

    If McCain would approve stem cell research, he may be able to fix his fat swollen cancer ridden face.

    October 15, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  12. elaine

    why does mccain keep suggesting that obama doesn't understand?? he is so doggone condescending....and nasty. this is what people are sick of!!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  13. sabrina

    If mccain is such hot stuff, maybe he can help me get some money to pay my education loans, buy some food, pay for my lights and buy some gas. But he is 72 years old and out of touch and rich!

    October 15, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  14. Lisa B

    McCain is indeed quite out of touch with the world. I believe he might be senile...

    I'm in high school, and although I miss the election by a few months, if could vote I would be there in an instant for Obama.

    October 15, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  15. Cynthia

    Succesfully improving education in our nation involves more than acting as if you are Investing money in school districts and testing the children. It means making certain that children are encouraged to embrace new ideas in a welcoming space with dedicated teachers who love their work. There are satelite schools in this country with succesful students who will become tomorrows leaders. Why not use them as an example?

    October 15, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  16. Jeni, Evansville, IN

    Can John McCain answer a question directly? He looks like he's going to explode!
    Sarah Palin is not an expert on special needs kids. She has one. That doesn't make her an expert!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  17. elaine

    if sarah palin is so concerned about families with special needs, why did she cut funding in her own home state???/

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  18. Mel

    it's obvious McCain knows nothing about our nation's educational problems. Does he ever even talk to those kids he keeps bringing up? he's such an idiot.

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  19. Iya

    to john, it amazing that you typed all that propaganda about obama , seems like you grasping for straws & scampering around without facts/statistics like your "POW".

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  20. deograine

    Will someone please tell Mcdummy there's a difference between Down's syndrome and autism–because he's apparently as clueless about that as everything else the comes out of his mouth.

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  21. Ann

    Obama is winning. No question about it. This debate was so clear – McCain repeating his pointless efforts in policies that make no sense and constantly attacking Obama, while Obama stayed firm, calm, collected and focused on his plans on the issues we most care about. You could just see it in McCain's eyes and facial expressions – he was beyond frustrated, impatient, desperate, but most importantly, incompetent and senile. Rolling his eyes at what Obama says – I wonder if he ever watches himself when he's mockingly smiling at Obama.

    By the way, did you hear his inept answer as to how Palin would be better for running the country if anything happened to him??

    Also, pulling the Palin-special needs-autism card isn't helping his credibility.

    He just snorted after laughing at Obama's statement.

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  22. Next generation---OBAMA

    McCain is not paying attention to OBAMA during this debate. OBAMA just explained the fine for Joe Plumber/small business–ZERO!!

    Even though McCain was SHOCKED to hear that the fine for Joe the Plumber will be ZERO...nil., he continues to tell the American people that Joe Plumber will be fined.
    How can you disregard the facts and lie on National TV? Sen. McCain... if you can disregard the facts right on National TV...live TV, what more the facts on the books?

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Nikki-
    So does that mean that the President would need to be a teacher (to help education), a doctor (to facilitate healthcare), a geologist (to deal w/environmental issues), a member of the clergy (to have morals....), I could keep going...
    There have been several Presidents w/no military experience. Honestly, a former military man like Sen. McCain seems to neglect and disregard the military ("we'll fight for another 100 years," for example). That is running the military, into the ground. McCain is literally beating the air with very little contact.

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  24. obamamania

    Mcpain...out of touch with mainstream..

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  25. Lisa B

    What's with McCain's weird laugh?

    Anyway, Palin's kid has Down's Syndrome, not autism...

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
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