On The Situation Room, CNN's Dana Bash twice falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama responded to Sen. John McCain's proposal for 10 joint town hall appearances by offering to "just have one," failing to note that McCain rejected Obama's proposal for five joint appearances: three traditional debates, a town hall meeting on the economy, and an in-depth debate on foreign policy.
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CNN correspondent Dana Bash twice falsely suggested that while Sen. John McCain has proposed 10 joint appearances with Sen. Barack Obama, Obama has proposed only one. Appearing on the 4 p.m. ET hour of the June 16 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Bash stated: "[T]he Obama campaign basically formally rejected McCain's proposal for 10 joint town halls, saying, let's just have one around July 4th." Two hours later, Bash said, "[T]he Obama campaign basically said no to John McCain's offer for about 10 joint town hall meetings, one a week until the November election. They said, well, we'll just have one on July 4th." Bash did not note that Obama has proposed five joint appearances: three traditional debates, a town hall meeting on the economy, and an in-depth debate on foreign policy. As The New York Times reported, the Obama campaign said in its statement responding to McCain's refusal of Obama's proposal the package of five engagements "would have been the most of any presidential campaign in the modern era."
Bash's assertion that Obama said "let's just have one" town hall meeting, while she omitted mention of Obama's proposal for five joint appearances, echoed McCain campaign manager Rick Davis' June 13 press release: "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."
From the June 16 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
WOLF BLITZER (host): Dana, what's the latest on the back-and-forth between McCain and Obama on these joint town hall appearances?
BASH: Well, you'll remember on Friday, the Obama campaign basically formally rejected McCain's proposal for 10 joint town halls, saying, let's just have one around July 4th. The McCain campaign -- McCain himself, actually -- said that's not acceptable, that's a holiday weekend; no one will be paying attention.
Well, today, he's tried to keep this issue alive. What he said was that the two of them are actually already going to be appearing before the Latino group La Raza in California in mid-July. He said, why not both of us appear at the same time, turn it into a joint hall? He said it would be informative and he also said he would be perhaps entertaining.
We'll see what the Obama campaign has to say about that. The McCain campaign is not letting this go.
BLITZER: OK. Thanks very much, Dana, for that.
BLITZER: There's a new development on the whole battle between McCain and Obama over these joint town hall appearances.
BASH: That's right, what the McCain campaign hopes will be a new development. You'll remember, late on Friday, the Obama campaign basically said no to John McCain's offer for about 10 joint town hall meetings, one a week until the November election. They said, well, we'll just have one on July 4th, and the McCain campaign said, why would -- why would we do that? No one will be watching.
So, what John McCain said today is, why don't we make a joint appearance in mid-July in California at the Latino group La Raza? Why don't we make that actually a joint town hall?
Both candidates have said yes to appearing before that group. So, what McCain said today is, he wants to at least try to push that idea. He says it would be both informative and entertaining.
Clearly, the McCain campaign is trying hard not to let this idea of joint town halls go -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Dana, thanks very much. Dana Bash reporting for us.