From CBS News' John Bentley:
NEW YORK – After John McCain pushed for over a week for an un-moderated, town hall debate between himself and Barack Obama, tonight's event notably lacked a key participant. "I think this town hall meeting probably would have been a little more interesting if Sen. Obama had accepted my request to be here," McCain said. "I'll block out a day every week from now until the conventions," he added, hoping to encourage participation from his Democratic rival.
Earlier at a town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire, McCain told the audience that Obama would not be joining him. "I understand that, that he couldn't do it," McCain said.
The assembled crowd here bore little resemblance to the group at his earlier town hall in Nashua. The roughly 200 people at Federal Hall in Manhattan were well-dressed, with the majority in suits, except for one woman who wore a t-shirt that read "Obama bin Lyin'." Most of the audience members had been invited by the McCain campaign, according to a staffer.
While the group didn't hear from Obama, they did hear McCain make some of his strongest comments yet about oil companies lack of progress in developing alternative fuel sources. "I'm very angry at the oil companies, not only because of the obscene profits they make, but for the failure to invest in alternative forms of energy," McCain said. "It's an abrogation of their responsibility as citizens."