Sen. McCain congratulated Sen. Obama today on his historic win of the Democratic Party's Presidential nomination... then challenged him to 10 Town Hall meetings across the country.
Now, if one watched the speeches last night from all three of the candidates, its fairly easy to understand why McCain wants to get Obama to agree to do the town halls, a format where McCain has proven fairly adept at campaigning.
Today, on a conference call of bloggers with McCain, I had the chance to ask the Senator about it. Here is what transpired:
Griff: Thank you very much for taking time... it seems to many of us that this is more about your interest in getting him into a format where you feel you excel as opposed to the long speech format. So my question is if Sen Obama doesn't accept this invitation do you have any plans to adapt your speaking style and do you feel like Sen Obama is better in this long speech format and its something you have to address going forward?
JSM: I dont know... I'm happy with the attendance and the formats and the fact that 101 town halls mtgs got me the nomination of my party... I think its the best format by far, I think its the participation... it's the oldest form of the way we participate in democracy. I think americans probably, if you asked the majority of them, in long speeches (laughs) are not their favorite topic. so I think they want to participate. They want a great debate. I don't think they want to hear long speeches to tell you the truth - that's why I keep mine short. That's why at town hall mtgs I try to keep my opening comments short as possible so people can participate - believe me, when they leave the town hall mtg they seem to be more than satisfied with the format. I'm very happy the way things are going, I'm very happy with the way I have conducted my campaign and I intend to have this great debate across this country and let the american people participate and thats what it should be all about in my view.
As of this afternoon, the Obama camp seemed warm to the idea and wanted to have it more reflective of the true Lincoln-Douglas debates.
And while Sen. McCain doesn't have the gift that Sen. Obama has in the oratory department, we haven't seen a lot of Obama "outside of the bubble" as we say in the press.
So let the debates begin!