Talk of the Town Hall

  Perhaps we should be glad Barack Obama turned down John McCain’s request for a series of town-hall get-togethers this summer (though as a political reporter, I was rooting for an unprecedented road show to pep up pre-convention dog days).  Last night’s town-hall format is being widely panned. 

  On the Politico web site, John Harris and James Vendehei call the town hall in Nashville “the worst debate ever”, and the format was their number-one gripe–  “It would be hard to cook up a duller way of debating than the one we witnessed last night.”

   Just a couple of weeks ago, touring Florida, McCain was responding to claims his ads were a fount of negative falsehood by touting town halls as a cure, saying– if you’re face-to-face with your opponent, the tenor of a campaign tends to become more humane and less negative.

  Well, you couldn’t prove it by last night.  Some viewers thought McCain looked testy, and calling his opponent “that one” was either odd or demeaning.  

  Ironically, the town hall format may have prevented him from getting to one of his campaign’s main talking points these days– Obama’s relationship with 60’s “domestic terrorist” William Ayers.  None of the citizen-questioners seemed to regard Ayers worth asking about.


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