McCain’s town hall idea is worthwhile risk for Obama

McCain speaks to a woman in the crowd

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has suggested that he and Democratic opponent Barack Obama appear together in a series of town hall meetings. No network moderators, no canned questions from hand-selected audiences, just two candidates interacting directly with the audience.

That’s probably an idealized image of the situation, since there would have to be some kind of security, crowd control, and organization in place. Nevertheless, after the long series of carefully scripted “debates” the electorate has been subjected to so far, the town hall model sounds refreshing and full of potential.

The hitch, of course, is that McCain is much better than Obama at this kind of gathering. Watching McCain deliver a speech is a truly cringe-worthy experience and his handlers are no doubt aware of it. He does much better in a casual setting, answering assorted questions from the crowd.

Obama, on the other hand, delivers speeches like JFK but is a bit awkward with unscripted give and take. His slow, thoughtful professorial style is not geared to the quick pivots of audience interaction.

While the town hall format appears to favor John McCain, it’s an opportunity that Obama should embrace. What he lacks in agility, he makes up for in charm, intelligence, and charisma. Town hall meetings seem like an obvious format in this face-to-face, instant response, YouTube world and a great way to really get to know the candidates. Let the meetings begin.

© 2008 PiedType.com. Some rights reserved.



Categories: Election 2008, McCain, Obama, Politics

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5 replies

  1. Hi PiedType — I agree with you but realize that the media covered more of Obama’s stadium speeches. He actually does good in small gatherings as well. I think Obama should embrace McCain’s joint idea. I don’t know what McC is thinkinbg thought. The physical and personal contract will be crazy! One tall, one short; one youthful one old; one charming and quick witted; one looking like a deer staring in headlights, and on an on.

    I am dying for Obama to challenge McC to a basketball game 🙂

    McC being BETTER at town halls means nothing — it just highlights how bad he is in every other situation. He’s just better, he’s not great.

    Obama’s worst performance is probably better than McC best.
    ………………..
    I agree, the contrast would be great and obvious. The past and the future, right there side by side. Undeniable. Irrefutable. As for that basketball game, dibbs on a courtside seat!

  2. LOL! A B-Ball betix them would would be fodder for the late night shows and SNL for years to come!

  3. Now let’s see what happens next. I have been wondering what you would say or do if Obama chooses your Superego as a running mate and she keeps shining into your living room via TV.

    I feel gleeful about this situation, because I have inherited a very anarchic character, and so I have been just so curious to see Obama having breakfast with Putin or with some Chinese Medusa. Putin most especially will be so grateful for some instruction on political ethos and hope principle.

    However, I would not have given in to that curiosity, as long as there was a safer option, which now there is not anymore.
    …………………….
    I take it you are referring to Obama’s stated willingness to talk with other leaders around the world. Seems to me that talking is a logical first step and certainly preferable to “shoot first and ask questions afterward.” I doubt if he’d intimidate Putin, who is the most steely-eyed KGB type I can imagine, but neither do I think he’s going to drop to his knees and kiss Putin’s feet. We owe it to ourselves and the world to exhaust all possible alternatives before we attack someone.

  4. Obama should reject this debate format. The only reason why Hillary was as competitive as she was is due to Obama’s poor performances in debates. Obama tends to focus on style instead of substance; it takes forever for him to get to key points. This works well with a more educated audience, but won’t bear well with the general audience. Additionally, having so many town-hall meetings exposes Obama’s inexperience and raises the possibility of further gaffes on his part.
    ……………..
    I agree he doesn’t do that well, but if he could just do a passable job, it might make him seem more like everyday people. He needs to find a way to get in touch with these voters, because he’s going to need them. He didn’t flatly reject the idea; maybe he’s trying to come up with a workable counter-proposal.

  5. Today on formats—

    Play chest? With or without the clock ticking?
    This may be the decisive difference for either candidate. The people behind each candidate should wish to know how he does with or without the clock. Today I visit this question which I declined when it was fresh.
    I saw Mr. McCain at the national convention for the DAV and they loved him. After all this was a meeting of DAV member of the Whig party—many injured veterans know what I mean. If you read my earlier submissions you realize I am a Vietnam Vet and a soldier—one committed to service in the Military. I tilt my hat and salute soldiers domestic and foreign. We fight for lots of reasons some just and others just misguided. I thank Mr. McCain for responding to my direct letter to him and indicating he would look into the matter which has been publicly posted.
    I saw Mr. Obama in front of an Indiana Town hall and later in front of a basically African American small audience. It goes to show me that the audience has lots of influence on how well the encounter goes. Yet, Mr. Obama seem to get his point across and although some point to his shuddering or feeling the questions without much finesse I believed he did well enough before the crowd that intend to present him with an Apollo type vetting. He held his own and kept the event on tract. There was no need to call the Chicago police. I also saw Mrs. Obama in front of a group of military wives and individuals concerned about the soldier’s family and the silence about the problems which they share. She seem to fair well in feeling their problems. The questions is did the American public see the real scope of the problems of a war caused by deception. Americans know soldiers shoulder more than their share of the burden. Do we get it about the horrors of war—the slaughter of women and children? There is no clean kill and Muslim bled and suffers as well as the Christian. Is it important to question the morals of lead misguided wars?
    Does the American public get it about the billion dollars poured into these personal private wars? Now if this is our war when the congress declared it or did they let the machine have its way and now today everyone is passing the buck and shifting the blame while the soldier and his family suck it up. They know to call their Congressman but what if they do? What is the general staff conditioned to do? And the horrors and injuries of the last war are still with us. A general in Mrs. Obama town hall group indicated that he has just gotten his trauma stress disorder looked at by VA after 40 years of suffering. Me I just got my records released and the VA indicate that a double pelvis and collecting system; kidneys spilling proteins, and all the abnormalities shown on those records are normal. What is the idea and understanding after these town hall meatings? We must understand and answer the meaning of this question. When you pass a disable veteran in a wheel chair or see on your highway or under the bridge what did you learn about the problem? Let’s have a conversation.

"Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance." ~ Plato

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