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. Chris T

    Angry Clinton supporters do her a MAJOR disservice now that the primary is over (by the math, actually for some time). –Now, to seriously suggest voting for the third Bush term means you didn't hear her message which, I'm sorry, wasn't very different than Obama's. McCain would toss a credit at you on healthcare as the costs arguably go up with his proposal. Wake up! We are democrats and the future of America is in our hands. Maybe you live luxurously and can wait 8 more years, the rest of us can't, we need a change. The primary is over. Vote AGAINST McCain-don't kill democracy and make us seem like crybabies!

    June 8, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. EBC

    WHY are you Clinton and Obama supporters STILL carrying on in such a childish manner? DO you guys not get that your on the SAME team? What part of teamwork don't you people understand!!!

    Clinton Supporters – Are you so bitter that you are willing to betray your on candidate? It was very clear in Sen. Clinton's gracious speech yesterday that she urged ALL her supporters to UNITE and support Sen. Obama so that we ALL win in putting a Democratic President in Office. I mean is this how you HONOR your candidate by such betrayal and vindictiveness? That's TRULY a dishonor on your part. It's a TRUE SLAP IN Sen. Clinton's face from people who claim to "support her". How SAD is that.

    Obama Supporters – YOU need to STOP with the Clinton Bashing. It's OVER and Sen. Clinton ran a good race and she lost. She has honored Sen. Obama by endorsing him and graciously supporting him and encouraging her supporters to do the same. She has publicly stated that she will BACK SEN. OBAMA for the Presidency. So ENOUGH with the Clinton Bashing,

    The primary race is OVER and DONE. STOP rehashing the PAST, STOP talking about shoulda, coulda, woulda. IT'S OVER. We can't go back and we shouldn't. We need to move forward and FOCUS on the BIGGER PICTURE HERE. We need to UNITE if we are going to BEAT John McShame. We better start acting like a TEAM or we are going to LOSE the championship game and all YOU whinners will be the cause of the LOST!!

    STOP fighting, IT'S NOT HELPFUL and IT DOESN'T SOLVE ANYTHING!! THE PRIMARY IS OVER. There is only ONE Democratic Party now. Sen. Clinton has jumped on board and we need to MOVE forward and focus on winning. Bottom line.

    I'm SICK and TIRED of all these petty and vindictive comments in this blog. This is NOT about YOU.... so get OVER yourselves!!!

    If you want to vote for John McBush, then go vote for John McBush, but a true democrat would NEVER be such a traitor for selfish reasons. Only "closet" Republicans would do and state such a thing.

    A TRUE DEMOCRAT would never abandon their party because of their selfish egos....that's absurd.

    Bottom line, it's time both the Obama and Clinton supporters REALIZE that this is about winning in November and if they WANT to WIN, then they better STOP with the trashing and bashing and start putting their money where their mouths are!!!!

    Talk is CHEAP, it's your actions that matter!!

    I did not support Sen. Clinton, but if she had won the nomination, you bet your behind I would have supported HER over John McBush 150% !!! That's what a TRUE and LOYAL Democrat does, it's about the PARTY, it' NOT about my selfish ego.

    Come on people, get real here and stop all the "fuss" over nothing. Let's STAY FOCUS on winning the White House!!

    June 8, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. Chucky

    Obama should not be under McCain's pressure for a debate at the moment. He only secure the normination a couple of hours ago or days ago. He has his own plans as well and when the time is right McCacain's camp will be disorganised simple b'cos he is dealing with a small town organiser – Obama'08

    June 8, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. A True black American

    MaCain is doing the right thing, that is throw the media away. They have over stepped their boundary

    June 8, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. PATTY

    HOW WILL MCCAIN BE ABLE TO DO A TOWN HALL MTG W/OUT A TELEPROMPTER?

    June 8, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. Karen

    ABC, what a joke? They should never use ABC at all. Just think how biased it was towards Obama.

    June 8, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. John, College Park, MD

    Obama struggles when he is in an unscripted situation. McCain struggles in scripted situations. The town hall style debates are going to be a clear advantage for McCain. Obama can give a great speech but his writers won't be there for him when somebody asks a question he isn't realy for.

    June 8, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. SAN

    THIS RACE IS ABOUT 2 PEOPLE MCCAIN AND OBAMA...DISGRUNTLED HILLARY...ITES NEED TO GET A LIFE ...YOU HAVE 2 CHOICES PICK ONE AND GROW UP! NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR BOO HOO....ING....

    June 8, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Spencer

    For all you "no Hillary = I vote for Mccain" I dare you to go look up him laughing about Hillary being called the B-word on youtube. Just type in John Mccain its one of the top videos...then come back and complain about so-called Obama sexism. Got any smart comments to cover up that one??? Wonder why this isnt being made public??

    June 8, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. Bob

    Everybody needs to calm down before swearing up and down who you will and won't vote for come November. Some of the Hillary supporters are backing themselves into a corner with their rhetoric, and it's one that they just might regret. Do you really want to tell your grandkids in twenty years that you voted for McCain out of anger? Let's everybody relax a little bit and really think about what each of the candidates stand for.

    June 8, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  11. Puzzled

    To all you puerile Democrats (the words go together nicely, don't they?) who bray that you're going to vanquish John McCain, why don't you first pick up a copy of Garner's Guide to Modern American Usage? Then, perhaps you could understand how ignorant you sound. Believe me, this would be a better use of your time than the deadening bromides you write.

    June 8, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. PastTime4change

    What will McCain say? Lets stay in Iraq barack wants to "surrender" altho there isnt anyway of getting a war against extremist they are like cockroaches, gas prices are bad and obama opposes a "gas holiday" which would say three cents in the long one once the speculators and oil companies raise the price of gas anyways. He will say obama wants universal health care but I can give u a credit on your taxes altho 47 million kids women and men dont have health care..due to the lack of jobs who pays for it, money because they dont have a job to pay for the high prices the doctors charge per visit. What will he say about all the americans in the housing melt down? U guys are doing ok, our economy is doing great! No. its Past time for change, we dont want more of the same, From Citizen McCain and Republican party

    June 8, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  13. Spirit of America

    Bloomberg is itching to become a VP candidate on either, or both, tickets.

    June 8, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. JA

    Dear Hillary supporters,
    Please come to our side and support Barack Obama. We are begging you all. We need you. Pleaseee? Just for the sake of thousands of dying Americans and Iraqis? Wouldn't you feel ashamed if because of your vote for McSame or not voting at all, the war goes on forever, and thousands more die?

    June 8, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. PastTime4change

    What will McCain say? Lets stay in Iraq barack wants to "surrender" altho there isnt anyway of getting out of a war against extremist they are like cockroaches, gas prices are bad and obama opposes a "gas holiday" which would save three cents in the long run one once the speculators and oil companies raise the price of gas anyways. He will say obama wants universal health care but I can give u a credit on your taxes altho 47 million kids women and men dont have health care..due to the lack of jobs who pays for it, money because they dont have a job to pay for the high prices the doctors charge per visit. What will he say about all the americans in the housing melt down? U guys are doing ok, our economy is doing great! No. its Past time for change, we dont want more of the same, From Citizen McCain and Republican party

    June 8, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  16. Army Wife

    --no ABC
    --no Bloomberg

    Only CSPAN or PBS.

    June 8, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  17. TP17

    Obama talks about being a uniter and respecting Hillary and her voters but do his actions follow his words? Doesn't appear like it. While Clinton was giving her speech on Saturday where was Obama? He was playing GOLF. Another sign of lack of respect and arrogance by the ELITIST OBAMA. Another reason for Hillary supporters to vote for McCain.

    June 8, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA

    THIS IS A VERY SMALL MAN WITH EVEN A SMALLER

    MIND, TRYING TO UNDERMINED SENATOR OBAMA.

    June 8, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. FYI

    Write in Hillary if you like, but be aware that most states do not count write-in votes in a presidential general election, unless the candidate files as a write-in. And some states don't count them at all. If you don't believe me, Google it.

    June 8, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. No McSame

    What kind of man if you can call him one would leave his wife after she has gotten into a car accident and get badly hurt? John McSame.

    June 8, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. LIAR OBAMA

    Just watch........................obama will not want a question/answer format with the audience. Instead he will want to give a speech. AND he'll want to speak AFTER McCain. The fool is nothing but an empty suit.
    McCain 08

    June 8, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    YEA THIS IS THE MAN THAT TRASHED OUR ECONOMY

    WITH HIS 100 YEAR WAR. HE DOES NOTHING BUT LIE

    ABOUT EVERYTHING INCLUDING ALL THE THINGS

    BUSH LIED ABOUT.

    June 8, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. Dave

    It is hard to believe how immature the Clinton supporters are being. They really need to grow up and behave like adults. Hillary and Barracks proposed policies were nearly identical proving my point that they are threatening to vote against Obama purely out of spite. I really don't think Obama will need these voters to defeat McCain in November. He will take advantage of the 18-40 age groups who see something very refreshing in Obama's campaign, transparency.

    June 8, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. et from Washington State

    Since I care about the future of the Supreme Court I WILL BE VOTING DEMOCRATIC IN THE FALL however I just wanted to remind everyone that the "mainstream media" is really CORPORATE MEDIA they have a vested interest in keeping the hatred flowing in the Democratic Party we must remember these corporations are for the most part Repulbican leaning ... DO NOT TAKE THE BAIT.... stay strong ... stay Democratic .... GO OBAMA GO!!!!

    June 8, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. CB

    I AM DESPERATE TO LEAVE A BETTER WORLD TO MY DAUGHTER, and coming generations.

    We must make investments NOW to get us off oil. Its going to take time, but if we don't start now, it will be too late.

    That is why I must vote for Obama. I trust him to INVEST IN AMERICA – and in our future. I trust him to not play the old Washington games that have got us stuck in a legislative stalemate over the environment.

    Obama got my support when he refused lobbyist money and said he'd invest in education, teachers, and have health care meetings not dominated by lobbyists, and protect social security.

    We must top spending our kids future in Iraq. We must invest in the US.

    June 8, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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