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. Tiffany

    To all Hillary's supporters, if you are really concerned for Hillary you will support Obama because Hillary said to support Obama and also Hillary is putting her full support behind Obama. Not to vote Obama is going against everything Hillary stands for. All Hillary supporters you heard her speech so let us as Democratics come together as a family. If HIllary had of won the Obama supporters would have to come together as a family too.

    June 8, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. rw in ct

    Steve above :PBS or C-SPAN…………..the rest keep the he11 out of it
    Professional journalism is dead in America……

    In total agreement. I watched Hillary's speech on CSPAN so that I would not subject myself to Brazile's vile bs.

    "We will remember in November" ... vote McCain.

    McCain is a centrist, I don't want the radicals of the 60's pulling the strings of government, footage from that era looks scary.

    June 8, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. sophia nyc

    I for one can't wait to see them together. i bet there will be a huge shift to Obama after you see the energy (and lack thereof) in the candidates.

    June 8, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. TXBad1 ( ex Democrat)

    Obama on Civil Rights Hummmm, if thats not Racial motivated then I don't know what is! what about the other ethnicity's in the country, Including the white Voters!
    Plan to Strengthen Civil Rights

    “The teenagers and college students who left their homes to march in the streets of Birmingham and Montgomery; the mothers who walked instead of taking the bus after a long day of doing somebody else's laundry and cleaning somebody else's kitchen — they didn't brave fire hoses and Billy clubs so that their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren would still wonder at the beginning of the 21st century whether their vote would be counted; whether their civil rights would be protected by their government; whether justice would be equal and opportunity would be theirs. . . . We have more work to do.”

    — Barack Obama, Speech at Howard University, September 28, 2007

    June 8, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. White folks please coming from a white man

    Those who say they will write Hillary name on the ballot shows how uneducated her supporters really are. I'm starting to believe the media about the non uneducated voters who supports Hillary. Wow! wake up America or should I say the Hillary supporters.

    Go Obama

    June 8, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. SamSunny

    Why would Obama even think about doing anything with ABC after the one sided smear they did on him last time.

    To Hillary Supporters. I know you are feeling badly about her campaign. She is an intelligent woman who has served this country well. But to sit around and say Obama did all these things to her is just not true and shows you are not using your intelligence. Voting for McCain will hurt Hillary in the long run. Think about it. Vote with your head not your heart. Some of the stuff you are saying sounds absolutely childish.

    McCain stands for everything Hillary stands against. You would be voting against your own self interest, and why? Of course I think most really ridiculous remarks here are republicans pretending to be Hillary Supporters. Or young children who can't control their stupid remarks.

    June 8, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. jennym

    When Hillary and Bill were elected they were the "outside" Washington Candidate... so what is the big deal ?

    This is not the first time people have chosen someone not in Washington long .. that is what CHANGE means.

    Hoang -Berkley geeeeeeeeeeez you sound like a spoiled child . Most years few people get to participate in the primaires in a meaningful way because the candidate is chosen after about 10 contests. It is NOT just about the PERSON, it is about the person whose policies match where you would like to see the country go . Hillary and Barack are nearly identical on policy ... sooo this is just a 2 year old fit you are throwing .. and it is very juvenile .. you want respect ? Then grow up .

    June 8, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  8. raeNY

    mccain can't even talk . i can't wait for those debates. i know obama is going to whup mccain.

    June 8, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. Tea Jenny

    The leaders of our Government here in America is always trying to solve the problems of other countries such as those in the Middle East : India and Pakistan, and a number of third world counteries. Those counteries main problems seem to stem from their differencies in culture and religion and that will never change.

    The American government now need to focus on itself and stop trying to fix the problems of others. The wars of Europe in the Middle Ages and the problems that Great Britian faced governing the different religions & cultures within their former colonies have now reared its head in the USA.
    America is a nation built up of peoples from all over the globe who have brought their various biases & cultures with them.

    Political fights in the future will be no different than those of
    Muslums & Jews, Protestants & Catholics ; the Sunis & Sheites -Greeks & Turks-Hindus & Pakistanis ,British & Irish etc.

    Just history repeating itself. Each voting for the race, religion or culture they most feel comfortable with and not really policies of the the candidates.

    It is understandable then why there seem to be so many angry people voicing their opinions during this election.

    June 8, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  10. Will smith

    This is to all HRC supporters that said they would not vote for Obama, or they would rather vote for Mccain. Good, remember this election is not about HRC, Obama and or Mccain. It is about you. If you like Bush adm, or the way the GOP ran the country over last seven years, then vote for MCcain. Think about the premium you pay in health care insurance. Think about costant lost of jobs in the news, home foreclosure reaching a record. guest who will be paying $4 per gallon at the pump, is you, not Hillary, nor Obama, not even MCcain. Hillary don't even know how to operate gas pump, not even coffee machine (remember Indiana primaries). These guys are millionaires, Hillary and Bill made over 110 millions over lthe ast six years, Obama made about 2 millions in the same period, ( from his books), MCcain wife has one of the largest beer distributions in the country. Mccain and wife are millionaires many times over. I don't give a fk for those women that don't want to vote for Obama. They will bear the brunts of reversal of Roe vs Wade when Mccain have it ways and reverse women ability to choose. Oh, how about Mccain sending their sons and daughters to fight and die in senseless war in Irag. Nobody here is voting for no one, but yourself. Think deep about it, after HRC lost, she is returning to her mansions either the one in NY or WDC, she will be taking vacation in the coming weeks. I don't know many of you in this blog that can afford to take a vacation, or have taken one in recent time. I call you guys bluff, vote for whom you care. I don't think I give a fck.

    June 8, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. J. Odo

    McCain is afraid to debate Obama in any forum that might put forth difficult questions – as what is the status of coal liquifaction in the USA - or how many troops are really in Iraq.

    Obama should do a couple of these living room events that McCain wants, but the insist on real debates with professional moderators.

    June 8, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  12. Proud American

    Lets Go Dems!!!!!!!!!

    June 8, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. Eric Steele

    Bill from Cleveland I think the only person here that doesn't have a clue is yourself. This isn't about Barack Obama Or Hillary Clinton it's about the American People that's struggling to Pay the Bill's and put Gas in there tank's and putting Food on the table. Sir i think you need to get a clue.

    Eric
    Chicago, Il

    June 8, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  14. An Actual Moderator

    Wow, do the Republicans-pretending-to-be-Clinton-supporters just sit here hitting "refresh" every five seconds so they can always have the first comment?

    Seriously, you guys are pathetic. It must REALLY tick you off that we all figured out that you never were Clinton supporters in the first place ... no Clinton supporter, ANYWHERE, would so willingly sabotage their chosen candidates own policies, ideals, and desires. Let the Repugs pack the Supreme Court and overturn Roe v Wade? No problem! Stay in Iraq for God-knows-how-long? Sure! Abandon any hope of universal health care? Why not! Watch our economy spiral into a bottomless abyss of hopeless failure while the rich ride their tax cuts - their 30 pieces of silver - all the way down? Great idea!

    Yeah. THAT'S plausible. It's soooooooo believable that someone with these opinions was ever - EVER - a Clinton supporter or Democrat.

    Seriously, you're more pathetic and sad than the 43-year-old losers living in their parents' basement who log into chat rooms pretending to be 15-year-old girls. That's all you are and all you'll ever be: People whose own identity is so worthless and reviled that they desperately need to pretend to be someone else, so maybe someone will listen to them.

    I laugh at your shameful, sorry, and failed lives. :-)

    June 8, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  15. Margaret

    to U of Penn State

    Thank you! It's so refreshing to hear a Clinton supporter that takes the time to think and not just react.

    I realize a lot of Clinton supporters are upset that she lost, but PLEASE I am tired of hearing how the DNC, the media, Obama and everyone else on the planet stole the nomination from her. She ran a great campaign but it was too little too late. Obama has been very gracious towards her, praising her often, yet her supporters insist that he disrespected her?? Obama won and we all watched it, there was no cheating, if she had won the most delegates, and the nomination, I would have voted for her in the General. I am saddened that our young people are being taught that rules don't matter and you can change the rules if that will help you win.

    My kids and grandkids should not have to suffer because some people are so upset they will put us through another 4 years of the Republicans.

    June 8, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  16. Norm

    Many Hillary supporters think that they can vote for McCain and that IF Obama loses they will have a chance to vote for Hillary in 2012. WRONG!!! The DNC is finished with the Clinton Clan. They will defeat her in 2012 all over again. IF she gets a chance in 2012, her concession speach will come much sooner. COUNT ON IT!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 8, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  17. James

    The brilliant and gifted Senator Clinton easily won every televised debate with Obama. She was much stronger than Obama in every category that we measure a U. S. President by. It is a pity that people did not realize her greatness untill after she gave her recent brilliant concession speech.

    The naive Obama, demonstrated mendacity and arrogance in his behavior throughout the campaign, highlighted by NAFTA-gate and BITTER-gate; his poor judgement, and also his gross inexperience in foreign policy, was highlighted by his backtracking on his initially agreeing to meet unconditionally and without low-level preliminary discussions with countries like North Korea, Cuba, and Iran. Obama's withdrawal strategy from Iraq leaving Iraq vulnerable to Iran infiltration of heavily armed militias into Basra to deny all those oil revenues from Baghdad after his ludicrous unconditional withdrawal of all U. S. troops from Iraq by May 2010 is yet another example of his complete inability to handle the toughest job in the world!! I hope McCain defeats Obama in the November 2008 election, because McCain said last week "I will never surrender Iraq!".

    I hope McCain is a one term President, as Senator Clinton could try again for the Democrat nomination, and win it this time, and then win a landslide victory in November 2012, as the American people will finally realize by then that "soaring rhetoric" attributed to Obama by the Los Angeles Times does not make him anything but a bag of hot air.
    I think McCain will win the November 2008 election because the Reagan Democrats will vote for McCain rather than Obama, who apparently is willing to allow the American sacrifice in Iraq to become part of the ash heap of history. Look to the large swing states heavily populated by Reagan Democrats, such as myself, to make the difference in the victory for McCain: California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc., the states that Hillary won in the Primaries over Obama.

    June 8, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. janey

    I have no interest in reading about Obama. He has enough of himself and his psychoses in his "audicity of Obama Hype" that I get scared just thinking about him and that 3AM phone call. The title was in honor of his mentor and uncle, Jeremiah Wright. If the AA's can be disloyal to the Clintons and "bite the hands that fed them", I certainly feel no guilt deserting a democratic party that lied, cheated and stole to get their AA elected. Obama is too radical and will raise my taxes to help those same people who do not want to work, and want me to work hard for their kids' education. Not in your lifetime, Obambi!

    June 8, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. Mario

    To Hillary upset voters (like Hoang above): you vote the way you want. For me, I want my ideas and ideals represented by the next President and for sure McCain does not come close to representing either Hillary or Barack positions which are the postions of the democratic party. Barack won the primaries based on the rules that were set at the beginning and that everyone understood. Clinton failure was her own doing.
    Now go vote for McCain but then don't complain if any of Hillary positions, ideals for which she fought all her life, will not be promoted.
    If you are personality obsessed, then write in Brittney Spears. If you want a battle of ideas and programs, then vote the one that more closely represents yours.

    June 8, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. Pete

    "Hoang, UC Berkeley" has it wrong! You vote for a president who shares your values. If "Hoang, UC Berkeley" was a Hillary Clinton follower and chooses to vote for McCain or stay home, then "Hoang, UC Berkeley" has no values. In other words "Hoang, UC Berkeley" has no backbone and did not know for what reason he/she was a Hillary follower.

    June 8, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. LJ

    FOR EVERY SO-CALLED HILLIARY TURNED MCCAIN VOTER BLOG I READ, I COMMITT TO REGISTRING 1 NEW VOTER TO VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA. PEOPLE SAY BARACK HAS NO EXPERIENCE, WELL GEORGE BUSH HAD EXPERIENCE AND DID A HORRIBLE JOB IN THE WHITE HOUSE. SO WHAT DOES EXPERIENCE MEAN!!!A SENSELESS WAR, MORTAGE CRISIS, POOR ECONOMY, HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ALL FROM A MAN WITH EXPERIENCE.

    June 8, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  22. Hoang, UC Berkeley

    THIS IS A RESPONSE TO B. Churchill AND The Truth Hurts

    So, what you guys saying is that Democrat voters should close their eyes and follow whatever, whoever the Democratic Party chooses? !!!!????

    Talking about the issues, what if I DON'T LIKE OBAMA'S IDEAS AND PLANS? What if I THINK HIS PLANS ARE WEAK AND LOUDSY AND IN THE END WILL NOT FIX ANYTHING? What if I THINK HE'S AN UNDECIDED GUY AND WILL NOT DO A GOOD JOB IN THE WHITE HOUSE? And personally what if I SIMPLY DON'T TRUST THE GUY.

    So now, if I have all of these issues with him, but because of the Party, I have to get in line and vote for him? vote for a person I have issues with and don't trust?

    Can I just simply have my right to vote for the PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE that shares my views and opinions, the one that I trust?

    I don't like either McCain or Obama, instead of sitting home and not caring about politics like many many Americans, can I just simply go to the poll and write Hillary in to put my voice into the country's most important election? I know it is a tiny one, but if many many do the same thing, it's gonna be big. Everything has to start with one, more often unsual.

    June 8, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. Harin

    Funny how the comments in these things degrade so quickly. As to the topic, I cannot blame either campaign for rejecting ABC's offer. As to the die-hard Clinton fans, I doubt anything Hillary or Obama says or does will change the minds of those who resent Obama and his supporters as the upstarts. Experience is a weak argument against Obama in a change election against the very epitome of experience in John McCain. Not even Hillary can claim to coming close to the experience of John McCain if you're looking for someone truly vetted and experienced in Washington politics.

    June 8, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. Tangi

    ONCE AGAIN, THE BILLARY'S SUPPORTERS FAILED TO REALIZE THAT
    BILLARY WILL HAVE THEIR $109MIL+, AND YOU GUYS WILL BE IN FOODSTAMPS, AND THINKING THAT YOU CAN PAY FOR YOUR HIGH GAS PRICES WITH THEM. GET OVER IT AND DON'T VOTE FOR MR. OBAMA BECAUSE HE'S NOT YOUR SHADE, BUT KEEP HIS MOTHER IS WHITE. BARACK OBAMA IS A VERY INTELLIGENT MAN AND HE KNOWS WHAT ITS LIKE NOT HAVE. BUT FOR ME, HE HAS MY VOTE AND WE WILL SEE HIM AT HIS SWEARING IN ON JANUARY 2OTH.

    MR. PRESIDENT OBAMA!!! SEE IT NOW 2008-12!!!

    June 8, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    John McCain is a joke saying he wants to talk about issues of today when what he means is let's talk about war in Iraq and bombing Iran. He's in a real fix because nobody is beating the drumbs for war and he doesn't understand the economy. It's too late for McCain to take economics 101 and I'm sure Obama is not going to try and teach him.

    June 8, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
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