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. Matt, PA

    To all you "disenfranchised democrats". By your measure I am probably a child, and so by your eye probably lacking in knowledge. I can tell you, however, that Barack Obama is the most inspirational person I have ever seen. Even if he had lost to Hillary, though, I would have voted for her. I may dislike her but they both stand for the same thing. A democrat is a democrat, and if you think otherwise shame on you. If you can call yourself a democrat then you will agree with Obama's views much more than McCain's. Do you really want him as president? I understand you may not like him as a person – in many cases unreasonably so – but would you really want 4 more years of almost literally George Bush? Ask yourself that. It becomes a sad world when a "child" can think more logically than nearly 35% of Hillary supporters.

    June 8, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. Jo Ann

    um wonder why McCain want townhall meeting? Obama don't < McCain set the the pace or tone in this election continue to be your own man. Continue to have your rallys as well town hall meeting. McCain surely cannot draw the people like you can at rallys and he knows it as well. Invite him to one of your rallys to discuss the issues see if he will accept.

    June 8, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. JeffRob

    Clinton supporters:
    Please, please, please GET. OVER. IT.

    This unnecessary war is costing us millions of dollars A MINUTE. Wouldn't you like your kids and grandkids to have school books without pages missing, and information from the last 10 years? THEN VOTE FOR OBAMA.

    If Hillary was the nominee, I would be saying the same thing about her, have no doubt. BUT IT'S OVER.

    We need you, Hill-fans! We're all Dems here. No hard feelings, right?

    June 8, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |

    Ther's an old saying............... He who cares the most will lose.
    McCain cares very much for America and her people.
    Obama cares only for himself and his agenda.

    I will vote for McCain and hope and pray that he wins for our country's sake.

    June 8, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. VT in Atlanta

    One or two town hall style meetings is fine. However, Barack should not agree to more than that. He should plan his own campaign and not let McCain decide how to let the American people get better acquainted with him.

    Run your show McCain and Obama will do the same.

    Obama 08/12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 8, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. Florida not for Barack Obama - Ever

    here is a messeage for all you from Orlando, Florida. McCain you have just inherit 18 million voters to your camp.

    June 8, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  7. changed heart towards hillary

    I am a die hard obama fan who was as bitter as most at hilary for the campaign she run and for her refusal to acknowledge him on tuesday as the winner. HOWEVER after her speech on saturday she has changed my mind towards her and I would like him to pick her as his VP. Not because of the idle threats of hillary supporters but (call me stupid) I actually believe her that she will work hard for Obama, and that she is the most qualified for the second slot.

    Just my humble opininon as a College educated black man down here in Jacksonville, Florida

    June 8, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. Bob

    Thank God both campaigns have rejected using the "press" to moderate future debates. As the primaries made clear, reporters do an awful job asking fair and relevant questions in a debate format, often focusing on trivia aimed at boosting TV ratings rather than shedding useful light on the candidate's positions or qualifications.

    June 8, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  9. Billiam the Kid

    To the cowards like Helen and Rick: You guys don't get it. This isn't about you, or me, or Hill, or Obama. This is about this Country. For the one's that say they will vote for McCain, so be it. Obama, Hillary, and McCain ARE ALL MILLIONAIRES. So will you really be hurting them?? I doubt it. But., when your house gets foreclosed on, your cars get repo'd, and your sons, daughters, husbands, brothers, or WHOEVER get drafted to fight Iran just remember you can look in the mirror and say "Thanks (Fool's name here), we sure showed them.
    As for Hoang, I'd just say one thing. You're tellin me you didn't vote for Hill based on issues.. Because they're almost identical. So you've shown your true motives and intelligence.

    June 8, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. John

    Hillary Lost – get over it !!!

    Obama is smart, thoughtful and has good policies, better than McCain.

    Watch the debates and see the Democrats made the right choice...

    June 8, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. Walt, Belton,TX

    What a concept! If that had been the case with the democratic primaries, Obama might not have gotten the kid gloves treatment and been crowned by the networks before the primarie were over and Hillary might actually have been treated as an equal candidate.

    June 8, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Tim

    Why are posters still talking about Hillary, she is not running for president anymore. It is over.

    June 8, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. joan g.

    Helen in NY said: "He has no real background and any resume."
    i think you meant GW Bush. check out his resume. he was drunk till he was 40. And, Harkin energy- his "business" – was bailed out by the taxpayers & the saudis to keep it afloat just before he left the company & dumped his stock shares. Soon after the company tanked but not before he made his money. he got into yale becasue he was a legacy. not because he was intelligent.

    no one had more experience in govt than dick cheney & donald rumsfeld and look how they demolished the military and ballooned the natl. debt.

    obama was a community organizer in inner city chicago and anyone who has organized volunteers knows leadership skills are necessary to motivate volunteers to work with no pay. obama out organized the clinton & dnc machine o win the nomination.

    he has advanced through his own merits- not from his family legacy or taxpayers money. he is ready to lead this country and the country is ready for a statesman.

    June 8, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. Hank

    I hope and pray that the American people realize the importance and seriousness in picking a President. This position requires demonstrated experience and dedication. This is not a rock contest. Obama is gifted in speaking but what he says has little or no substance. We can all speak of change but there is change for the bad as well as the good. One thing is certain in deciding who to support in backing a candidate, it is totally irrelevant to base it on someone else reputation. This is totally ignorant. Selecting a president is a serious decision it should not be used to express anger or frustration against someone who is not even on the ballot. When you consider Obama it is best that you really know what he stands for and what is his real agenda. You should also consider that the issues of our times are the "economy", "security", "terroism" and as a sub-issue "Iraq". It doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that Obama has no experience or record to address any of these issues. Oh yes, he made a speech against entering into the conflict in Iraq but if he had the information at that time as other members of Congress and the Administration had(in fact, most Nations in the Free World), would his position been any different. We do know that when he was a member of the U.S. Senate, he did support all the major legislation to support the War. Perhaps, former President Clinton was correct when he said it was all a "fairy tale". For a person who has to be told that patriotism is something you express without hesitation (consider the symbolism in wearing the American Flag pin, putting your hand to your heart when saying the pledge of allegiance, and even when your wife has to become an adult before she is proud of America) are signs that cannot be ignored. Yes, America, get to know your candidate before casting your most cheerish vote. The stakes are high!!!

    June 8, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. julie mn

    Obama brings hate and threats to this election, a obama blogger on greta wire said ,we have you flagged, as in anybody that dares to be anti-obama, this is what the media has done, literally put men, women and young adults in harms way, may one day you all wake up.

    we the American people are being held hostage by some thug candidate, and sorry excuses for senators,congressmen/women and the media....

    June 8, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  16. jimmy velman


    June 8, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. Steve

    Obama will get crushed by McCain in these debates. He never gave any real details about his ideas (if he even has any) during the debates with Clinton, all he kept saying was "Hope hope hope". Well everyone has Hope. And the independents and republicans won't be satisfied with Barack beating around the questions like the democrats apparently were. Baracks a nice guy, but he is the most extreme member of his party – and McCain is one of the most moderate of his. Which do you think will be reaching across party lines to work together? Not Barack and his policies of pro-abortion, big government – communism anyone? – affirmative action (any white people out there? I hope you wanted to live in poverty and never get a job. Because that's what Barack and affirmative action promises to do for you!), etc. Obama STILL has not admitted he was wrong about the state of the surge. Pathetic...

    McCAIN '08 and '12

    June 8, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  18. QuietStormX

    I'm looking for the stark difference between McCain and Obama. McCain seems stuck in the war and makes bad choices. If he's so great, why did he get shot down and cave to his captors with propaganda tapes. Looking out for his self, selfish in my book. I want someone who thinks things out and ask question to know more. I want to have an idea of their outlook on the United States. How are they going to FIX what President BUSH has done over 8 years of doing nothing.... I want someone who can get us back and move us forward. I'm not looking for someone old and stuck in the past.

    A great place to start should be on C-Span and be three hours at least in time.

    Washington, D.C.

    June 8, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  19. Michael

    I STILL bash those who vote against their party. There is a reason why the nominee from respective parties is called the "standard bearer," which was why I was prepared to "hold my nose" and vote for Hillary. A vote for the person, regardless of who that person might be, of the Replican party invites a war without end in Iraq and tax breaks for the wealthy. Privatized social security and healthcare are "bonuses" that you get, along with conservative supreme court justices. I fully understand there is a PERSON who represents that party's ideals but it then becomes a question of which is more important - the principles in which you believe or the person in which you believe. The problem there is when the two are INSEPERABLE! If you believe in McCain the person, you are voting for HIS principles - not yours - because he won't divorce himself from HIS as you are prepared to do from YOURS. So who loses? Not him. Like unto it, NOT voting for the party "standard bearer" constitutes the same thing. Given most ballots are automated and/or do not provide an option for a "write-in" candidate, choices dwindle. For those that DO provide such and opportunity, since there would not be as many "write-in" votes as ballot votes, the "write-in" votes become WASTED votes that, again, benefit the Republican "standard bearer." Further, you speak of voting for someone who "acts fast." That has proven to be our undoing in ending up in this war. I want someone who thinks things through so that they make SOUND - not RASH - judgements. It doesn't matter HOW FAST you act if the actions are WRONG! Likewise, I see absolutely NOTHING about John McCain that would indicate to me that he is any more capable as a leader than Barack Obama. Experience? What is it? I'm a military officer that outranked him as a naval officer - and have spet more years in the military! I don't feel more experienced or qualified to be president than Barack Obama because of that, so I certainly don't see why McCain would be more qualified. And lastly, certainly when it comes to intellect and ability McCain has NOTHING on Obama. Look no further than the campaigns they have run during the primaries and the people with whom they have chosen to surround themselves in managing those campaigns. Obama presents himself as a more organized and forward-thinking person with a sense of direction unlike McCain's - which is clearly "business as usual."

    June 8, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. Gene

    McCain is a nut he can't even read teleprompter very well, can't make his own speech. confusing Shiites and shunis, has not idea about economy.....we can't afford another 4 yrs of stupidity from old white man...

    June 8, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. Trinidadian for Obama

    Obama will give an exemplary performance at any town hall. Now, he should focus on areas where he is weak, such as, WV, KY, AK, etc. Although I don't think die-hard racists will somehow magically see the light and vote for him, I think he could still make an impact on those folks. Also, to all the Hillary Supporters....you're cutting off your nose to spite your face if you vote for John McCain. I don't know why you would pick McCain over a democratic candidate who had almost the same platform and Clinton. As someone who is not a national of this country but very involved in this campaign I can tell you that many abroad are applauding an Obama Presidency!

    June 8, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  22. James

    Sara....umm..hehe ditz...what?!? can you honestly repeat what you said and make sense. Obama had nothing to do with last 8 years, Republicans eat him alive? wow get a reality check, where the hell have you been. Experience, idiots, this is over we talked about this already, this isnt the 1860s. military experience doesnt matter, know your history, and as far as the presidency, THEY HAVENT FREAKIN BEEN PRESIDENT YET!!! HELLO!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! you people really i beg you shut off the tv, talk to a vet, read a book. Get your head out of your arse

    June 8, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  23. gregg45

    thank you all for god,,, god will sit now,,, obama took over,,, may god rest in peace

    June 8, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  24. McCain=the draft

    McBush wants the town hall meetings, and so many, because it will be free advertising for him. He's hurting for money and can't compete with Obama's ability to advertise.
    Also, McBush laughs alot of questions off, and that's easier to do in the casual town hall meeting. He doesn't perform well under pressure.

    June 8, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. Venus

    Obama ---- Mc Cain has had a 4 months to campaign and tell Americans about who he is!

    For now... just stay focus on your campaign and don't push yourself to any of Mc Cain's demands!

    He is not able to rise as much money as you – so --- he's looking for free time! In the mean time – I hope you continue to give speeches for big rallies! I love those!

    Go Bam!

    June 8, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
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