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. aware

    Joint town hall style meetings will be great! But, the most interesting subject right now is who will be #2. :)

    A real dream ticket might be John McCain and Condi Rice!

    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 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. curtis in WI

    I understand why McCain is pushing so hard for these meetings – they are free publicity and nationwide network airtime he simply can't hope to afford to actually buy.

    But, it's a huge risk. Obama is well known to be able to think well on his feet, not get flustered, and speak knowledgably. McCain gets angry, flustered and frustrated and steps over his tongue fairly regularly without the pressure of an opponent or a live TV broadcast. Even if he says something the whole country can agree on and manages to get the point across eventuially, he will have made himself look bad with his fumbling around and not particularly presidential and frankly – too Bushlike.

    June 8, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. J

    To those of you intent on writing Hillary's name on the ballot in November:

    You will do more harm to the womens movement by allowing McCain to be elected. At least 2 Supreme Court justices are retiring in the next 4 yrs and they both will be liberal justices who have protected a womens right to choose. Dont vote for Obama if you dont want to but vote for a democrat who CAN win with a real campaign and who CAN keep the court on the side of women.

    June 8, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. landi

    Was mcain involved in any corruption issue some time ago? Thought i read an article on that so someone please confirm or deny>thank you

    June 8, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. candy meyers

    May I remind Helen of NY that Abraham Lincoln was a one term congressperson from Illinois when he went on to become one of our greatest presidents. Sometimes it's best if one is NOT tainted by the games of Washington.

    Obama '08

    June 8, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    CNN...there is a typo in the article.....In the sixth paragraph of the article, please change 'campaign trial' to 'campaign trail'....this election season might have been a trial for a lot of people because of its long-drawn and sometimes divisive nature, but I am guessing that is not how 'trial' was used in this article............

    June 8, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Concerned Citizen

    I encourage all Hillary supporters who are not interested in supporting Obama to join the PUMA PAC. We will not fall in line. Unlike what the media believes, we will not just "get over it" . We are done listening to the nonsense. It's time to make our voices heard.

    June 8, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Milwaukee

    Obama will crush McCain in a debate. I feel he was really holding back on his own democrates because they all had somewhat of a common view of what they want for our country. However McCain is a bush follower and has shown signs of keeping things the same way as the Bush Administration and I feel that America is ready for change. I also Look at Obama as the next Nathanial Bacon "Bacon's Rebellion" Bringing people together to fight against the Evils of washington.

    June 8, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. KE

    Stick to the town hall style meetings.

    We should know what happened to Sen. Clinton will surely happen to Sen. McCain. No matter how good Sen. McCain will do everything will be twisted.

    June 8, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Alicia

    What about Bob Barr, McShame? I mean Change that your 'depends' can depend on.

    Great job how you Republcans are putting Rush and Karl Rove fanatics on the blogs posing as Democratics.

    McShame, you are against women's right to choose! McShame you are for privatizing Social Security! McShame you did not feel that veterans deserve more benefits! Abraham Lincoln said the only blood he ever saw on a battlefield were mosquito bites. Thanks for your service, but you have flip flopped too much for me McBush!!!

    REPUBLICN BLOGS WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE....NO LIFE AND YOU LIVE ON HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 8, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. jon

    america may be in a area of big diffilcuties for the long haul it may very well decline like the british empire or the roman empire or the german empire or the ussr because old men just cant run this GREAT Country CALLED THE USA IF MCCAIN DOES WE WILL SEE $25 TO 35$ PER GALLON FOR GAS AND YOU CANT DRILL YOUR WAY OUT BECAUSE THE WELL MUST RUN DRY. TRYING TO START A NEXT WAR WITH IRAN AS HE SUGGESTED WILL PERMANTENTLY KILL THE INFRASTRUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY OH DID I MENTION THAT THEY ARE THE WELL CONNECTED AND WEALTHY WORTH OVER 100 MILLION DOLLARS HAS TIES TO LOBBYST WHO RUNS HIS CAMPAGN DO YOU THINK THEYCARE FOR YOU THEY ARE FOR BUSTING UNIONS CHEAP LABOR ILLEAGAL WORKERS CUT THEIR LAWNS AND YET THEY SA THEY ARE ON YOUR SIDE WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR YOU LATLEY LOOK AT ARIZONA FULL OF DRUGS LIKE ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. GAS PRICE FOOD PRICE HOUSING CRISIS JOBS WHERE WAS HE IF HE IS SUCH A MAVERICK .FOR IT WAS HIS FRIEND WHO DID AMERICANS IN WHY DID HE NOT STOP HIM OR EVEN THE WAR IN IRAQ HE SAID IT WOULD BE EASY . NOW THEY BASH OBAMA PLEASE REMEMBER IT WAS THEIR POLICY THAT MADE iran chavez china india saudi quatar dubai etc so rich AS FOR ME I LOST MY HOME AND JOB .BUT I STILL CARE FOR THIS GREAT COUNTRY WOULD WORK FOR NOTHING TO LET RISE AGAIN.DONT FORGET MCCAIN WITH KEATING 5 YET YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN WITH YOUR FORECLOSURE

    June 8, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. David

    McCain you are far to risky, I don't want to be an ageist but the potential for a male at your age and medical history to suffer from a major health issue in the next 4+ years is far to likely. Your mental acuteness is already in question with your confusion over Sunni, Shia, Al'Queda etc. (this is supposed to be your area of expertise and you show a complete lack of understanding.)

    June 8, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Brooklyn Girl

    I am mad as hell at the DNC and the media for constantly telling Hillary to het out of the race. Also, I did not like the way the DNC took those 4 delegates from her and giving Obama all of the uncomitted votes on the Michigan deal. Hillary will always be an inspiration to me, but I do have my own mind. Therefore, if Obama wants my vote he is going to have to earn it himself.

    June 8, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. MY VOTE COUNTS!

    I AM A DIE HARD HILLARY SUPPORTER WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT SHE LOST FAIR AND SQUARE! I WILL JOIN THE OTHER 1 8 MILLION OF HER SUPPORTERS AND GET BEHIND THE WINNER AND WE WILL ALL CALL HIM PRESIDENT OBAMA!

    June 8, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Michael Rae

    i find it very funny that folks think Barack is not ready to be president. i have this to say about them so called regan democrats that say they will vote for Hillary but wont vote for Barack, how do you feel now that Gas is 4 bucks a gallon, food has gone up 88 percent since 2005 and all them good paying jobs have gone to china, mexico and points south and west under the guise of"the global economy". How about that home value that's gone down and you cant borrow anymore money against it to take that vacation this summer to put in that yukon you bought 2 years ago thats not worth 25 percent of what you paid for it, if you could sell it. The way i figure it the alternative Mcain is the same Sen from Arizona that his economic policy his boy Keating acribed to in the 80's early 90's were the ones that we had to pay billions to bail out. If thats not enough his Boy Grahm the former sen from TX was the senate banking chairman that is responsible for policies that have caused the sub prime mortage collaspe we are experiencing now. So the choice is clear
    Yes We Can
    Obama in 08

    June 8, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Dem in Chicago

    Obama will win '08 & '12

    June 8, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Michael

    Writing in Hillary's name is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Ever.

    It WONT get her elected, as delusional as some of these people are who think that it will, and when McCain is president and your only son is getting shipped off to Iraq, won't you wish you hadn't thrown away your vote?

    June 8, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. landi

    i would welcome those town hall debates providing that mcain has no access to telepromters lol

    June 8, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. David

    Hillary fans, don't blame Obama he played nice the entire campaign. Bottomline there were difficulties in Hillary's campaign that caused her to fall just short in a nail biter. For me it was when she, for a brief time before Super Tuesday, copied many aspects of Obama's stump speech regarding change. If her reinvention of her campaign went straight to being a "Fighter" she likely would have won. Bottomline she left the impression with many that she would say or do anything to win rather then being true to herself.

    June 8, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. KE

    What we learned this year. Just like some people think going to war in Iraq was wrong, some people think the affirmative action was wrong for America. And this idols and idol phenomenon and even the idol give back and all that will backfire one day. Those who really want to help should reside in those places and make it their life time work and maybe they will learn something. Give our troops in the dangeous places more credit.

    June 8, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. California Women for Obama

    McPuppet asking for respect after the way he has treated Sen. Obama. Just because he served in the military and exposed our secrets does not make him a god. I totally dislike him and he is totally unqualified for POTUS. I can't wait until they finally get to discuss the isses. He will look like the fool he is.

    Go Obama!

    June 8, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. NickNas

    It is no wonder they do not want to let ABC have anything to do with these procedings. After that clearly One sided " debate" they held a couple of months ago they have lost ALL trust and integrity.

    I wouldn't trust them to be impartial after that either.

    June 8, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. B. Churchill

    Hoang – please view my response to your comment on the "Clinton Advisor Reflects..." post. Thanks! Please don't cast your vote in spite – this battered nation needs everyone who cares to put their shoulder to the wheel.

    June 8, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Rob

    For all Hillary's supporters.I'm a NY' er. I've always voted for her. But she hasn't done anything for NY. Ask anybody that lives here. She can't point a finger at a single thing she can call an accomplishment. Naming a firehouse isn't something to brag about . When she does do something I'll take another look , until then.I doubt it.

    June 8, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. Mike,ct

    Why do you clinton people blame obama.

    Hillary and Obama voted not to couny Fla and Mich.thats was the rule

    If you go by the rules he still wins.

    Hillary have brain wash her supporter for 3 momth when she fell behind count FLA & MICH.

    Are you clinton support falling for McCain bloggers also.

    Obama done nothing wrong.

    Hillary campain did wrong.

    If you made withobama its because he is black not because he won.

    That the reason you say Im going for McCain.

    Fla & Mich should have been 50 0bama 50 Clinton she came out ahead.

    The gas price going up,war need to stop.

    Aso you all say you will vote McCain must not have a brother or sister fighting i do and i like them back home.

    Please vote Obama so they come home please.

    THANKS

    June 8, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13