from Clarence Page: John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have been doing so much to help Barack Obama's presidential campaign lately. I wondered, as I watched Obama's debate performance, why he was doing so little to give them a hand.
His dry, defensive and nearly humorless performance seemed to be quietly urging viewers to tune out and switch to another channel.
Where, I wondered, was the vision, the poetry, the rich metaphors and imagery that flow from Obama when he's on top of his oratorical game?
Then it dawned on me: Maybe Obama was pulling his punches. Maybe he was trying to pull off a debate team version of rope-a-dope, a boxing strategy made famous by Muhammad Ali in which you can win by appearing at first to be losing.
Ali would lay against the ropes in a protected stance, let his opponent exhaust himself by punching away, then start punching back all the way to victory...