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. shirley

    Those of you who want to write Hillary's name on your ballot will be giving the White House to John McCain and we will have another 4 years of Bush policy, war and lies to the public. Hillary knows she lost fairly and is putting her support behind Senator Obama, you should honor her by doing the same.

    June 8, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Dems

    You know what's funny...it's the reaction of the Obama supporters who immediately look at McCain's suggestion as some sort of sneaky idea. The negativity coming from the Obama posters is hilarious and typical. They killed Clinton and they can't stand to support an idea from McCain.

    As for who is "leading in the polls" Obama supporters should know better than anyone else that Obama ALWAYS does better in polls than he does in the actual vote. The polls had him winning South Dakota and Hillary slaughtered him. The fact that the most recent polls show a neck and neck battle is bad news for Obama.

    Obama is in trouble and he will look terrible in the "town hall meetings" which are McCain's strength. Obama fancies himself as some sort of messiah...a rock star performing in front of tens of thousands...who struggles in small goup discussions when he can't read off of a prepared script. Hillary destroyed him in debates.

    Be worried Obama supporters.

    June 8, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. CLYDE

    IF you disgruntled " Hillary supporters" are not just posers trying to stir up tensions you need to just give it up. All of your whining on all the blogs in the world will have no effect on any voter turnouts you can be sure. People are NOT stupid in general and wasteing your time trying to convince the world that YOU are so important and know more that the rest of us is silly and tiring.

    We can all expect this to only get worse as we all know now that Hilllary and Obama have teamed up the Democratic machine is going to run over McCain for sure.

    Trying to use these Blogs is just a Republican Lowbudget way to try and split us again...guess what...

    Been there done that!! ( and bought an Obama T Shirt)

    June 8, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. JC

    I agree with Senator McCain 100%.
    Let's return the presidential campaign to the American people, instead of treating it a media-driven event as it was in the primary.

    Now we have got these two nominees that seem to lean towards bipartisan. They were elected nominees exactly for this reason. The American people are very tired of in-fighting. We want to solve those important problems facing our nation.

    There may be hope this time.

    June 8, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Mauri

    McCain and Obama can town meet, have interviews and appear on cable networks all they want to. But the only true patriotic American, in word and deed, just dropped out. What would be interesting to see, however, is how the pundits, anchors and other paid political wordsmiths, can command any interest in this so-called democratic campaign prior to the general election. They spent all their energy hounding this smart and popular lady out of the race, and now, what on earth will they talk about?

    June 8, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. Connie from Logansport,IN

    Barack had better keep his eyes on his back. Old John is just trying to save his campaign money. Now that Hillary and her supporters are on board, old John had better watch for the steam roller coming his way. Obama will show old John what experience looks like.

    OBAMA 08

    June 8, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Shelby in Seattle

    Cant we just all get along?

    June 8, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. baljeet

    Barak Hussain Obama is full of hot air . He is just a smooth salesman. Mccain will have no problem defeating obama this fall . He can't count on the black votes alone to carry him because in general election they only makeup like 12%. Women hate him because he is a arogant rude person. I supported hillary and now i am working hard to get the hillary supports to back mccain because we all know he will bs a one term president , obama will neverrrr win the general election. Hillary 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 8, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Existenz

    Anyone who votes for McCain is basically voting for Bush's third term. If you enjoy record high gas prices, plummeting home values, a war in Iraq that never ends, then maybe McCain is your guy.

    Hillary is out of the race, but I'm going to heed her call and support Obama 100%. We've had enough of these corrupt Republicans and their big business policies. It's time for a fresh course. National health care, alternative energy, bringing the troops home, making America strong again - that's what Obama will do if we pull together and support him.

    McCain is too old (72 years old) and too much a part of the past.

    June 8, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. slevine

    Ingenious of the Obama camp to insist that the debates be LONGER. It is because the longer the debate, the better Obama will do, and the worse that McPain will do because he's old and tired.

    McCain will crash and burn in these debates. He doesn't do well thinking on his feet whereas that is Obama's specialty.

    Oh, the humanity!

    June 8, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. San Diego Moon

    THIS IS HILLARIOUS!!! Obama will dance circles around Grandpa. I hope Obama agrees to do all 10 town halls. Once he gives McSame the verbal beat down of his life in the first one, they will be changing his diapers during intermission because he is going to soil himself when he realizes what a disaster is was to commit to 10 of them right off the bat!!!

    Sound judgement McWarmonger!!!

    Obama 08-of course.

    June 8, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Connie from Logansport,IN

    To Steve, if you do not like the other channels new there is little gidget called a remote control. If you do not like the journalist. Change the channel stupid.

    June 8, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Concerned Citizen for America

    If I were Senator Obama, I would not engage in any debates until the nomination has been secured at the end of August. Until that time, I would have very little to say to the media who has actually enjoyed dividing the Hillary and Obama supporters like it was some sporting event. Yes, the media takes pride in the fact that they pick our Presidents.

    June 8, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. DAN

    Obama seems to be the great pretender, he likes to talk about special interests and lobbyist but why doesn't he agree to elections that are publicly financed which is way over due and is the right thing to do. If we had real media information we could also find out how much money in subsidies did he help get for Tony Rezko when he was an Illinois senator. These are legitimate questions that are not personal attacks but are important to know. It's one thing to say your against corruption it's another to put your money where your mouth is. Obama will you accept publicly fund elections for the sake of fairness in our democracy? Everyone should write Obama an email even Obama supporters and ask him to be for public payed elections, That would be positive change for the best.

    June 8, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. bebs

    It's amazing to me how much conversation surrounds Obama and McCain, the Democrats and the Republicans. Those of us who are sick of both parties have gotten smart: we vote Libertarian. I'm voting for Bob Barr for President. He's got the best policies of any candidate yet!

    Bob Barr '08

    June 8, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. Gina

    John McCain=Bob Dole part II

    Tired old pol given one futile chance from his party because they don't really expect him to win. Instead of tarnishing the political future of a newcomer, the GOP understands the mood of the country and has sent out old McCain as a sacrifice. If he's lucky enough to win, then it's a bonus, but it's no big loss if he's beaten. The GOP is like al-Queda, always thinking 2-3 steps ahead. Don't look for the GOP campaign to be any more than a token run this year. The sad thing is that McCain deserved better eight years ago, but now he's just a tired old GOP shill.

    June 8, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Tochi

    I'm sick and tired of the threats from Clinton supporters to vote McCain. If you're going to vote McCain then vote dont take up valuable space going over it. It is not a sin to vote McCain; he will do a decent job. So please go ahead and vote your heart and stop the brainless bleating.

    Mr T,
    London

    June 8, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. mel

    all he talk about is Iraq and Iran,but what about the local
    issues and this economy. Mr.Bush and his war have causes
    a great deal stress on ours country and the american peoples.
    The war needs to end McCain,and Ours mortgages situation
    is bad. The debate should be on local issues not the war and
    what is his plan on healthcare,gas,and food prices rising.Tell
    us about the mortgage problem.We do not want iran or Iraq
    discuss. Maybe talking is better than war,republican do not care
    about ours troops,just money and power.

    June 8, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. Mary in CT

    The hateful bloggers from all sides sound a lot like McCain & Co.'s new talking points, many of them designed to lure HRC women to vote for them. This is not the place to get information about anything, let alone the true feelings or beliefs of any candidates' supporters.

    One more thing: I carpooled (for two hours) with a conservative parent from my child's school, and he listened to Laura Ingraham, Bill O'Reilly, etc. all the way home. I didn't mind, because I like to hear opposing views. When we talked about politics, though, all he could say about Obama was "inexperienced", "naive", and of course "tax and spend", but he knew absolutely nothing about him and his background. I knew way more about McCain. The guy didn't even know about the savaging that McCain took at the hands of GWB in 2000, before he started sucking up to GWB and the right in the hopes of remaining relevant in the GOP! We all need to stop depending on soundbites and cable TV for our information. The presidency of the US is still the most important position in the US. Don't waste your vote. (Writing in is a waste of a vote - have you ever seen a count of who many votes Candidate X got? No, because they are not counted. You are disenfranchising yourself, and letting someone else vote for you.)

    June 8, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Montana is Obama Country

    I wonder if McWAR will want to cut his suggested 10 town meetings to less than 10.. ?? once he has a major gaffe..??

    McWar's deer in the headlights performance will only remind the country just how old he really is, how wrong he is, how out of touch he is and that he voted alongside of GW BUSH 95% of the time this year alone.

    Barack will perform very well and will think on his feet carefully about all the questions he could be asked. Barack was very attentive to town hall questionsing here in Montana... and I have a feeling Montana is not doen showing their support for Barack Obama in 2008...

    ........ ********** This RED state is turning BLUE in Nov..

    Yes...WE..Can...

    Yes..WE...Can...

    June 8, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. jason twombley-missouri

    Vig.and all you other hillary losers.....its over, she is a loser same as you

    June 8, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. jason twombley-missouri

    notice most of the fat women supporting hillary ? bowling balls with big mouths and not a clue of intelligence

    June 8, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Okaka

    Obama should remember Robert Kennedy and be suspicious of any invitation from the Republicans! Obama, do not be too weak to accept invitations for they may be traps for your soul. Move cautiously!

    June 8, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. CARMEN

    Am for Hillary!!!! I rather deal with another four years of the Republicans BS than vote for OBAMA!!!! Hillary in 2012.

    June 8, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. Operation Chaos

    Republicans, Republicans, Republicans it is not working. What you ask...Operation Chaos is old news. The Democrats have already started uniting. And, for those who switch to John McCain. Obama has a record numbers of Republican support. LMAO

    June 8, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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