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. Paula

    Looking forward to Palin losing it all-she is a liar and cheat! She didn't even know the Russians were in her state today-guess she needs to be home looking out her kitchen window.

    October 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Matt: honestly

    Wow, that is a great analogy! I always enjoy Martin's articles more than any others.

    October 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Mike

    Obama hasn't lost his cool during his entire campaign. He's a model of restraint and competence. I know that if McCain goes there, Obama will pummel him, but it will be with such grace and competence that Obama will remain above reproach, and McCain will be humiliated. I don't think there's any way for McCain to pull out a win in this debate. If he remains cowed by Obama he will look weak; if he is more aggressive he will look erratic.

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

    mccain doesn't stand a chance with Obama tonight++ Obama is too swift for McCAin. All McCAin does is make threats and makes a fool out of himself. Wish the old goat would just retire and live in one of his 12 homes. Have no respect for him anymore. He and Palen are becoming quite annoying-Palen sounds like Edith Bunker with that voice of hers.

    October 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Obama Supporter

    Barack is the best hope of the candidates. I'm willing to take a chance on his little experience over McSnake and Failin. He has the ability to inspire, and his leadership throughout the campaign more than proves his ability to bring intelligent, experienced people around him, and then actually listen to and act upon their good advice.

    That One 08!!

    October 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. wilfrid


    October 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. proud army and navy mom

    mccain/palin = unstable and unable

    October 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. No Palin No Way

    They're gonna start hitting each other? Maybe that will increase the debate ratings.

    October 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Pro

    Please vote early so that you know your vote really counts on November forth!

    And so that you do not have to use those terrible electronic voting machines!

    October 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Dana

    MY FRIENDS....... tonight's debate will be conducted in the round table format. Wonder if McCain will look at Obama in the eye tonight.

    October 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. mike in central va

    thats exactly what its going to be to. roping a DOPE!

    October 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. pat Tx

    I was thinking that line too,when i heard BO daring McCain, i no he might be up to something, well i hope the Arizona senators knows better and dont make a fool out of himself tonight. The dow is at low and what America cares about is how there life can be imparted positively not what someone did some decades ago.

    October 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Sting like a Bee


    October 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Mike


    GO OBAMA!!!!!

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

    There is no reason to worry now. Just keep doing what you are doing (Barack/Obama) with the jab and if you see an opening from McCain just knock him out.

    McCain = no change

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Dude!

    mccain will only bring it up casually if he does at all and only to try to put obama on the defensive. this race for the presidency is repeating history with clinton/bush & clinton/dole. voting in the eloquent pretty boy (who eventually gets impeached). no doubt this will happen again. something bad will come up for obama but not until after he's elected. I've known ever since he started speaking before he threw his hat in the ring that he'd get elected. This is a gimme. The next four years are going to be interesting.

    October 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Tim - TN

    I thought it was supposed to be the McCain/Palin supporters that were spouting all the hatred/racism comments. I guess there are people on the 'fringe' from both sides.

    October 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Florida for ObamaBiden 08

    Great analogy Roland! I was getting goosebumps thinking about the possibilities!

    Democrats don't need to get comfortable - get out and VOTE and VOTE early so you can work to get others out on Nov. 4th!!

    October 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. LLM from MD

    The republicans are like MOOSE caught in car lights!! They don't know how to over-take OBAMA!! HE'S JUST TOO DOG-ON SMART (in the words of PALIN–u betcha!!)

    They thought it would be easy but he's not easily TEMPTED!!!


    October 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. zydeco D

    Mac toast...Not even looking at BO when he shakes hands.

    October 15, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Tony





    October 15, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Tweet

    McPain (yes I spelled it the way I like) really keeps shooting himself in the foot, doesn't he? Too dim-witted to see that this is EXACTLY the kind of stuff Americans are gagging over. They have had it with the personal mud slinging...that goes WAY beyond acceptable behavior, even in the political field. So, if he wants to go for it, I say let him just go ahead and shoot himself in the foot again. (you'd think he'd get tired of all those holes getting plugged up)! SENATOR OBAMA, WE ARE ALL WITH YOU!!!

    October 15, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. liz, from MO

    The most admirable thing about Obama is is how he keeps his cool and focused on what he needs to do at the same time even when things are rough on him. I believe he may want the Ayers issue to come up so he can face millions of Americans and tell them the truth of the alleged relationship. Let McCain bring up the issue to his detriment. It will give Obama the opportune time to clear any doubts about Ayers once and for all and of course he stands to gain from it and the opposite will be true for McCain.

    October 15, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. Bill

    Come on, get with the times. It's mixed martial arts now. I want to see McCain tap out after Obama puts a submission hold on him. I'd like to see him do it to Palin, too, but that sorta becomes a disturbingly conflicted fantasy.

    October 15, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Trey in Dallas

    why dont we try to get the best of both of these guys. You prefer to see to LIARS argue about promises that they will never keep, watch some hockey and have a hot dog. most of you will not vote anyway! I hope McCain speaks his mind and lets the truth out about himself and Obama

    October 15, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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