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. golfergirl

    John McCain is a very angry man... it shows in his demeanor... he has contempt for Barack Obama which is obvious. I have had enough of him as a woman.....

    Ugh!

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  2. McCain Supporter

    Everyone wants to vote for Obama because they think the economy is so bad because of George Bush, but they don't realize we are just starting to feel the affects of the wonderful Bill Clinton and the Democrats. People don't realize we feel the aftershock for many years after that President is gone.

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  3. marcus

    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 |
  4. don1

    my name joe and i am a plumber and please letme make $250,000.00
    a year like the other joe the plumber.

    October 15, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  5. Minnie

    McCain is very uptight! He is very condescending and rude to Obama. HE IS NOT MY FRIEND! My FRIENDS know my name.

    October 15, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  6. Blake

    Oh Mickey: Since when does a name make you a terrorist? Does that mean that anyone named William Robert (Billy Bob) is a card carrying member of the the KKK?

    Also, as a former military man, you either salute (if you are military in uniform) or stand at attention during the National Athem. You put your hand over your heart during the Pledge of Allegience.

    Read the constitution. There are two requirements. One he has to be a certain age, I believe 35. Second, must be born in the USA. All this other stuff about how long he served in congress, past jobs, past military experience, etc is not a requirement. Now if you want to consider it in your decision; that's fine. However, that does not make it right and everyone else wrong.

    October 15, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  7. Kraig

    Smug Mac is back! Gotta love how he tries to correct O, rather than listen, then smile like, 'look how good I am'. Then, wow!, what about his last jab...so condescending, smug and arrogant. I AM JOHN MCCAIN...I KNOW IT ALL!!

    Oh, now he's almost crying because he knows it's about all over and this is his last ditch.

    Gotta respect his military record, but not his present tactics or positions.

    October 15, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  8. ALLDAY

    MCCAIN IS A FAST BLINKING LIAR. HE HAS NO CONTROL OF WHAT IS GOING ON WITH HIS DEBATES OR HIS CAMPAIGN. OBAMA WILL BE THE WINNER AND THE SMARTEST CHOICE.

    OBAMA!!

    October 15, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. Mimi in Ohio

    No game changer tonight! It's on to the White House for Barack. I'm going shopping tomorrow to get my dress for the party that will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio for President Barack Obama!

    Roland feel free to join us!

    October 15, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. Vinny

    Hang it up JOHN...This race SHOULD JUST FADE TO BLACK. In Other words it's over. Y'all thought I was making refernce to race as in fade to black Fade to Obama.

    LATINOS FOR OBAMA......

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  11. mrspkj29

    if anyone is an elitist, it is McCain. He is all for a privileged few doing well and everyone else can just muddle along and do without. His mindset goes along the lines of "my four and no more".

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  12. RB

    McCain is talking about Sarah Palin and autism...Her kid has DOWN SYNDROME!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  13. elaine

    "bam-bam" my term of affection for him, is going to make us all proud....we still live in the greatest country and together, together, we can turn this ship around.....i'm out family, peace to everyone...

    but maggie from 10:03 pm - please get off the drugs and get some help....maybe you should move to alaska...

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  14. Mel

    This is the best, of the three debates. Will it clinch it for McCain? I don't think so. I've decided to go with Obama. He is much clear headed, more detailed, and more presidential in stature. I'm really glad to hear details from both sides though. I find Mccain combatative with strange looks – almost immaturish – to me. It really turned me off , the facial expressions from McCain. I know that shouldn't matter, but I felt put off anyway. I prefer calm, cool, and intellectual. Obama rose above McCain on the same old attacks that have been going on and McCain lost points on bringing up them up here.

    Overall, good debates, but Obama, to me gave me what I needed to vote for him.

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  15. Independent for USA only

    I personally respect both Senators McCain and Obama very much. Since the economic crisis turns to be the eight-year Bush administration's major outcome, McCain's campaign fell into the dilemma that on one hand, they accused Obama to be a socialist but on the other hand, Republicans drew obvious conflict between the wonderful idea of federal-spending cut and the immediate action to offer huge bank-rescuing package charged to tax payers. McCain's negative tactic, perhaps not deemed successful but understandable and inevitable, would be used due to rather confined theme at the very end.

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  16. DollBaby

    McCain is a mess! What is with his teeth? and what is he writing on that paper. McPalin will set this country back. We need to move forward. and Maggie – you are a MONKEY... that was the typical right-wing racism that has kept this country confused. McCain is a liar. All of you McCain supporters are lulled inot this false sense of security because he is a Veteran – WELL SO AM I... maybe I should be president!

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  17. Quiana Bost

    McCain not only whinned over ads and avoided questions being asked but worst of all he never said anything different. He told Obama to not to compare him to BUSH but every policy he stated was from BUSH. Is he really that old and LOST

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  18. Rafael

    McCain did better tonight than the previous debates, but it doesnt make him a winner. I feel like Obama had a better debate and connected more with the average American citizen. Good Luck to both, we still have 3 weeks.

    October 15, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  19. Julie Canada

    I can't believe that Mcain just mentioned Canada's health care. At least in cananda no one would loose have to be bankrupt to pay medical bills. We have fine hospitals and walkin clinics everywhere. Shame on the US for not having a good health care plan. I invite Mcain to take a look at canada's health care system. Obama's plan is will work. Mcain plain is only good for the Vet. $5000 sounds more like vet bills for my American bulldog.

    October 15, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  20. Leandre Fields

    Once again.. Obama holds the winning belt. McCain please retire.

    October 15, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  21. MissouriMom

    McCain is the most angry and spiteful man I have ever seen. He doesn't answer questions directly, he is constantly talking down to Obama, he isn't debating the issues. Personally I could give a crap less about who did what to whom. I want to know what you are going to do to fix this economic crisis, where I have lost $2k from my 401k in a week. I want to know what you are goign to do to bring our troops home. I want to know what you are going to do about making helathcare affordable. Debate the issues not the fact that your campaign is losing because your an idiot!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  22. Judy

    McCain is so angry. His body language is exactly what he is like. You can't hide your seIf for very long your true self will always come through. I can even imagine four years of him. What a joke! Sarah Palin you have got to be kidding!

    October 15, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  23. snax

    To the McCain supporter blaming Bill Clinton for the present state of the economy...couldn't Reagan's deregulation be to blame?

    October 15, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  24. Lisa B

    To McCain Supporter:

    No, I'm pretty sure it's Bush's fault.

    October 15, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  25. ANN

    OBAMA WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT!!! MCCAIN SO BUSY TRYING TO ATTACK HIM WITH NEGATIVE STUFF THAT DOESN'T MATTER, THAT HE DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND WHY HE IS LOSING.
    OBAMA HAS BETTER POLICY FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. MCCAIN JUST WANT THE RICH TO STAY RICH.....

    GOOD ALWAYS OVER POWER EVIL!

    EVERYBODY VOTE EARLY FOR OBAMA! HE WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT!

    October 15, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
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