Debate performance like that of Jack Johnson

Some commentators compared the fourth debate of the 2008 presidential campaign to a Muhammad Ali-George Foreman fight.  But the better boxing analogy would be Jack Johnson’s 1908 fight, exactly one hundred years ago, to become the first black heavyweight champion of the world.

Like Sen. Barack Obama, Jack Johnson understood that his most dangerous opponent was himself.   So he stuck to his strategy against Tommy Burns, who taunted him with insult after insult.

Likewise, Sen. John McCain had a long list of “gotcha” comments prepared by his staff to go after Sen. Obama on everything from partial-birth abortion to William Ayres.    Obama stuck to his strategy, fended off the attacks when he chose to.

He’s ahead on points, but the judges haven’t voted yet.   We’ll have to wait until Nov. 4 to find out if Obama can lay claim to the belt.

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