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McCain compares Bachmann to Sen. Obama, compares President Obama to Muhammad Ali

July 14, 2011 |  5:41 pm

Mccain compares Bachmann to Sen. Obama, compares Pres. Obama to Muhammed Ali

John McCain thinks Republicans like Michele Bachmann and Eric Cantor are doing it wrong in these debt ceiling negotiations with Democrats and should instead be backing Mitch McConnell's creative plan.

In an interview with National Review, McCain compared President Barack Obama to boxing great Muhammad Ali, noting the heavyweight champ's sly strategy of allowing opponents to tire themselves out with relatively harmless body blows only to see an energized Ali rally in later rounds for the deciding knockout.

“It seems to some of us that the president, all along, was sort of playing rope-a-dope,” McCain said. “Not surprisingly, he has ratcheted up the level of tension by saying that he couldn’t guarantee people’s Social Security checks. So of course, the calls have been coming into my office; people are worried. They should be worried when the president of the United States makes a statement like that.”

McCain is concerned that in the House "there are Republicans who are committed, like Michele Bachmann, to vote against raising the debt limit under any circumstances," a stance reminiscent of “Sen. Obama,” he said.

But where Obama has matured, to many Democrats' displeasure, into an open-minded negotiator willing to put almost anything on the table, McCain fears that Republicans, and their supporters, may punish the GOP if they are unwilling to compromise away from their ideals.

"It’s frustrating,” McCain admitted. “I really hope our Republican base can understand that we have not lost our zeal or dedication to spending cuts, but we are aware of the consequences of not having a Plan B in case all else fails.”

McCain said that although McConnell's plan to get to the debt ceiling increase by way of presidential veto is complicated, it's the Plan B they should back.

President Clinton, the most adroit politician I’ve ever encountered, painted Republicans into a corner and the repercussions reverberated,” McCain said, warning that his party should learn from history.

At the top of the list of Republicans who could learn a few things from Ali and Clinton appears to be Cantor, who was called "childish" Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid claims that members on both side of the aisle are not impressed by the congressman's behavior in the negotiations, noting that he had walked out during a meeting attended by Vice President Joe Biden.

“House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has shown he shouldn't be at the table, and Republicans agree he shouldn't be at the table,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

“We had negotiations going here in a room, S-219, a short jog from here, and he has walked out on the meetings with the vice president of the United States,” Reid said. “It was childish.”


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Donald Trump says the Republicans are 'terrible, terrible, frightened negotiators'

-- Tony Pierce

Andrew Malcolm is on vacation and returns Tuesday.

Photo: File photo of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who salutes a fellow veteran as he takes the stage during a campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008. Credit AP Photo/Stephan Savoia/file