|For Immediate Release
June 4, 2008
|Contact: Press Office
ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain's
presidential campaign today released the following letter delivered to
Senator Barack Obama this morning inviting him to join him in
participating in town hall meetings across the country to discuss the
most important issues facing Americans.
To read the full letter please see below and to view the signed letter please see: http://www.johnmccain.com/downloads/townhallletter.pdf
Full Letter Delivered Today To Senator Barack Obama:
June 4, 2008
The Honorable Barack Obama
Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, Illinois 60680
Dear Senator Obama:
In 1963, Senator Barry Goldwater and President John F. Kennedy agreed to make presidential campaign history by flying together from town to town and debating each other face-to-face on the same stage. In Goldwater's words, those debates "would have done the country a lot of good." Unfortunately, with President Kennedy's untimely death, Americans lost the rare opportunity of witnessing candidates for the highest office in the land discuss civilly and extensively the great issues at stake in the election. 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. It is in the spirit of President Kennedy's and Senator Goldwater's agreement, in the spirit of the politics of change, and to do our country good, that I invite you to join me in participating in town hall meetings across the country to discuss the most important issues facing Americans. I also suggest we fly together to the first town hall meeting as a symbolically important act embracing the politics of civility.
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.
To show our good faith, we should both commit to the first town hall I have suggested. In the mean time, we can work out dates for future town hall meetings.
I look forward to your favorable reply and to the opportunity to work with you to give Americans a better opportunity to understand our differences, our agreements and the leadership we offer them.
STATEMENT from Obama for America (David Plouffe)
June 13, 2008“Barack Obama offered to meet John McCain at five joint appearances between now and Election Day—the three traditional debates plus a joint town hall on the economy in July and an in-depth debate on foreign policy in August. That package of five engagements would have been the most of any Presidential campaign in the modern era—offering a broad range of formats—and representing a historic commitment to openness and transparency.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Press Office
Friday, June 13, 2008
ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today released the following statement by Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker after accepting the invitation by the Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Libraries to hold joint town hall meetings with John McCain and Barack Obama, and responding to the Obama campaign:
"We are proud to accept the invitation from Mrs. Ronald Reagan, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson to hold joint town hall meetings at the Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Libraries. As Luci Baines Johnson said in her invitation, these meetings offer an opportunity to 'deliberate the great issues of our time.' The American people deserve a great debate about the future of our country, and we hope that Barack Obama will join us for these important events at these historic venues."
Letter Sent To The Obama Campaign:
Dear Mr. Plouffe,
Thank you for responding to our proposal. Just to reiterate, we have proposed at least ten joint town hall meetings once a week until the week before the Democratic Convention begins. As we understand your counter-proposal, you have proposed only one town hall meeting before the Democratic Convention.
In keeping with our original proposal, we are planning a joint town hall meeting in Minnesota next Thursday evening (June 19, 2008). We will hold time on our schedule for joint town halls every Thursday night until the Democratic convention. I hope Senator Obama would reconsider his position and agree to join Senator McCain as early as next week.
We have also today accepted the invitation from Mrs. Ronald Reagan, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson to attend town hall meetings in July at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. As Mrs. Johnson said, these town halls will truly be an opportunity to "deliberate the great issues of our time." Their sponsorship certainly meets our standards for a positive and productive opportunity for voters to interact with the candidates. I hope you will agree.
However, at this moment, we fear that our negotiations over joint town hall meetings are turning into a debate about process. That is exactly what we have always hoped to avoid, and why we proposed a town hall format that would render many of these process issues moot. As Senator Obama has said, he is prepared to meet "anywhere, anytime" for a town hall.
We remain committed to this idea because joint town hall meetings offer the best format for presenting both candidates' visions for our country's future in a substantive way. We have a chance to change the way presidential elections are run and elevate the political dialogue. Americans deserve this kind of opportunity, and we hope that Senator Obama will join us at town hall meetings throughout the summer months.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2008
Reagan Library: Melissa Giller
Johnson Library: Anne Wheeler
SENATORS MCCAIN AND OBAMA INVITED TO TOWN HALL MEETINGS AT JOHNSON AND REAGAN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARIES
AUSTIN, TX and SIMI VALLEY, CA – Mrs. Ronald Reagan, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson have extended invitations to Senators John McCain and Barack Obama to speak at Town Hall meetings in July. These non-partisan meetings, to be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California and at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin, will provide voters with an opportunity to hear the presumptive nominees discuss the issues together prior to the two National Conventions later this summer and the start of the traditional series of Presidential Debates in September and October of this year.
“The Reagan Library is honored to participate in this historic bi-partisan dialogue,” said former first lady Nancy Reagan. “Ronnie always believed in the importance of face-to- face discussion on key issues that affect the American people.”
"My father wanted the LBJ Library & Museum to always be a place where leaders of the day would come and deliberate the great issues of our time in order that we might better serve future generations," said Luci Baines Johnson.
Lynda Johnson Robb stated, "In the bipartisan spirit of the presidential library system, my father would be proud of this opportunity for Americans to embrace a Scripture verse he quoted often, 'Come, now, let us reason together.'"
These forums will be open to all media outlets. A respected, independent polling organization will be brought on to ensure that the audiences will represent a cross-section of the American people. Candidates will be given equal access to address key issues through audience questions.
More details will be announced at a later date.
About the Johnson Library: The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum houses 45 million pages of historical documents, 650,000 photos, one million feet of motion picture film, and 5,000 hours of recording from the public career of Lyndon Baines Johnson and those of his associates. The museum provides year-round public viewing of its permanent historical and cultural exhibits. President Johnson insisted that the library bearing his name exist for the people to visit free of charge. www.lbjlib.utexas.edu
About the Reagan Library: Located in Simi Valley, California, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (www.reaganlibrary.com) houses over 55 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential and personal papers, an extraordinary collection of photographs and film, and over 100,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Home to Air Force One 27000, it now also serves as the final resting place of America’s 40th President.
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