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. Go Hillary


    I agree with Hoang UC Berkely !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 8, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Peter E

    After all the inflamatory and insulting questions the press put all the candidates through this primary season I am not surpirsed they reject media moderation. Obama and Hillary bore the brunt of the media's polarizing coverage, who couldn't stop nit-picking speeches, unapologetically misinterpreting comments, and focusing on everything from pundit talking points through personal finances and of course racism... everything BUT the issues.

    June 8, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. KDH

    I would vote for Obama if I did not question his character so much. He handled the whole Wright situation like a true politician. Just the type that he claims he is not.
    Bottom line is he cannot be trusted. He says one thing and does something different. He is no different than all the other politicians. I am disappointed in him.

    June 8, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Henry Lukenge

    U all talk about experience but the best presidents to have ruled American never had long washington resumes. Ronald regan, Bill clinton, JFK . All never had xxxxxxx years in Washington. For the record experience is not how long you take doing something but how well you do it. Clinton turned an enonomy in the red into the blue by not going to Iraq or fighting with the Chinese. He never stalked up wars so fuel prices remained stable. Talking instead of war posturing shelves almost 30% of a barrel of crude if know ur facts.

    Americans wake up? miss this chance and ur kids will never forgive you. Do the right thing. Vote Barack

    June 8, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |

    What's up with the fist bump? THAT IS JUST SO GHETTO!!!!!!!!!!

    June 8, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. Peter E

    I'm laughing my head of! All these Obama supporters who were outraged when people started picking apart Obama's and his wife's speeches are now telling the media to start asking questions about the personal life of John McCain. Can't you see the hypocrisy in that?

    Focus on the ISSUES people! Issues like the war in Iraq, the economy, education, health care. You know, stuff that will actually impact you!

    June 8, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. Teri from Ohio

    A vote for Clinton is now a vote for McCain. It's obvious that there are many biased, ignorant people who aren't thinking straight. Obama is someone who wants to change the way the government has been operating. As others have said, look at his website. Don't listen to the gossip, the pundits & people who don't know what they are talking about! BUSH HAD MANY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AND LOOK WHERE IT"S GOTTEN US. If you want more years of the same, vote for McCain. Look at his record of voting FOR Bush policies. I WANT A BETTER FUTURE FOR MY CHILDREN! We can only get that with OBAMA!

    June 8, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. Peter E

    Let's see if Obama finally learned to debate. He was torn to shreds in the primary debates. He is not a debater. He can give loud stump speeches, but when asked an actual question about issues, apparently he doesn't even know what his own policies are. Unless he learned from those awful performances he'll be run over by McCain in the debates like a steamroller over a hollow egg shell. But then again that's all what Obama's entire campaign is: hollow!

    June 8, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. James L

    Such a format would be nice. ... especially since we would really get to see if McCain is in fact just a continuation of the Bush policies. ... if that is the case then I would expect Obama to crush him. It seems like a big gamble for McCain. ... but who knows. ... so I say make it happen. ... I don't want to see those 30 second sound bites anyway from either of them. ...

    June 8, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. Kathy

    The DNC failed its constituents’ miserably in falling to acknowledge every vote cast and counted in Michigan and Florida..period. The principals for which the party was founded are simple…one voice..one vote. As far as the “rules” pertaining to the date of which a state is suppose to hold its primary-I say—to hell with these arbitrary rules put in place by political party elitists-they undermine the founding principles of the party by disenfranchising those who showed up to vote. The voters in these states had no voice in these decisions, but they went to the polls anyway, and they voted, even if they voted “uncommitted”. And this nonsense about how these votes would not count because they broke the rules, thus possible encouraging these voters to stay home—I say ridiculous. If you are a registered voter and as so, those that did not go to the polls—well I guess they did not take their privilege to vote seriously.
    By disenfranchising those that did vote, the DNC intentionally disenfranchised and abandoned the strongest candidate to head the ticket- Hillary. She with her tremendous strength, knowledge and courage was tossed aside for an ill-qualified community organizer with two years of Senate experience. Let me make clear, I do not hate Obama however I firmly believe him to be the weakest candidate to head the ticket. Those same party leaders did not have the courage to realize this and they will pay a price for their stupidity. I have heard those same party leaders repeatedly say, well gee, what would we say to the African American voter, and all those newly registered college folk who backed Obama-that would be a against our principals to “take” the nomination away from him, I say BULL. To the 92% of the African Americans and those college folk who apparently voted overwhelmingly for Obama, I ask…. where have you been all these years when the party needed your votes in prior elections--then you stayed home, or failed to register and vote.
    I have been a loyal supporter of the party my entire adult life-no more. You have shown me time and time again that you are gutless and have no clear clue how to win elections. You lack the vision and the wisdom to do anything other than pat your own pockets and run from the truth-for shame.
    I do not speak for all Hillary supporters, though I do hope I speak for many of them when I say to the party…. you have failed us-you have failed Hillary, and you will once again fail to win the White House, and because of your failure-the party WILL pay a high price. I watched and listen to Hillary ask her supporters to now throw their support to Obama, for the sake of the party. Hillary is a loyalist to the party-why, I’m not sure-because I am no longer so. Well with the deepest respect for Hillary, I will not, with my vote, allow the “rape” of her candidacy to continue. Come Nov I will exercise my right and vote for McCain-two can play the same game. I respect Hillary tremendously, however the party and the process did her wrong and this cannot stand. YES THIS WILL BE A PROTEST VOTE, a vote against the DNC-you need to clean your act up and remember your core constituents, because “Yes We Can” make a difference.
    I am not afraid of McCain, he does not represent 4 more years of Bush-no one could possibly be that stupid. I believe him to be a man of honor who will do his best for this country and its people that he cares deeply for, and for that reason I will place my hope with him. I’d rather hedge my bet on a man of honor than to vote for the voice of chatter. who promises everything to everyone. I say go back to Chicago, drink your green tea and eat your arugula, and O by the way, clean up the mess in your own back yard. And one last thing-no I am not “bitter”-disenfranchised and very angry at the party—yes.

    June 8, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  11. Peter E

    After his terrible performances in the primary debates Obama wouldn't accept any format that doesn't start with 'take it easy on me, attack the other guy.' His strength is stump speeches. Loud, repetitive, hollow stump speeches. So unless the debates are fixed, McCain will pumel him into the ground by ACTUALLY focusing on the issues, stating ACTUAL facts, and making REAL arguments, NONE of which Obama has EVER done throughout the primaries.

    June 8, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. Peter

    Mccain is freaking out and the media is helping him define Obama early when he has taken a vacation. Look at cambell Brown and John Roberts weekend CNN trying to swiftboat Obama. How low are we gonna go. Thank God the Primaries taught Americans about each candidate and no suprises here.

    June 8, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. mary

    I think the town hall meetings should come after the conventions of both parties.The canidates should spend their time going from city to city across the country for the people to get to know them better before the convention.If and when there will be a town hall meeting with both canidates there should be no more than five town hall mettings .There should also be debates between the two canidates.Having ten town hall meetings will certainly deminish time spent among the majority of voters.

    June 8, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    It is clear thr news networks cannot be trusted they let Bush go to war that sent 4100 troops to there death with faulty and fabricated intelligence. This should be the number one story on CNN and every other channel across America.

    It is sad to see that the journalism in this country has lost the meaning of responsibility to the American people. 4100 troops are dead from the Iraq War; and know one cares mainly because the media has made it that way. Bush sent them and McCain voted to back Bush this is the real story.

    Who can we trust the media to fair to Obama, ABC shows that the can be paid off.

    June 8, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Doug

    You know, I think McCain is really taking a calculated gamble here. I understand that he is being dominated by Obama in funds raised. These debates give him free media exposure that he wouldn't have otherwise. But if I were his campaign, I'd have to ask if he really wants to be seen...and to be seen directly alongside Obama. McCain is 5'7" tall and Obama is 6'2". McCain is 71 years old. Obama is 46 years old...25 years younger. McCain is going to stand up before the American people and try to sell them on staying in Iraq for a number of more years. Right or wrong, Obama is going to tell people he wants to bring the troops home.

    Is that the kind of side-by-side exposure McCain really wants? He's only 1 point behind Obama and leading right now in some crucial battle ground states. I'd avoid debates like the plague and hope the lack of money doesn't come back to haunt me. It seems safer to me.

    June 8, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. Rafael Richmond VA

    You Obama people are in for a great reality check come November 2008. Can't you see your guy can't win? This is the year a Democrat was supposed to landslide the country and Obama is ahead by only 2.5 according to RCP. The electoral vote is very different than the popular vote and it is not looking good for Obama on a supposed (Democrat) election year!

    Former Democrat turned Independent

    June 8, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. EJDubya

    What experience? Neither candidate has any experience as President. The only eligible people with experience as President today are Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. NOBODY, except an incumbent running for a second term has any experience in that job. Enough with the experience rap already. What the President needs is VISION. Imagination. Calmness. Thoughtfulness. Presence of mind. So, the question is, do you want a President who sees bogeymen an scary things around every corner, waiting to pounce, and who will react without thinking? Or do you want a President who sees possibilities, opportunities, and who will consider the options before reacting us into another disastrous war. I believe the choice is clear.

    June 8, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    It is clear thr news networks cannot be trusted they let Bush go to war that sent 4100 troops to there death with faulty and fabricated intelligence. This should be the number one story on CNN and every other channel across America.

    It is sad to see that the journalism in this country has lost the meaning of responsibility to the American people. 4100 troops are dead from the Iraq War; and know one cares mainly because the media has made it that way. Bush sent them and McCain voted to back Bush this is the real story.

    How can we trust the media to be fair to Obama, ABC shows that the media can be paid off.

    June 8, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. Fernanda

    I think everybody has the right to listen the nominees about the issues that are important to our Country and then decide about who is the best candidate for the Job. So I too think they made the right decision.

    this note is for Democrats only:
    Some Hillary supporters say they are not going to vote, or worst, they are going to vote for McCain (!!!). If you don't want to vote for Obama, at least vote against Mccain! You owe it to your country people. saying that you can wait another 4 years for Hillary (and, of course, vote for McCain) is just nonsense. Our Country can't wait 4 more years.

    Now this is serious, a comment I've just read: "Why should I have loyalty to the party, to the country and to the nominee?"

    OK, not to the party or the nominee, but not for your Country? Are you serious?

    June 8, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. rachel

    I would be interested in seeing these town hall meetings. I am not that comfortable with barack or john. Maybe seeing john and barack one on one will let me really see what they are about. I feel homeless. I try not to hold hard feelings on hillary's loss but its hard when obama joked about her beign likeable enough, michelle sayings she'd have to really think before voting for hillary, the media's obession with hillary's pantsuits, accusing her of pimping out her grown daughter, the hillary nut cracker. No one said anything until now, not the dnc, not obama not michelle. I will have really just take time to think about where my vote goes.

    June 8, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Angel

    Obama/Clinton 08 DEMS UNITE!!!!

    June 8, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. shell

    sounds like good idea... I'm Republican turned obama supporter and I respect hillary and all her supporters, but this country needs a democrat in the white house, whether it was Hillary or Obama, this Republican party sent our country down the hole. =(

    June 8, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. Kenneth M.

    University of Penn State: Look around, Look around. Slick Hillie is gone. Best you be facing that fact and move on.

    June 8, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. annie

    They should have a townhall meeting sponsered by FOX – the only news media left that is still pretty much unbiased. Whoops, I forgot barack hussein obama is afraid of FOX – they actually ask REAL questions!

    June 8, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. Kristi from AZ.

    Bill from Cleveland,Ohio-YOU are the one that is making a fool out of yourself. Did you even watch any of the 22 debates,because if you did you would have seen that Barack had MANY disagreements with Hillary!! Helen, NY-What makes you so sure that John McSame is ready to be President. He claims to be an expert on Iraq, but he mixes up Sunni and Shia. He claims to know what the troop levels are,but he gets that wrong too. He jokes about having our troops over there for 100 years and jokes about bombing Iran, but yet when it comes to supporting our troops and veterans he doesn't even bother to show up to vote for giving them the veterans the benefits they deserve. He says the New G.I. bill is too generous? The VA was VERY generous to him when got out of the military, so why can't he be just as generous to our troops and veterans today?

    June 8, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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