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Obama Takes the Bait

4:22 PM, May 14, 2008 • By JAIME SNEIDER
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Obama made the biggest blunder of his campaign in agreeing in theory to do town halls with John McCain, and not just because he will inadvertently reveal his extreme left-wing agenda. McCain has a decade experience endearing town hall audiences with his wry sense of humor and turning hostile questions to his advantage. His are not the town halls of George W. Bush, whose Communications Office vetted every questioner ahead of time to ensure no one dissented too loudly from the president's policies.

Anyone who wants to can attend a McCain rally and question the candidate, and almost everyone who does so is left in awe of McCain's uncanny ability to wrestle with ideas he disagrees with while never backing down an inch. I'd go so far as to wager McCain's core support comes from people who disagree with him. In this respect, Obama is actually much more like George W. Bush than McCain is. After all, Obama is at his best when surrounded by adoring fans. Every town hall with members of the public who aren't drinking the kool-aid is going to be the same utter disaster for Obama as the last Democratic debate.

One additional point: Obama is going to have a lot more money than McCain, but these town halls are going to level the playing field. Every gaffe and slip-up is going to be worth several million in television advertising. And Obama has little choice now but to do these events. If he backs out, he'll look like a sissy and McCain can travel the country asking why the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate is so afraid to appear side-by-side with him.