June 10th, 2008
12:53 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain pushes for town hall debates

CNN

Watch McCain's comments Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - John McCain continued his push for regular town hall-style debates with rival Barack Obama, raising the challenge again Tuesday as his campaign calls for as many as 10 face-offs this summer.

“As you know it has begun in earnest as you may have heard, Senator Obama and I might well be meeting soon in a series of town hall discussions,” McCain told business leaders gathered in the nation’s capital for the National Small Business Summit.

“Just the two of us, in direct conversation with voters. No need to turn it into a big media-run production with process questions from reporters, a spin room, and all the rest of it. Just to keep things friendly, I also suggested that my opponent and I travel to these town hall meetings together in the same plane. I promise not to try and fly it,” joked the Arizona senator. McCain, a naval aviator during the Vietnam War, was shot down and held captive for years.

“…We need the town hall meeting,” he added. “Let’s stop yelling at each other and let’s stop having sound bites and process questions and those things. The American people want a respectful and civilized discussion.”

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee is proposing ten town hall meetings - one each week between now and the Democratic Convention in late August. McCain proposes having a few hundred people at each, chosen by a non-partisan organization.

Shortly after McCain issued his latest challenge, Obama said he was on board – but that his involvement might fall short of the weekly meetings McCain has suggested.

“It's not realistic probably to do 10, given all the campaigning that I have to do since we just finished our primary season,” the Illinois senator told reporters in St. Louis, Missouri. “So it will probably be somewhat fewer than 10, but more than the 3 that have already been agreed to, and we’ll probably propose a mix of formats.”

The three that Obama referred to are the three debates this autumn announced by the Commission on Presidential Debates.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. tony

    The one thing McCain's got to avoid is any debate where he gets asked two or three part questions as this is definitely not a strength of his.

    June 10, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. nick

    HERES SOMETHING I FOUND ABOUT DEMOCRATS!!

    "BRAVE ENOUGH TO KILL OUR UNBORN CHILDREN, JUST NOT BRAVE ENOUGH TO KILL OUR ENEMIES"

    June 10, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Drew, Central FL

    What?!?!? So McSame can lose his BEERings? Zing!

    June 10, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  4. Whiskey

    If any of you readers or posters in this blog are swayed by anything an Obama, Clinton, or McCain supporter says is just simply weak minded

    June 10, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. NickNas

    McCain and Obama head to head! That is going to be like Tiger Woods playing ME at a Golf tournement and I SUCK!!!!!

    McCain will pop a vein the first time Obama doesn't cowtow to his bad temper tactics and condecending " My Friend" comments he uses to belittle people. The First time he calls McCain out on an issue and points out FACTS that shoe him to be either fli flopping our out and out lieing McCain will lose all composure and it will be OVER! Google Video of McCain..there are TONS of Videos out there where he can't keep his cool when people don't just roll over for him. Saw one where a woman near tears from his abuse on the floor refused to back down to him and he whined and WALKED OFF THE FLOOR!!!!

    Bush was the same way. Too Many years of yes men!

    June 10, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Mike Jones

    veto beer!! veto beer!!! veto beer!!! VIVA Mcsame!!! NOT!!!

    June 10, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. RyanD.

    McCain needs a town hall because he's BROKE and it saves him money to get his face on TV.

    NO MERCY, OBAMA. PLAY HARDBALL WITH THIS SENILE OLD MAN, THE MCCAIN OF 2000 IS LONG GONE.

    OBAMA 08!

    June 10, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Still for Hill

    I'm pushing for town hall debates as well.

    Obama can no longer hide behind CNN and MSNBC.
    Obama can no longer hide from debates.
    Obama can no longer hide behind a telepromter.
    Obama can no longer go second behind Hillary in the debates.

    Let's see how well Obama can do with the people asking the questions and not the biased media. Let's see if he can defend all the policies he stole from Hillary.

    My bet is on McCain tearing Obama a new one.

    June 10, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. David Goldman for OBAMA

    CAN YOU JUST IMAGINE MCMOULD AT A G8 SUMMIT?

    THE ENGLISH SPEAKING NATIONS WILL NEED

    AN INTERPRETER. AND TWO EXTRA SETS ON BOTH

    SIDES OF MCMOULD, ONE FOR HIS PILL POPPER & THE

    OTHER FOR JOE LIBERFOOL, TO KEEP MORON AWAKE.

    June 10, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Matt

    Obama couldn't function without a teleprompter rolling canned speeches of vague 'hope' and 'change'.

    McCain would eat him alive.

    June 10, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Pat

    Go for it Obama. Show the rest of the world what McCain is really like.

    We don't need old politics. And we don't need anymore Replicans in the White House. They just vetoed a bill that might have helped the gas prices out.

    But no, all they care about is war and money. Not about us.

    NO MCCAIN

    OBAMA ALL THE WAY

    YES WE CAN!!!!!

    June 10, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. LYNETTE IN CA

    It will happen when Obama wants it to happen. McCain will be trounced over during a debate. It cracks me up that he's even calling for it. This is going to be hysterical and I'm so looking foward to it.

    June 10, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. N.

    McCain just wants to do this because he has no money and can't afford to fly anywhere solo. He can't raise any money because no one wants an old foagie like him as president who will create a third bush term. McSame should consider running for president of the AARP instead of pres of the U.S! Obama 08!

    June 10, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. Brandon in Indiana

    I look forward to watching these debates, if they happen. I think McCain is in for a tough sell. Obama is a very dynamic intellectual who has no problem expressing his views, hence the bestselling books. McCain is a likable guy, but put him in a prolonged 1v1 with Obama and he's going to come out for the worse.

    June 10, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Kenneth M

    This is a good idea. I always said McCain was an OK guy. He and Obama can discuss this like men and really get the facts out. No need for the spinsters to get people all frothie. As a matter of fact, I will bring the beer just so McCain will have something to veto.

    June 10, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. Still for Hill

    Obama wants to be COMMANDER IN CHEIF. Isn't it about time he visits our troops?

    A vote for McCain is a vote against Hussien!

    June 10, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Doug R.

    Yeah, McCain, the naval avaiator who was shot down and held captive by North Vietnam. Let's also remember that Vietnamese civilians rescued McCain from drowning after he crashed and that he pretty much 'sang away' for them disclosing information and secrets to the enemy.

    June 10, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Mark O'grand

    I can't believe this man is actually a gigantic penguin.

    June 10, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. kayla

    mcsame who made you the head on obama. sen obama does not have to do what you say. afterall he is a nominee just like you. so it's not what you say goes. he also should be given an opportunity to make suggestions.

    June 10, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. lulu

    One-on-one is not Obama's forte...he is very, very weak if he cannot speak to legions of adoring fans. This is one of the reasons he refused to debate Clinton again...she spanked him in their last debate.

    McCain needs to ask Obama just one question, and one question only: WHERE IS YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND WHY ARE YOU HIDING IT? Obama's camp screamed at Hillary to produce tax returns and McCain needs to scream at BO to produce his birth certificate.

    Could it be that Obama IS NOT A CITIZEN OF THE U.S. and therefore, cannot run for the presidency?

    WHERE IS YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE OBAMA?

    June 10, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. bodieboy

    Be careful what you wish for, John!

    June 10, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. mk

    Get used to the protests, boos, and interruptions to your speeches, McCain. It is just not the news the people want to hear.

    June 10, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Still for Hill

    Watch out for those town hall meetings Mr. Hussien. I'm sure that us bitter, small town, uneducated, racists, typical white people may ask a few questions.

    Still for Hillary! And Obamabots, I'm sure Obama will be too much of a coward to agree to actually talking to the people or visiting our troops in Iraq.

    June 10, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. SGJ, Chicago, IL

    He sounds desperate for money. .... and its the only venue he thinks hes going to do well at. We know it wont be giving press conference speeches. 🙂

    I think the risk is he will blow up and look crazed during one of these townhalls ... Obama's no fool..

    June 10, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. Brian

    He's also pushing for a nice, cool lemonade on the front porch.

    June 10, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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