June 8th, 2008
04:54 PM ET
4 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. Bryan

    Helen of NY wrote:

    John McCain does not have to debate Barack because Barack is not yet ready to become our president. He has no real background and any resume. We are in America which is the most powerful nation in the world so how can we put Barack in the White House. He has no experience whatwoever and he is coming from the radical wing of Democratic party.

    Sorry to say, only one of these statements is half true. We are part of the Americas, the United States. While we certainly have the best military, right now the Canadian dollar kicks our butts, which is why I accede to the half point.

    But my biggest problem is your premise, "we" are "the most powerful nation" ... as a reason NOT to elect (or allow to run?) Senator Obama? This logic fails me entirely. When will the day of the enlightened voter elect an equally wise leader, without relying on taints of xenophobia, fear mongering & exaggerating generalizations?

    June 8, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. GO AWAY

    HILLARY WILL IN DOWN IN HISTORY AS HAVING LOST!

    June 8, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT!

    NEW MCCAIN SLOGAN * A WORLD WAR THREE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN! *

    June 8, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Anna, SW Missouri

    The really sad thing about the Clinton campaign was the sexism that went on within its own campaign. It was the men within the campaign that insisted that Hillary had to present herself as the toughest guy on the block. I think that after the women that have supported her have time to decompress, they will realize that it was not Barack Obama that was sexist, but instead it was Mark Penn, Howard Wolfson, and even her own husband, Bill Clinton.

    I am a Republican woman that decided that this year I will vote for any Democrat because I do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. It would have been great to see a woman become President this year, but it is not going to happen, so now women will now have to come to grips with that and understand that voting for McCain is voting against everything Hillary stands for and has worked for all of her life.

    We, as women, need to stand up and be counted in November. John McCain has a voting record of 0 when it comes to women's rights. Not only has he voted against our right to choose, he has voted against sex education,and against insurance companies having to pay for birth control. It has always been fine with the men in government to have insurance companies to pay for Viagra. Not only does he want to overturn women's right to choose, but many of his supporters want to overturn the right to use any form of birth control. (It has only been legal since 1965) According to them, women and MEN should not be allowed to do any family planning.

    Please, women, do your research. Start with his own website and realize that if it is up to John McCain, the only thing women are good for is to become the sex object of men and baby manufacturers.

    June 8, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. patrick

    @Hoang,Uc Berkely,

    You say Barack and Hilary dont have similiar plans. Have you been paying attention to the whole campaign process??

    As far as writing Hilarys name on the ballot in Novemeber ; thats your right and perogative.However, im a bit pissed that many Hilary supporters put the blame of Hilarys loss in Barama. That was really a dissappointment.However, i would much rather you write Hilary on the ballot than Mccain.

    June 8, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. Paul

    You tolerate hatred for 20 years.. you are not electable..

    June 8, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT!

    NEW MCCAIN SLOGAN * A SET BACK IN WOMENS RIGHTS YOU CAN BELIEVE IN! *

    June 8, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. Pete, WI

    Helen, NY, how truly radical is it to want to make health care affordable for everyone? To engage diplomatically with the rest of the world, including those countries that disagree with us? To restore taxes to a 1990's level when we had a balanced budget and to get us out of this crushing debt inflicted by the Right's VooDoo economics of tax breaks for the wealthiest? If that's radical philosophy, where do I sign up to be a radical?

    Obama has proven to be a man of intellect and accomplishment. Obama came from nowhere to win the Democratic nomination, running the most efficient, best managed campaign perhaps ever. McCain? He cheated on his wife, hooking up with the Beer Baroness who sponsored his Senate election in Arizona. Shortly after, he nearly got tossed out of the Senate for his role in the Keating 5 scandal. To this day, he is still surrounded by lobbyists, including several who count some of the world's worst tyrants as their clients. As far as experience, getting elected the first time to the Senate is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Getting reelected is one of the easiest, as 90 percent plus of incumbents get reelected. What has McCain accomplished in 26 years? Nothing significant.

    Obama is the better man.

    June 8, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. Belle

    MN
    I am a Democrat with tremendous respect for McCain. During the 60s, as a young teen, I wore an MIA bracelet that said John McCain.

    If you want to know more about him, I suggest you read his book. He is a true American Hero. How he made it through 5 years as a POW? A power greater than himself. It is one thing to go through what McCain did, but another to actually have more faith as a result. It is one thing to obey rules in religion, and another to actually have a relationship and reliance on God.

    I disagree with many of McCain's beliefs as a Republican. However, I do not doubt for an instant that he hates war...as do all of us who have served our country.

    I do believe he has the honor and integrity to serve this country well as President. He is moderate enough to win conservative Democrats.

    We have had a far right President. We have a far left Democrat running against a moderate. Most of us are in the middle...and Clinton was in the middle...so...November will not be so easy.

    June 8, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. MIKE J.

    Everybody has an opinion of something regarding this campaign!!

    I'm sick and tired of these people!!

    Who cares.

    Billary supporters: Remember Vince Foster!!

    June 8, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. Greg in Annapolis

    Keep networks neutral and out of the interest of the debates and I think they will be a great way for us to see the two candidates push their issues. Let them be longer than McCain had suggested and they might just run past his bedtime. Good for Obama! Hey Hoang – I agree that you vote for a candidate and not a party. I'm an independent and will never join a political party. Since Hillary and Barack have almost identical stances on all of the key issues, your argument is ridiculous. If you want 4 more years of tyrannical Republican manipulation, then go ahead and vote for McNursinghome, but if you are not voting for Barack simply because Hillary was your girl and he beat her, I'll thank you, in advance, for screwing up another election for the rest of us. Ron Paul is a far better Republican candidate, for what it's worth. Unbelievable! I applaud Senator Clinton for FINALLY pushing for Obama's campaign. I just wish her fanatical supporters would listen to her. Go Obama! Crush McCain in the "townhalls" and he won't stand a chance!
    Democrats + Independents + Republican defectors will win this election for Obama and we can start to repair all that 'lil bush has broken!

    June 8, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. George

    this grand pa has no money for TV advertising and pressing Obaama for joint town hall meeting. He is looking for free publicity. No way. Obama will be on the ground not with Mccain wasting time.

    June 8, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Dealt

    McCain wants to get the audience he wouldn't otherwise get, without spending a cent. Will probably ask for a ride in Obama's car and propose a shared lunch.

    June 8, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT!

    THANK GOD HILLARY WONT BE IN THE DEBATES! THE STRONGER CANDIDATE AND THE ONE WITH THE MOST VOTES WILL BE REPRESENTING DEMOCRATS THIS YEAR!

    June 8, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Eric

    Helen if you believe that, then McCain should be able to outdo Obama in these debates.. So he should debate.. I dought that will happen anyways.... McCain will lose his temper in a debate, just watch and will show his true side.. Not to mention did you see McCain last attempt to speak on national tv. The Day Obama Clinched. Wow that was really bad. He had awkward smiles, couldnt finish a sentence and the 200 people in that room were half clapping, they didnt even believe what McCain had to say, and they were republicans in that room.

    June 8, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. patrick

    To Helen,

    Who in their right mind would put a man like Mccain with his war monger stance on national security. Just because he so called has experience on national security does NOT mean its the right experience for America.Besides that, his economic stance leaves much to be desired. People need help staying in their homes and keeping gas in their vehicles, thus far out of all candidates, Mccain does the least in his proposal to help the people.

    Bottom line: McCAIN is out of the question as far as helping the nations economy

    June 8, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. Henry Haider

    We all will know a great deal more about Barak Obama during the next few months, some will be just theories while others will be truth. The greatest surprise will be when he will declare his victory.
    McCain is a good person but with wrong foresight just as Bush did. The citizens will vote accordingly, both white and white male voters, women voters, cowboys, farmers, immigrants, students and even those bums along the way. My prediction is he will change the map colors. There shall be more blue this year than red, which should surprise the republicans as it surprised the Clintons camp.

    June 8, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Al, Chicago

    CNN:

    You do McCain a favor by devoting all of your air and internet time to Obama. What happens is that no one ever sees or hears McCain and that can only help him since he's such a pathetic character. If you want to help Obama, and I know you do, show more of McCain.

    Obama 08'

    June 8, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. LucieLee, FL

    Barack Obama will make John McCain look more pathetic than he already is~ I say to McCain, "be careful what you wish for~?" Obama is the only man who can stair this country in the right direction, he has been stalwart all along, he hasn't changed his stand just for political exoediance the way McCain has. And now Obama has put McCain on the defensive, trying to prove he isn't like George W. Bush, next we have to see that infamous temper come out more in public; a townhall meeting would be just the place~to really show how unstable this Republican is, and not qualified to run this country.

    June 8, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Connie

    There is appox. 300 million or more voters in the US. I hope you all don't think it's only the 36 million that voted in the primary to be the ones to choose our next president. 36 million is just a drop in the bucket.

    Can some one tell me what president had experience at being president before they became president?

    June 8, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Naomi

    This sounds a bit boring. I want to see a real debate where they discuss the real issues in front of a diverse audience not some townhall meeting where McCan't and the republicans will try to have an audience of 50 year old army veterans.

    June 8, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. Voting Obama

    Lets go Obama!! Lets go Hilary Supporters. Hey it is what it is. I respect you. Obama respects you. Lets kick these sorry republicans out of office and show them how to run a country!

    June 8, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. RyanD.

    McCain has plenty of experience...with FAILURE.

    FAILURE in Iraq, FAILURE in the economy, FAILURE in fidelity. A 95% agreement on issues with the worst President in the history of our country, George Bush.

    I'd rather a CHANCE than CERTAIN failure.

    Just say NO to so-called "experience"...just say yes to intelligence, fresh ideas, no lobbyist money and new leadership.

    Obama 08'

    June 8, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. Edwin from Indiana

    This is the first time I have ever wrote a comment for anything. I have been reading all these comments for weeks now and I for the life of me have never seen such bad blood. I have been a dem all my life and will continue to be the rest of my life. For all the Clinton supporters she ran a great race. I my opinion she lost fair. I do not see all the things that are being said about the Obama people. Wake up it was a hard long race. If you really are going to vote for McCain kiss the womans right to chose goodbye. I am not a woman but I think that the right to chose is pretty important reason to vote Dem in the fall. Maybe it is a few GOP people doing the hate stuff here but it is time for the Dems to unite and get the GOP out of the office now.
    Dems 08

    June 8, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Crush Rush

    Scumbag Rove is up to his tricks and lies.

    June 8, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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