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Bloomberg and ABC offer to host first proposed presidential town hall

Bloomberg and ABC offer to host first proposed presidential town hall

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and ABC News made a formal offer to host the first proposed presidential town hall meeting between John McCain and Barack Obama, according to a letter being sent to both candidates Sunday.
McCain, the likely Republican nominee, last week asked his Democratic counterpart to join him in 10 meetings in the coming months, and campaign managers for both sides said they have agreed in spirit to schedule some type of joint appearances.
Bloomberg, the billionaire New York City mayor who toyed with mounting his own independent presidential run this year, and ABC News President David Westin formally proposed in a letter to both candidates that the first meeting take place at Federal Hall in Manhattan.
Federal Hall became the first capitol of the United States in 1789 where Congress met to establish the new federal government and George Washington was inaugurated as the first president.
McCain had suggested that the first town hall be held Thursday at Federal Hall.
Bloomberg and ABC envision a 90-minute, prime-time broadcast but said the date and other details, such as how much interaction the candidates would have with voters or a moderator, should be worked out by the campaigns.
"We look forward to beginning a conversation on how best to create an event that will honor our nation's founding spirit and respect the voters' desire to engage in a thoughtful discussion of the critical issues facing America and the world," Bloomberg and Westin wrote.
Bloomberg decided earlier in the year against mounting a third-party bid for the White House, but he vowed to stay engaged in the process and hinted that he might put his wealth and support behind a candidate.
The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent has said he is not necessarily most likely to back the candidate who matches his policy positions, but the one who demonstrates the most genuine bipartisan credentials.
Bloomberg supporters also have pushed the idea that he could be a running mate for either McCain or Obama.
Aides to Bloomberg told The Associated Press he might like to have a role in the town hall, such as shaping questions or speaking with the candidates, but that those details would have to be worked out with the campaigns.
Bloomberg, for his part, always expressed disdain about the televised debates held during the primary season, claiming he never watched them because they did not delve into important issues and gave candidates only short intervals to answer questions.
Bloomberg spokesman Jim Anderson said the mayor is making the offer because he is "excited about a campaign where voters interact directly with the candidates in a town hall format, and thinks New York City is the ideal setting for a first meeting."
ABC hosted several debates during the primary season, three in prime time. "Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer would likely be the moderator for this town hall, an ABC News spokesman said.


Updated : 2021-05-19 03:06 GMT+08:00