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McCain Invites Obama To Town-hall Debates Across Country

This story was written by J.J. Alcantara,

In front of hundreds of Baton Rouge residents, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., stepped onto a stage Wednesday at the Baton Rouge River Center to plead his case to become the next president.

The town hall meeting was the fifth time the Republican presidential candidate has visited the city in the past year.

At the meeting, McCain announced he had sent a letter to Illinois senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, asking Obama to join him in a series of 10 town-hall debates across the country.

The first would be held in New York City at Federal Hall - the place where George Washington took the oath of office as the nation's first president.

McCain sent a letter to Obama on Wednesday proposing town hall style debates without the "spectacle of formal debates."

McCain said the idea of joint town hall debates was first introduced in 1963 by Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., and President John F. Kennedy.

"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," McCain said in the letter.

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden started Wednesday's town hall meeting by complimenting McCain for serving the country and making sacrifices for the United States.

"It's because of him that we can stand here and say a Pledge of Allegiance," Holden said. "It's because of him that we can stand here and say 'liberty and justice for all.'"

Gov. Bobby Jindal also attended the meeting, calling McCain a "great American hero" and a "man of tremendous courage."

"To dedicate your life for the service of others and not yourself, that's exactly the type of courage and conviction we need for our next president of the United States," Jindal said.

During the meeting, McCain was asked about whether he would pick Jindal to become his running mate for the general election in November.

"Gov. Jindal is the next generation of leadership, not just of the Republican Party, but of America," McCain said. "I think that Gov. Jindal may allege he has a full schedule and a full agenda here [in Louisiana]."

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