A couple of stories caught my eye this morning. First in the wake of John McCain’s invitation to have up to 10 town hall events with his Democratic opponent Barack Obama, the Washington Post details how the town hall format is right up McCain’s alley while formal debates have a tendency to throw him off his game.
This is McCain’s arena of choice — the town hall — where mixing serious answers with flip comments and the occasional sarcastic insult has become his trademark as much as the smartly crafted speech in front of thousands defines his rival, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Now, the McCain campaign sees town halls as a necessity, hoping the old-style format will serve as a video-age counterweight to the rhetorical chasm between his stilted and sometimes awkward speechmaking and Obama’s often rousing delivery.
The Wapo story then goes on to tell why he prefers to take on Obama in town halls forums instead of a debate.
“This isn’t a gimmick or some type of a hidden ruse,” said McCain adviser Steve Schmidt, calling it a way to elevate the presidential debate and a chance to “change the trajectory of this campaign.”
That is where the second story from this morning takes over. Why is McCain so comfortable with his town halls?
Tonight was the first in a much-hyped series of ‘town hall’ forums scheduled by John McCain’s campaign, in which Barack Obama had been challenged to show up to discuss the issues directly with the GOP nominee.
Except, as Fox News reported, McCain’s campaign misled the public about the nature of the event. The forum was “billed by the McCain campaign as a town hall with independent and Democratic voters,” but Fox News noted at the end that the audience was actually “made up of invited guests and supporters,” the Democratic National Committee said in a statement. (emphasis mine)
Gee, why wouldn’t Barack Obama agree to this? Pretty easy to be comfortable when you stack the deck in your favor isn’t it…