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McCain and Obama Hesitate on Joint Town Halls


From CBS News' John Bentley:

John McCain stays on the East Coast this week with a series of fundraisers and town halls stretching from Richmond, Virginia, up to what he calls his "second home state" of New Hampshire. The trip culminates in New York City on Thursday, where the campaign says they will put two chairs on stage at Federal Hall – one for McCain, and one for Barack Obama. McCain challenged Obama to a series of 10 town halls – one a week from Thursday until the Democratic National Convention – and while Obama agreed in theory with the idea, he has not yet committed to appear.

ABC has offered to air the event with Diane Sawyer moderating, although both campaigns have indicated they don't want a single network airing the event or a network anchor asking the questions. "Both campaigns agree the town hall meetings will be open to press," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds, "but not sponsored or moderated by the press."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is not supporting either candidate, sent letters to both campaigns encouraging the candidates to attend because of the town hall style of the debate, which encourages more audience participation.

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