ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today released the following statement by Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker after accepting the invitation by the Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Libraries to hold joint town hall meetings with John McCain and Barack Obama, and responding to the Obama campaign:
"We are proud to accept the invitation from Mrs. Ronald Reagan, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson to hold joint town hall meetings at the Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Libraries. As Luci Baines Johnson said in her invitation, these meetings offer an opportunity to 'deliberate the great issues of our time.' The American people deserve a great debate about the future of our country, and we hope that Barack Obama will join us for these important events at these historic venues."
Letter Sent To The Obama Campaign:
Dear Mr. Plouffe,
Thank you for responding to our proposal. Just to reiterate, we have proposed at least ten joint town hall meetings once a week until the week before the Democratic Convention begins. As we understand your counter-proposal, you have proposed only one town hall meeting before the Democratic Convention.
In keeping with our original proposal, we are planning a joint town hall meeting in Minnesota next Thursday evening (June 19, 2008). We will hold time on our schedule for joint town halls every Thursday night until the Democratic convention. I hope Senator Obama would reconsider his position and agree to join Senator McCain as early as next week.
We have also today accepted the invitation from Mrs. Ronald Reagan, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson to attend town hall meetings in July at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. As Mrs. Johnson said, these town halls will truly be an opportunity to "deliberate the great issues of our time." Their sponsorship certainly meets our standards for a positive and productive opportunity for voters to interact with the candidates. I hope you will agree.
However, at this moment, we fear that our negotiations over joint town hall meetings are turning into a debate about process. That is exactly what we have always hoped to avoid, and why we proposed a town hall format that would render many of these process issues moot. As Senator Obama has said, he is prepared to meet "anywhere, anytime" for a town hall.
We remain committed to this idea because joint town hall meetings offer the best format for presenting both candidates' visions for our country's future in a substantive way. We have a chance to change the way presidential elections are run and elevate the political dialogue. Americans deserve this kind of opportunity, and we hope that Senator Obama will join us at town hall meetings throughout the summer months.