Drew Cline of the Union-Leader says John McCain is launching a “national town-hall campaign”:
“We’re really going to use this town hall meeting to embark on a national campaign,” he said.
The idea is to hold events open to the public — “anybody can come in, you don’t have to have a ticket,” McCain said — so he can engage in a dialog with voters as he did in New Hampshire, answering people’s questions directly and letting them engage him in a more personal way than is typically done in a general election campaign.
Cline mentions the concerns of yahoos or the opposition trying to sabotage the events, but I suspect that strategy would backfire. Nobody ever shows up because they want to hear the heckler. Beyond that, it’s not like McCain is unfamiliar with hecklers and hostility in his previous hundreds of these meetings. All in all, the town hall Q and A is probably McCain’s best format, better than his debate performances and his formal speeches. I think voters inevitably respect a guy who takes on all questions.
McCain is launching it in what must be one of his favorite states, New Hampshire.
It’s only four electoral votes, but it’s the one state that shifted from red to blue between 2000 and 2004. If the race is extremely close, the state might be as important as the usual big three (Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida). In fact, if the 2004 map remains the same except for the Democrats winning Ohio and the Republicans winning New Hampshire… the GOP wins.