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. Kaycey

    It is critical that people do not denigrate the achievements of Senator Obama, the presumptive democratic nominee. While it is acceptable for Hillary Clinton's supporters to be angry and disappointed at her failure to secure the nomination, they should bear in mind that the United States has taken a giant step forward in selecting an African American (in fact a mixed race person, in case most folks have forgotten) as the leader of a major political party. If asked any CEO of major corporations, they would tell you that experience is one thing and vision is another and the most successful leaders are not always the most experienced but the most visionary and inspiring. Good leaders are not autocratic but possess good judgement to surround themselves with the right people to help them realise their vision. To my mind Barack Obama has shown good judgement in not supporting the Iraq war, is both a visionary and inspirational. These traits nobody can deny even if they don't like his skin color. Senators Clinton and McCain may have more experience (because they are older) but this does not predispose them to be good leaders. The issues in November should not be about race, or if Clinton was running (she isn't anymore), or who is more experienced beacsue it counts for nothing in presidential democracy. However, the real issues are the economy (who has the best policy to dig America out of the economic hole it is in presently); the war in Iraq (how does America exit expediently without any further loss of lives). If the answer is Obama, then vote for him; if McCain ticks all the boxes (which I doubt), then vote for him. To make your decisions on any other factors will amount to travesty and betrayal of the American people of all races, who are currently languaishing in economic quagmire. The result of the 8 years of a most experienced but visionless George Bush. I see the same in McCain. Thus, I hope that every American voter in November will cast their vote without racial bias but but for change in the economy, war in Iraq and healthcare for all.

    June 8, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Sally, Minnesota

    Contrary to GOP talking points, Obama is not radical and a majority of his votes are to the right of HRC.
    It may be the opinion of some that Obama is not ready to be president, but that is all it is, is opinion. There is no actual test, in fact, to judge what you state.
    Obama has a solid, impressive academic background and provable public service history.
    Both HRC and BHO are intelligent and good people who are in the US polictical world for a long time to come. They will both help lead the Democratic Party.
    McCain is a military veteran, senior Senator who has been involved in a financial scandal in the 1980's; his chief economic advisor, Phil Gramm, former Tx Senator, is complicit in the deregulation of Financial and Energy industries.
    Deal with facts and reality going forward and this country will be able to repair the great damage done by the Right Wing Republicans for the last twenty some years.
    Time to turn the page and look to new ideas and people for the progress that is needed in both foreign and domesic issues.
    Peace.

    June 8, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Voting Obama

    Helen please. You obviously know nothing! I bet you don't even have a college education. If you do then I am surprised. Read the facts on Obama before you start running your mouth!! What President has experience? Duh.... Obama kick some McCain butt!! I don't want another Bush in office!! I am tired!!

    All you haters keep on hating. Its only killing you. Im voting Obama because I want a change. Yes we can!! Lets make a difference!

    June 8, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. MS, RI

    Experience is over-rated. So many ultra successful companies would not exist if experience is the only criteria for success. So, I would suggest that people do not just discount Obama. Analyze the candidates closely for what they are proposing and then vote in the general elections. It will be good for all of us. Thanks,

    June 8, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Georgia

    Obama hatred spewers, Remember you were the ones starting the "rain for McCain campaign. It's your own doing.

    Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee have made the worst mistake in the world. How can we turn to our daughters, look them in the eye, and say you too can be president one day, when we gave the nomination to someone who had less experience, less votes, won less primaries, and only won more delegates because his supporters attacked, bullied, and strong-armed Hillaary supporters at caucuses, which were a disorganized, shameful, mess. The nominating process is a sham and needs to be fixed.

    How can the DNC ask me to vote for someone they railroaded into this position. Democrats voted for Hillary. Independants and Republicans voted for Obama. How does that win him the Democratic nomination. Remember how we cried about how unfair the Gore and Kerry elections were? And now they want me to sanction what they did to us this year. NO. NEVER NEVER NEVER. I will not vote for someone so young and inexperienced. So Radical, Sexist and Racist. Why could they not see that he should have waited his turn? We could have had 16 years of Democrats in the Whitehouse if they would have placed the more qualified Candidate on the ticket and let Barack be her VP. He would have learned and grown. It shows what a Misogynist organization the DNC is.

    Instead he will blow this campaign. Just look at the last two days. He's so naive and foolish. And they want me to vote for him? Get real. It's not too late DNC. Change your mind. Hillary did not damage him, he damaged himself. And he is beyond repair.

    June 8, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Dealt

    To Hoang and others who think alike,

    Yes, in the general election one votes for a president and not for a party. Still, I don't see how writing in the name of a candidate who is no longer a candidate will help the country in a better direction.

    It just means each of those votes won't count, you will be a no-voice. Whichever CANDIDATE you choose, if you care about being heard do vote a valid vote.

    June 8, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Taos Glo

    What a bunch of sore losers the Hillary folks are. Go ahead and
    not vote for Obama....but when we get McSame for the next 4 years
    you will be still crying. For goodness sake it was a terrific primary and
    Obama was such a gentleman and NEVER attacked your Hillary
    like she attacked him. So grow up and let go. If you are going to
    vote for McSame do so and quit crying!

    June 8, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Brian

    Clinton supporters for higher gas prices.... Vote McCain '08!

    June 8, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. trevor brown

    Helen from NY, You are such a amall minded person, you just beleived in name calling and a sorry losser

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

    Helen – explain to me how McCain has the experience to be president? Tenure in the Senate does not equal experience.

    June 8, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Crush Rush

    txbad1,you never were a Democrat.Now stick your head in a hay bale.

    June 8, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. xargaw

    I believe the two campaigns will arrange something along the townhall forum. We have seen these in past campaigns, (Bush/Clinton, Bush/Kerry). It is said that McCain thinks this is best forum as opposed to the formal speech forum. I believe Obama will be able to more than hold his own simply because he has the better policies and approaches to issues on his side. McCain, despite saying he is not another Bush, agrees with and proffers all the Bush policies. If McCain can't see the trouble this country is in on the Bush course, he is not Presidential material. His gaffes and mistakes the last month or so should have everyone wondering if he is mentally sharp enough for the job. Personally, I see geriatric symptoms all over McCain.

    June 8, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. aware

    John McCain and Condi Rice would be a winner! It is irrelevant who Obama chooses because McCain will win in 08. :)

    But, it is not over until it is over. It is a long time until the convention!

    Many disillusioned Democrats, like me, have already switched to the more centrist McCain for 08. The Democratic Party is not in touch with Mainstream America. Hillary was their only hope for a return to the White House. Maybe they really are more concerned about securing a filibuster-proof Congress?

    Hillary Clinton, America's "Iron Lady" or Margaret Thatcher, has spoken, and it is now very obvious that the Democratic Party has selected the weaker presidential candidate! Why? Ask Dean, Pelosi, Reid and Brazille! :(

    Also, this primary race has revealed the ugly underbelly of the now very left-wing Democratic Party and the extreme left-wing media with its hateful, misogynistic bias. The DNC or the Obama camp could have stepped in to elevate the dialogue but both lacked the character to do so! They actually encouraged or initiated the outrageous diatribe. :(

    Only Hillary Clinton can bring an element of healing, hope and balance to this skewed party and its extreme left-wing presumptive nominee.

    I support Hillary Clinton all the way but Barack Obama lacks the trust, the gravitas, the ideology and the character to be president of the United States of America.

    Could a Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton ticket help? Probably but I can't think of any reason why she would or should accept such an offer.

    Barack and Michelle are under the microscope and they are fatally flawed!

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

    once againI warn Obama against the town hall -meeting type of additional debates.
    Obama has been too deferential to McCain and the later has been too patronising and condescendin to the former.
    Such apperances would benefit McCain when he talks down condescendingly about the haughty, naive young man to Obama's face and Obama stomachs or appears abraisive. Obama will loose head or tail

    June 8, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. YOLA

    If experience is the reason we are where we are today then we need to clean house and give inexperience a chance! I won't allow a man to take away my rights so while you women are discussing writing in HRCs name I will work hard to hold on to my rights!

    June 8, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Informed voter from florida

    Obama is so scared of debates and town hall meetings. He can't hold it together without a canned speech. Just wait till we have to depend on him as our leader. I pray to God that never happens. Unite women! No OBAMA!

    June 8, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. The Truth Hurts

    Hoang, UC Berkeley June 8th, 2008 3:07 pm ET

    "I'M NOT VOTING FOR A PARTY; I'M VOTING FOR A PRESIDENT."

    How about voting for the issues genius? Your vote hurts yourself not the candidates. The candidates will go on and live good lives regardless of your vote. Yeah, voting McCain sure will teach the party and candidates a lesson huh? Too funny. How old are you? Nevermind, that wouldn't matter either.

    POST THIS CNN!

    June 8, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. Tx_is_bad

    Rural Redstaters already screwed up my country.
    I don't want to hear any more from them.

    June 8, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. sarah

    once again obama the slippery will weasel out of anything that might be too hard or show people he is unqualified or might cause him to actually answer hard questions. he is so lame, mccain is going to grind him to a pulp in nov. go mccain.

    June 8, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Geoff from Canada

    It would be nice to have an actual debate instead of having CNN give loaded self created "controversial" comments, biased reflections and divisive remarks for candidate questions. I think the only truths exposed during the previous democratic debates were that CNN is in fact a believer of national division by SES, race and gender. The new generation doesn't think like you...and when you question candidates...and report you merely reflect how dated you are...and incite the older generations. Good for them realizing CNN has become the true "info-tainment" network of the US...and merely leads to public misinformation... a public curtain to information and informed decisions.

    June 8, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. Russ

    To me to even have McCain and Obama thinking about being civil and respectful on the campaign trail is a change from the last 20 years! Whether both campaigns stay above board if it gets behind remains to be seen, but I do have hope this can be the start of the end of all of the nastiness that has been Washington since Newt Gingrich and company rolled into town and it became "payback time" for republicans and then the democrats retaliated and it has been 'tit for tat' ever since. Nothing gets done in Congress because both sides are too busy making the other look bad to possibly do what is best for the country. So far, I have admired the manners of both of these gentlemen and for the sake of our country hope that one of the changes that results is the change of the politics. I'm sick of it and look forward to the fall campaingn for our next president...whoever it might be!

    June 8, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. TL

    I intend to turn the channel every time the faces of these two men show up to tell how they will change the world. Two hundred years later, and we are still looking at the faces of men running for the Presidency, both of whom can't hold a candle to Clinton. WRITE HER IN TO WIN.

    Please note: this is not an attack, but an observation for the sake of dialogue in regard to how our worldviews/perspectives affect our opinions and decisions.

    As an African American man, I agree it would be nice to have a woman as president. I feel JUST AS STRONGLY, however, that after 200-plus years of seeing white men run the country, which includes legalized forced labor (slavery and sharecropping), hanging, burning, dragging, fire hoses and dogs, sit ins, church bombings, disenfranchisement by separate education and housing...need I go on????, with the Voting Rights act only 40-some years old, I am ready for a Black man (even "half" Black) to get a shot as well.

    I do not embrace the comments/sentiments of Rev. Wright or Father Pfleger, but I am not ashamed to say I am distinctlyproud of this opportunity–just as I would be pleased to be voting for Hillary as a woman AS WELL. Why be so limited in your sense of history, I suppose, is the essence of my challenge to you and all others who espouse the same sentiments.

    Looking forward to a civilized, well-thought out response.

    June 8, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Sonia in TX

    Miss UPenn – I applaud you. I only wish more were willing to let go of emotions and vote for the issues important to them.

    Rick from Chicago – Congrats on showing your racist colors. Clearly this country is not over race any more than it is gender when we are that quick to stereotype.

    June 8, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Jermaine

    There bare so many "white racist' HERE. They hide as wanting to VOTE for MCCAIN because Hillary did not get it. Someone above talk about to many males running the country, Hillary is agreat politican and she got beaten fair and square. If it was John Edwards Hillary supporters would have voted for him. John Edwards have less time than OBAMA as a Public elected leader. McCain with 26 years in Congress have not done anything for AMERICA-where is the experience? Get a GRIP you have a right to NO VOTE for OBAMA, but trying to find any reason not to is an illusion, many of you racist are just than, would never vote for Hillary in the General. OBAMA will win the nomination because of white Republican Military leaders like me, more black and latino turn out and majority Independents. McCAIN like Hillary is old news. For over 200 years white males run this country and nothing changed. Whether it is OBAMA or Hillary as it is apparent it will be OBAMA allot will changed. Thank GOD we are no longer in 1964 or 68, today the majority is the younger generation. RACIST will die out as they have. Hillary angry, bitter supporters are fake feminist and Rush Republicans, you cannot fool anyone, get a life OBAMA 2008, 2012, HILLARY 2016, 2020 Democratic Majority for a new mellinium!

    June 8, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. KE

    This is what happened.

    The Obama campaign (and others) fixed up the magic number quickly by adding enough SD numbers, and with a help of the media went ahead and declared a win for the weaker candidate and then they released all those fussing against Sen. Clinton accusing her for not celebrating him. The media then continued on to paint the picture dark for Sen. Clinton and her supporters and praise them at the same time to woo her supporters (it’s hard to do, but they did).

    People are upset with the lousy campaign conducted by the Obama people with an obvious help from the media. It was a continuous slap in the faces of so many American people for many months. Most women will reject a person once they proved themselves to be an as___le.

    June 8, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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