June 8th, 2008
04:54 PM ET
3 years ago

Campaigns reject Bloomberg, ABC offer for televised town hall

Sen. John McCain has called for ten joint appearances before the Democratic Convention in August.
Sen. John McCain has called for ten joint appearances before the Democratic Convention in August.

NEW YORK (CNN) -– If presumptive presidential nominees Barack Obama and John McCain do hold joint town hall meetings before the political conventions, you’ll have plenty of options to watch them.

Both campaigns Sunday quickly rejected an offer by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and ABC News to hold the first such get-together as a 90-minute, prime time broadcast on ABC.

But the Obama and McCain camps said the idea of one network putting on the event is a non-starter.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, “Both campaigns indicate that any additional appearances will be open to all networks for broadcast on TV or Internet like the presidential commission debates, rather than sponsored by a single network or news organization.”

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said, "Both campaigns agree the town hall meetings will be open to press but not sponsored or moderated by the press."

The idea of the town hall style meetings was again raised on the campaign trial last week by McCain, who called for ten joint appearances before the Democratic Convention in August. He proposed the first one be held later this month at Federal Hall in New York, saying in a letter to Obama, "What a welcome change it would be were presidential candidates in our time to treat each other and the people they seek to lead with respect and courtesy as they discussed the great issues of the day, without the empty sound bites and media-filtered exchanges that dominate our elections."

He said they should be modeled on appearances President John F. Kennedy and Barry Goldwater planned on holding in the 1964 campaign, before President Kennedy’s death.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said the idea would be discussed, but suggested a different format. He said, "The idea of joint town halls is appealing and one that would allow a great conversation to take place about the need to change the direction of this country… We would recommend a format that is less structured and lengthier than the McCain campaign suggests, one that more closely resembles the historic debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. But, having just secured our party's nomination, this is one of the many items we will be addressing in the coming days and look forward to discussing it with the McCain campaign."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. HILLARY Supporters!!!

    I won't vote for Obama !!! I voted for HILLARY !!!!! Since, HILLARY is out I am not going to vote !!! I never trust Obama (Rezko link -convicted on 16 counts) I can't imagin, how Obama's supporters won't see IT.
    NO !!!!!! TO !!!!!!! OBAMA !!!!!!!

    June 8, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  2. George

    Our Mccain grand pa doesnot have money for publicity and looking for Obama's help. He wants free publicity. Obama knows it very well and he will be on the ground not with this Bush's third term candidate.

    June 8, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  3. Cynthia

    If they both choose to do the town hall meetings – it should be a mixture of people, Democrats and Republicans. If I were Senator Obama, ABC would be out of the question.

    June 8, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  4. musicnme

    People in Washingto knows this: Senator McCain has proven to be extremely difficult to work with - EVERYBODY KNOWS HE HAS BAD TEMPER!!!!

    June 8, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  5. Jones

    It was because of media propaganda and biased reporting that got stupid Bush elected. it seems like a dream that dummy and brainless Bush got elected twice in a country full of intellectuals, best political thinkers etc.....CNN, ABC AND FOX NETWORKS..Our country's future and our grandchildren's future relies in your hands............................

    June 8, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. Don

    Gene you state …."we can't afford another 4 yrs of stupidity from old white man…" and you are no doubt a Black Racist. You are living proof that Blacks are racist are in this country. May I remind you that Obama thought there were 57 states in the Union? He has made other mistakes as well. Black people need to stop all this racism toward White people. You will tolerate any kind of performance or behavoir just so long as that person is Black. Get over it!

    June 8, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  7. NO Clinton vp

    It is just as someone printed on here it isRepublicans ,Independants printing most of their going to vote for the McCain baloney.
    Saying Obama has no experience can they not read ? What did this state ment get us into in the past 7 + years ?OMG
    They want Roe v Wade to be taken away and woman being injured for life with back alley endings.
    They are just waiting so we can send more of our Sons and Daughters to Iraq to have them return in a body bag by a war that was started by lies to the American people by you know exactly who/while McShame wants to continue the war just like the war monger he is ....................................
    Wake up America .

    June 8, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. Jerry in Fresno

    After the conventions, only!

    June 8, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. Yan, Minneapolis

    To Hoang, UC Berkeley:

    If you don't think ending occupation in Iraq, curtailing Iran nuclear weapon development, having an universal health care, fixing the ecomony, reclaiming the status of USA, in the world, protecting women's right by selecting progressive Supreme court judges etc. are important for this country. Go write in whoever you want. Go waste your support for Sen. Clinton by electing John McSame. I hope you sleep well when Bush the 3rd is the next president.

    June 8, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  10. tant

    Never will i watch MCBUSH DEBATE with Barack.THIS IS A GUY WHO CAN'T READ TELEPROMPTER very well.....The same guy that can't finish a sentence without error only if someone whispers in his ears..A debate between Barack and McCain is like a debate between high school dropout and a college professor............................

    June 8, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  11. Perusing-through

    Dear Senator Obama,

    Congratulations on a successful and hard fought campaign. Your opponent was truly formidable but you made it through to the Super Bowl of American politics. To help make it through your final contest, please allow me to give you a bit of wisdom.

    WISDOM #1:
    Your previous opponent (Hill & Bill & Chelsea) were unprepared for your attack strategy of "CHANGE", so the element of surprise worked to your benefit. As you know the element of surprise is an essential strategy to winning any contest. But now this creates a problem for you. You see the McSame camp has watched your epic battle with team HRC and they are resolute not to be asleep at the wheel when you unveil the CHANGE strategy going forward. The McSame camp will not be caught off guard like the HRC camp.

    WISDOM #2:
    Do not accept John McSame's offer for 10 town meetings "as requested". You may consider only 3 of 10 town hall meetings, and the first 3 must be severely modified to benefit you. Remember, no more than three McSame contest. In addition Senator Obama, you should pick the other debate battle grounds and do not pick any more than three contest. In this way if you are losing the debate contest (and don't get cocky because it can happen), you will not have to quit the final debates because your are getting your butt whup, which will make you look very, very bad.

    WISDOM #3:
    REMEMBER THIS IMPORTANT RULE, NO MATTER HOW CONFIDENT YOU FEEL AGAINST YOUR OPPONENT, DO NOT ACCEPT HIS PROPOSITION TO FIGHT BATTLES ON THE GROUNDS HE SUGGEST. HE HAS ALREADY THOUGHT THROUGH EVERY POSSIBLE ANGLE TO BEAT YOU ON THE VERY GROUNDS HE HAS SELECTED. HE HAS NUMEROUS AMBUSHES WAITING FOR YOU. REMEMBER JOHN McSAME IS TRAINED IN THE ART OF WAR AND HE IS PLANNING YOUR DEMISE AS WE SPEAK. STAY AWAY FROM BATTLE GROUNDS HE SELECTED. IF YOU CHOOSE TO FIGHT ON HIS BATTLE GROUND, ONLY SIGN UP FOR THREE BATTLES. NO MORE. AND CHOOSE NO MORE THAT SIX TOTAL BATTLES INITIALLY. IF THOSE SIX BATTLES TURN OUT IN YOUR FAVOR, THEN YOU HAVE THE CHOICE TO ADD MORE McSAME SPANKINGS AT YOUR DESCRETION.

    Sincerely yours,
    An Obama Mama

    June 8, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  12. YES WE CAN + YES WE WILL= DEMS IN WHITE HOUSE

    I just want to take this opportunity to beg all Obama supporters to resist arugering with Hillary's I do know that it can be extremely hard to do, but it really serves no purpose. Many of them will vote for Obama once they have the time to settle down and reason things out, but if they do not then that will be OK too, there is enough of us that have stood by him and millions that have had buyers remorse since voting for Hillary so that number is not as much as they are claiming, plus we must consider the Independents that were not allowed to vote in their state's primaries, then there are thousands of of young people that will becoming of age before Nov. that were not aware that they could have voted in Primaries. Also believe it or not many did not vote in Super Tuesday because they did not know who Obama was and did not believe he would have a chance, many that are sorry that they did not vote. There are those that are in Mi & Fla that will vote for Obama , then let's not forget those Republicans that will be voting for Obama. There will be EX HILLARY SUPPORTERS that WILL VOTE OBAMA, I AM ONE OF THEM!

    Hillary supporters are acting like most that are not used to have power and now that they THINK they have it, they want others to beg and sweat over them, I will not, I believe it best to ignore them at this point, allow them time to calm down, but please STOP begging and arguring with them, they will have to reason this out on their own just like the MILLIONS OF US THAT DID!

    IT'S TIME TO GET OVER IT MOVE ON, AND GROW UP! BUT FOR GOD'S SAKE SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY! YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES DISAPPOINTED, I READ A COMMENT FROM A 15 YEAR OLD THAT HAS ALREADY REASONED IT OUT AND SOUNDS MORE MATURE THAT MOST GROWN UP IN THESE BLOGS STILL CRYING AND TAKING A TANTUM!

    ENOUGH ALREADY! EITHER THESE PEOPLE ARE TOO STUPID TO REASON WITH ANY WAY OR THEY ARE JUST ANGRY AND WILL COME AROUND EITHER WAY IGNORE THEM FOR NOW!

    NEW SUPPORTER OF OBAMA!

    NO McCAIN!

    END THE WAR, BRING OUR TROOPS HOME! HELP OUR ECONOMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 8, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. Cooper

    Someone mentioned wanting to know more about McCain before his POW days. Well, he was married to a model. She got into a horrific car accident so she looked quite different to him when he returned from war. From there he had an affair, divorced his wife, and married the mistress who was also a beauty queen, well-connected politically, and filthy rich. And so began his life with Cindy McCain. Do your homework. McCain is not an honorable man.

    June 8, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  14. open your eyes

    To: Florida not for Barack Obama – Ever
    I get a real kick out of people like you thinking you speak for all of Hillary's supporters when you say all 18 million will vote McCain or write her name in come Nov. Get a grip! How old are you really, 12?
    You are fortunately only one of a very few who will still hold fanatical views like that come November, the other 17,999,999 will have determined a vote to better their future and their children's future is infinitely better than holding onto such bitterness and voting to doom the country to another 4 years of failed republican policies.
    Grow up and support your own party. Hillary is!

    June 8, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  15. white woman for Obama

    I think Senator Mccain is desperate to control how big Obama can get and how he can attract huge rallies. Mccain cannot do that and cannot afford to go as far as Obama can financially. So, his suggestion is to control Obama's message. I would like to see some debates in that style, but I also want Obama to continue to hold the large rallies all over the USA and bring new people into the process. We will win in November. I have no doubt!
    Change we can believe in!
    Obama 08, 2012

    June 8, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  16. KE

    Remember Hillary's father was a die hard Republican, she has his DNA, just a fundamental American value. We need new blood in the government, not only a new president but a whole bunch of clear critical thinking brain leaderships, not the ones who can't think outside of the old part lines niether inexperienced out of touch leaderships.

    June 8, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  17. White Marsh

    ABC wants to host a debate? Now why would Senator Obama option for another ambush from ABC. What do they want to do? , , , , continue the flag pin issue and use it to question his patriotism. No way!

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. No way ABC!!

    June 8, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  18. OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT

    Hillary Lost! She Lost! She Is Out! She Will Not Be President! Stop Taking About How She Was Mistreated! She Lost Because She Lost! Anyone Who Votes For Mccain Because She Lost Is A Loser Too!

    June 8, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  19. What if?

    gregg45 June 8th, 2008 7:51 pm ET

    write in… hill yes.. I guess you expect her to share her millions with you and others, once you cause a lose to the democrat voters?

    Once you write her name in do you honestly thinks she going to call you and say thank you? After November they all (including Hillary) will still be able to AFFORD gas, have ENOUGH MONEY to survive any type of economy woes, outstanding health insurance for entire family, still have their JOBS, continue to have MILLIONS of dollars in their savings accounts. The only lesson you will teach anyone, including yourself, is that you are a selfish voter.

    I am a Obama supporters, but if Hillary was the nominee, I would vote for her in a second, she's DEMOCRATES- RIGHT…I AM A DEMOCRATE………………

    June 8, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  20. Dalmo

    MISSING ETHICS AND MORALS IN SOME DEMOCRATS!

    Even though I live so far from the US here in Brazil I don't need to leave to know what is happening there. The globalized market and economy is very much dependent on the good functioning of the US economy.
    We all want a democrat to win in the November elections with the hopeful outcome of improving the US economy. We are concerned about the divisions in the Democratic Party for such trivial reasons and the apparent absence of ethics and morals of some voters.
    Now is not the time for petty differences and prejudice which cause such division... Now is the time for the party to unite! Each one of you needs to let go of the ego, fanatism and preconceptions turning and to support the democratic candidate Barack Obama.
    Obama is a good candidate, intelligent, well educated and well prepared to be president in any country of the planet. He has great ideas and projects being some of them similar with the Hillary program. And still he has a good team and support of excellent democrat politicians to work and help US.
    It is very sad ethically and morally that some who supported Hillary in the primary say that they won't support Obama should he become nominated. This will, later on, prove to be a grave error. It has been eight years of the nonsense and absurdity of the Bush presidency only to see the image of the USA declining into negativity.
    I think that these people that say “We will vote for McCain”, they cannot criticize George W. Bush for lying, disrespecting the Constitution and disrespecting the determinations of the ONU when he began the immoral and illegal Iraq war.
    These people are having a children's behavior and being bad example of democrats for all us that truly love the liberal democracy. What type of democrats are you? Terrorists or blackmailers?
    It's time of urgent changes there and the Bush Administration cannot to continue with McCain. Or want you more wars? More lies, expenses and Americans dieing in immoral battles? Or going to down the economy there? Obama wining the election in November places an excellent team of democrats in power and raises the hope of change for every one of us...
    The Brazil and the Americas are with Obama 08!
    Sincerely
    Dalmo

    June 8, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  21. curtis in WI

    To all those who are always screaming about Obama 'not having having no experience' (Their bad grammar, not mine), I would suggest you read up on that other 'inexperienced man from Illinois' did when he became President. His name was Abraham Lincoln and he had even less experience than Senator Obama. But like Obama, he was an intelligent man with a true love of his country and a conscience.

    June 8, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. Die hard Republican for OBAMA

    This year is for democrats...We can't afford another 4yrs of misery and stupidity.............

    June 8, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  23. Relle Boston

    The blogs are insane. Take the first one. Do you guys realize as women if you vote for Mccain there will be seets open on the supreme court that will hurt the women's right to choose all because of racism.
    Barack never once disrepected Hillary. What has he done really to disrespect the Hillary camp??????? You can make up reasons, but did he really. Mccain is Bush nad if you are a woman and you vote against Barack and for Mccain. I would have to call you insane. I said I would never vote for Hillary because she has been devisive, but if you look at Mccain and what he will do to our Country, I had to take a second look.

    June 8, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. Ben

    Obama vs Mccain on the Iraq war is like the difference between a doctor that makes an accurate diagnosis of an illness( prescibing medication) and one that made the wrong diagnosis; commits the patient to a costly operaton that causes him unnecessary pain and hardship; but insists he can do a better job of closing.

    I would rather not having the operation in the first place but if I did, I have it would trust the judgement of the doctor who had counselled against it, to close.

    June 8, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  25. Amy

    As a woman, I identify with the anger and frustration of others who feel cheated of our chance to finally have a female Commander in Chief. We make up more than half the population and yet are ridiculously under represented in our government.
    That being said, as a woman and a mother, in November I need to vote for someone who is going to represent my best interests and issues that are important to me. I need someone fighting for healthcare and education and I need someone who is going to appoint sensible Supreme Court Justices, who will have a tremendous impact on my children's futures with their rulings. (And I'm not just talking about Roe v. Wade, There are a lot of other issues that can directly impact our lives!)
    Really, what it comes down to to me is, who is going to stand for the issues that are important to me in the White House? I need a Democrat to win this election in the fall. My family and I can't afford another four or eight years of Republicans.

    June 8, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
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