by Fuzzy Dunlop, Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:58:53 AM EDT
McCain sent a letter to Obama today proposing a series of weekly townhall-style debates to run throughout the summer. Here is the relevant passage:
I propose these town hall meetings be as free from the regimented trappings, rules and spectacle of formal debates as possible, and that we pledge to the American people we will not allow the idea to die on the negotiation table as our campaigns work out the details. I suggest we agree to participate in at least ten town halls once a week with the first on June 11 or 12 in New York City at Federal Hall until the week before the Democratic Convention begins at locations to be determined by our campaigns. Federal Hall is particularly fitting as it was the place where George Washington took the oath of office as our first President and the birthplace of American government hosting the first Congress, Supreme Court and Executive Branch offices. These town halls should be attended by an audience of between two to four hundred selected by an independent polling agency, could be sixty to ninety minutes in length, have very limited moderation by an independ ent local moderator, take blind questions from the audience selected by the moderator and allow for equally proportional time for answers by each of us. All of these are suggestions that can be finalized by our campaigns. What is important is that we commit to participate in these history making meetings to join in the higher level of discourse that Americans clearly would prefer.
As a political junkie and a policy wonk, I want to see this happen simply for the entertainment value. It would be a great debate format and a huge departure from the painfully scripted and lifeless debates that we will probably see in the fall. However...