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. Jose

    Your a Joke

    October 15, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  2. Lawanda

    The argument that eight years of Bush can be blamed on Bill Clinton is laughable at best. If you would have said the first four years I would probably agree. It is utterly moronic that you could draw a line with this comparsion. I am telling you that this whole financial mess lies with the Deregulation of Wall Street. Republicans let this happen and they alone can be blamed for this Mess. The Democrats may have taken over the Congress the past two years, but the damage was done at this was in the works the day gas prices went up and caused everyday people to have to come out with more money than they should have. There was no Bill Clinton in that mess.

    October 15, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  3. no johnny no

    what was that growing on the old man's left cheek?

    October 15, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  4. jane grey

    mccain looks like he's on drugs, he rambled, couldn't really stick to what was being discussed. sullen, sarcastic ...

    October 15, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  5. Bella from Florida

    I am voting for Mccain a man I can trust.Obama is just talk.

    October 15, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  6. Duncan

    When you continue to be willfully ignorant you don't pay attention to the facts, so you resort to "straight talks" because this is the only way you get the upper hand and refer their opponent as "that one" (this tries to dehumanize the person which will be the undoing of McCain). Both Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin need to realize when they talk about experience, Sen. Joe Biden has more time in the Congress and politics than McCain and Palin combined. McCain is digging a whole. Also, Obama has more experience in community organizing than Palin not just politics. Not to mention the McCain : Obama ratio of missed votes is nearly 3 : 2, but a lot of these were during the campaign trail, so this is hard to quantify whose really missed more. People vote on issues and don't vote on politicians that point out the obvious and telling us that we are "angry" at the government, it's condescending. When a good rookie Quarterback (Obama) plays against a veteran Defense (McCain), when you slow your game down and read attacking blitzes right a rookie can win. Just look at Chicago bears loss to Atlanta Falcons.

    October 15, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  7. Bella from Florida

    I am voting for Mccain the man who can be trusted.

    October 15, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  8. Lisa B

    I agree with Lawanda. The Democrats may have gained control recently, but it's the policies the Republicans put into effect before then that are causing the problems today. In other words, it's McCain Supporter's own argument: We're feeling the effects of the previous administration.

    October 15, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  9. Nessa

    "Go Senator Obama" I see GA. turning BLUE!

    October 15, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  10. G.S. Brown

    Once again typical Roland.....Jargon filled with racial overtones and weak comparisons.....It's 2008 Roland....break out of your Jesse Jackson shell

    October 15, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. josh

    I definitely thought McCain was going to have a heart attack tonight.

    October 15, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. bigcitygirl

    I'm asking the CNN Political Panel to interpret McCain's comments. He was backpaddling on issue and very unclear. Is there really a "Joe the plumber"? McCain and Palin has used the "Joe" name during their debate.

    McCain was agressive and rude. He interrupted Obama while he was talking. IF...IF McCain become President of the U.S.. how will he effectively communicate with world leaders??

    October 15, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  13. Leandre Fields

    You are absolutely correct Lisa. McCain is changing the verbiage, but it's going to bring on the same failed politics that we have all been subjected to for the last 8 years.

    October 15, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  14. Raymond

    What….are you out of your tree, McGeezer
    We think that you have been eating Aunt Sarh's Mooseburgers to much.
    Now, go to your retirement home and let Cindy paint the town.

    October 15, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  15. merrell

    Barack is so much more intelligent than McCain and Biden a billion times more intelligent than Palin. Palin voted against special needs, maybe it was before she had a special needs kid.

    October 15, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  16. Susie oklahoma

    Ha ha, Obama did it again!! President Obama in the White House coming Nov. 4th!

    October 15, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  17. Independent for USA only

    It does not really matter how and why President Clinton dealt with deregulation. President Bush has been President for eight years and Democrats could not completely control the Congress until just two years ago. President Reagan did not whine about the cause of Cold War but he just ended it during his term. That's the leadership we definitely need for USA. If President Clinton could prophesy and remove all the economic obstacles for later eight-year Bush administration, why should people have elected a Republican into White House?

    October 15, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  18. Kraig

    O & Joe!!

    October 15, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  19. Marcia

    Obama did great tonight
    . He will be a great president.

    October 15, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  20. Obamanos!

    Obama is the future and will take this country in the right direction. McCain in an angry old man stuck in the past. Palin is no role model for me or my daughters!

    October 15, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  21. David Shawn

    Hey Texas Teacher, Cindy McCain?????

    That is exactly the kind of discussion I would expect from a support of the Lord Empty Suit.



    McCain = Bush

    95% of American will have lower taxes

    Give me a break.

    October 15, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  22. ANN




    October 15, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  23. Julie Canada

    Great performance from Barack tonight. He put the Ayres to rest. He completely addressed the abortion issue. However, I am concerned about the poles. I believe that when Americans go behind the curtain there are just some people who will decide that they will not want a black man to be president of the United States. That would be sad because I think that Barack is what America and the world needs. I hope one day America will come to terms with its race issues. Tribalism is killing America. I don't know how they want to police the world and have the nerves to talk about tribal wars in Africa while they have they own brand of tribalism. white tribes Vs. black tribes.

    October 15, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  24. Forrest

    This will be known as the Angry debate. It was Mad McCain vs. the Obama express. And in the end, it was McCain who lost steam.

    October 15, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  25. marie in florida

    I believe McCain came out strong but as the debate went on his true colors started showing. Obama missed some opportunities to attack McCain. I believe that we have the opportunity on Nov 4 to put Barack and Joe in the White House. No way, no how, no McCain/Palin ie dumb and dumber; angry and angrier

    October 15, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
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