June 4th, 2008
12:06 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain challenges Obama to town hall debates

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/04/art.mccaindeb.ap.jpg caption="McCain has raised the prospect of town halls with Obama before."] BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (CNN) - John McCain on Wednesday challenged Barack Obama to join him for a series of town-hall debates.

Calling for "no process questions from reporters" and "no spin rooms," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee proposed one debate a week from now until the Democratic party convention in August.

McCain cited a 1963 agreement between John F. Kennedy and Barry Goldwater to hold such debates as part of the 1964 election campaign. Kennedy was assassinated before the campaign began.

"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," McCain said in a letter to Obama released by McCain's campaign.

McCain suggested he and his rival travel together to the first one as a symbolic gesture.

He joked that his campaign would appreciate the budget savings. Obama has raised tens of millions of dollars more than McCain for his White House run.

The Obama campaign has not yet issued a response to McCain's proposal, though when McCain raised the prospect last month, the Illinois senator called it a "great idea."

Earlier: Obama open to joining McCain on trail

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. mollygonz

    To Here is the word: McCain compared to Reagan??? Yeah, right. Please..the only one McSame is like is Bush and there's no trying to convince us otherwise because fortunately, people are smarter than you think.

    June 4, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Aaron

    McCain is either very brave or very stupid to challenge a great speaker like Obama in a town hall.
    Obama, Hillary wants to sabatage you and your efforts.

    June 4, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. USAF Staff Sergeant

    What was with McCain's speech last night? It was awful.

    "That's not change we can believe in." Followed by a terrible attempt at a smile. How many times did he say that? At least five. It didn't drive home any message, it made him look like a foolish old man.

    June 4, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. DeniseGA

    McCain just want free air time!

    I say give him couple of more debates, but leave it at that! Don't tour with him, he wants Obama to foot the bill!

    June 4, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Keith

    McCain: you are a lost democrat trying to find his way in the republican party. You should have come over when you had the chance. We would have welcomed you. Now, you are just a big disappointment in the way of American progress ruining your own legacy. The conservatives don't like you and the liberals have found Obama and Hillary. Stay in the senate. It will be best for you.

    June 4, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Uncle Sam

    Who is Barack Obama?

    June 4, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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