June 8th, 2008
04:54 PM ET
10 years ago

Campaigns reject Bloomberg, ABC offer for televised town hall

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/08/art.mccain.gi.jpg
caption="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. Gloria

    I am convinced that Obama will outshine McCain in any venue. It is obvious that McCain is attempting to set up Obama for failure by suggesting 10 town hall debates with no moderators. But he will soon find out that Obama is adept at holding his own in any setting. McCain is "old school" in his thinking. Obama represents positive change. Let the games begin!!!!

    June 8, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. steve

    why don't people comment on the story, not on the general election?? This isn't the place for the "my guy's gona thrash your guy chat!"

    This story has absolutely nothing to do with whether Clinton's supporters will or will not vote for Obama, so don't comment on it. It has nothing to do with McCain's biography or Obama's experience, so don't talk about it!

    June 8, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. Bobby

    its funny how you republicans pose to be hillary Clinton supporters with hopes to drive democrat women to the republican party. I have news for you once Obama and the DNC puts the spotlight on your pro life judges you wish to put in office to overturn the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling on abortion and privacy rights for women ( Roe vs wade) republican and democratic women will vote in herds against mccain and vote obama so keep trying. I see these post all the time copy and past republican copy and past.

    Obama 08

    June 8, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Republican for Obama

    There is no possible way I can vote for McCain. I am a life long Republican but enough is enough. The failed policies, lies and lack of accountability of the Bush administration has this Republican supporting Obama.

    June 8, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. gregg45

    write in... hill yes

    June 8, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. Breaker

    The old America is dying – A new America is born.

    Obama for President!!!

    For Hillary supporters not voting or switching to McSame.

    Go on and do it, don't spead anymore hate and other BS, I don't believe for a minute, that you are true Democrats.

    But please stop the nonsense.

    June 8, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. RYAN

    MY 4yr old son will debate McCain without looking at the teleprompter, and without preparing for it...There 're so many issues facing our nation. I don't know what McCain will tell Americans.....that he is not part of Washington or he is a candidate of change as well...McCain is brain dead....yes! he has serve this country so as many of us, because he served doesn't mean he is entitle to the presidency, and experience is not how long you have been in Washington is how well you impact people's life.

    June 8, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. Mr. Genius

    To either Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama –

    In your consideration of VP candidates, you would do well to look at Nupur Lala. She can spell like crazy!

    I believe she would also look good in hot pants.

    June 8, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. Jones

    Anyone can debate McBUSH......EVEN LITTLE KIDS........

    June 8, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. Sheryl

    Re: (MN) John McCain's marriage to Cindy is his second marriage. John was in a failed marriage when he met Cindy age 25 and John was age 43. After divorcing his first wife, John immediately married Cindy.

    June 8, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. SB


    John McCain was a married man with children while he lay as a POW. When he was finally released and came home, he meet Cindy where they carried on an adulterous affair. Later he divorced his wife and and married Cindy. To this day he still pay his wife spousal support. This is probably why he and Cindy want do joint tax returns, so he will never have to increase her spousal support.

    June 8, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  12. Rah

    Seriously to you really think writing her in will get her elected. If you support Hillary so much GET BEHIND her and FOLLOW her lead, cause I'll tell you this, if her supporters do turn around and write her in and vote for McCain you guys will set back all the progress she has created for women and all the progress Obama has made for the progress of African Amercans. McCain and the republicans do not care for anyone other than Rich White Males. Look at who the dems had running for Prez......
    A woman
    A black man
    A Hispanic man
    A part Native American Man
    A White man

    Now for the republicans.....

    A white man
    A white man
    A white man

    Which one of these groups truly represent AMERICAN THE "Melting Pot" and inspiration of what America stands for.

    GET REAL!!!! Change must happen We need to regain our respect and ranking in the World and unite as Americans.

    June 8, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  13. Reality Check

    Some of you still havent figured out that "EXPERIENCE" AND GOOD JUDGEMENT ARE NOT THE SAME THING" We have $4.00/gal, a 5-year Iraq war, highest jump in unemployment in 30 years....etc due to the experience of John McSame, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush.

    There's probably close to 175 years of "experience" there but clearly there JUDGEMENT SUCKS.

    Go ahead and vote for McSame and guarantee your children and grandchildren a tour of duty in Iraq and/or Iran.

    June 8, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. Always A Democrat First

    I have a republican neighbor who told me that he comes on these blogs and portray himself as a Hillary supporter that would not vote for Obama just to get real Hillary supporters to follow his lead. He also shared with me that there are many other Republicans that are doing the same. The absolutely love doing it. They stated they know that it is the only way McCain will win. Think about it.

    June 8, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  15. Janet WV for Obama/Clinton

    You know what, I don't get what these Republicans mean when they say that experience is so important. If it means 4,000 dead soldiers based on faulty information, $4.00 gas per gallon, millions of homeowners in foreclosure, no healthcare plan, millions of people out of work and the mess that followed Hurrican Katrina, then thank the Lord for Sen. Obama and his "lack" of experience. To all the people who love this type of "experience" go right ahead and vote for the Republican agenda. No apologies are necessary!

    June 8, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  16. Always A Democrat First

    I have a republican neighbor who told me that he comes on these blogs and portray himself as a Hillary supporter that would not vote for Obama just to get real Hillary supporters to follow his lead. He also shared with me that there are many other Republicans that are doing the same. The absolutely love doing it. They stated they know that it is the only way McCain will win. Think about it.

    June 8, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  17. JB2

    HRC Supporters,

    If you want to vote for McCain, do us a favor by cutting the talk.
    You do not represent the millions of women who will see reason and get behind Barack. The delusional few who say they will vote for McCain will be more than comepensated by Republicans who cross over to vote demorcratic in november.
    It is indeed a pity that some so called 'red-necks' will vote for a Black President while some highly educated , qualifed , but deluded women will vote out of spite for a senile man.

    June 8, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. right on brother

    IAM A DEMOCRAT AND HAVE been all my life
    but there is alwaays a frist
    to to say let the obama supporters have him
    I will vots rep' [or] indep'
    look bye demo' DNC let them help obama or hamas lover

    June 8, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  19. Texan for Obama

    After the debacle C. Gibson and G. Stephanolous moderated and called a debate, I would hope Obama NEVER goes on ABC.

    That's a pitty because ABC used to provide objective news coverage...especially Gibson. Stephanalous is and has always been a sleeze. He rates right up there or down there with McClellan.

    I will be very anxious to see how Obama and McCain square off. I'm thinking no contest. McCain is not capable of talking about anything but the war and that is already getting very tiring. Again, we have to move forward and look to a stronger America by effective use of our resources.

    June 8, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  20. P. D.

    After Gibson's and (can't spell George's last name) disasterous performance, who would agree to be hosted by ABC?

    June 8, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  21. Boomer

    There are some very childish remarks in this forum. Anyone who was for Hillary Clinton and votes for McCain is a complete and utter traitor to Hillary and her causes. She said as much herself. All the people saying they don't vote for the party or principles but for the PERSON are dangerously close to indulging in the "cult of the personality". Even the old Soviet Union saw the danger in that kind of thinking. If you want four more years of Bush-type rule, then vote for McCain. If not, vote for Obama. Whatever you do, GROW UP and stop with the "emotional reasoning"!

    June 8, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Don Fl

    To all you Obama people, I am a 62 year old Dem & never voted for a
    Repub but this time I will be voted for Mccain. I voted for Clinton but this has nothing to do with the reason I will not vote for Obama. He has done nothing, he is all talk, he is a empty suit. I beleive in voting for the good of the country not any party. I really think Mccain is the best man for the job. Bush was going to change things too & look what we got, no thanks to you Obama people.

    June 8, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. MikeM

    Give disgruntled Hillary supporters some time. Very few are going to throw a hissy fit and stay home or vote for McCain once their emotions calm down. Obama shares almost all of the same issue positions as Hillary, while McCain believes the opposite.

    We saw what happens when these non-college educated voters make an emotional selection instead of an intelligent one: George W. Bush's disastrous presidency. Hillary's voters will come around. They backed a fine candidate who narrowly lost because her campaign forgot to make an effort in some smaller states and got pounded.
    That's no reason to doom the country to more Republican misery, and they'll see that in time. Hillary knows how important the election is, and will be campaigning for Obama on a regular basis.

    June 8, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. David

    I think people need to stop drawing attention to McCain's excessive age.

    In my opinion, he should be treated exactly like normally-aged people.

    June 8, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  25. eatbees

    Wow, check out these OT comments. I'd like to congratulate BOTH campaigns for doing the right thing and holding out for debates sponsored by the campaigns themselves, and open to all media, rather than hijacked by big media players with their own agenda.

    It would be great if both candidates are sincere and we really end up with a dignified, respectful debate on the issues. This particular combination, McCain vs. Obama is probably the only match-up from either party that could have offered us that chance.

    To those who aren't sure what Obama stands for or what his qualifications are, I would say, you start paying attention. This may be the fault of media coverage that focuses on the daily scandal instead of deeper issues. Let's hope these town hall meetings fix that problem, both for supporters and skeptics of Obama.

    I agree with TXBad1 that both candidates should spend more time in rural districts. I'll bet that Obama will spend more time in Texas before election day than any Democratic presidential candidate in 40 years. If he does, you'll give him a chance?

    June 8, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
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