John McCain, on the way to a town hall meeting in Nashua, N.H., said this morning in Boston that the need for such forums was made clear by the furor over remarks he made about the Iraq war.
Barack Obama's campaign and other Democrats jumped on McCain saying on NBC's "Today" show on Wednesday that it was "not too important" when US troops come from Iraq.
"My position on the war is clear," McCain told reporters today. That would be that the surge of troops is working, that it would be surrender to withdraw before Iraq is stable, and that he can envision a longer-term peacekeeping role in which US troops would not take many casualties.
"That's why we need town hall meetings," McCain said, where the candidates can clearly and fully explain their positions.
McCain has challenged Obama to a series of 10 town hall meetings around the country. While both campaigns have expressed interest, they have not agreed on the details. McCain still plans to appear tonight -- without Obama -- at the first one he proposed, at Federal Hall in New York. Fox News Channel plans to televise it at 7 p.m.
McCain was also asked about whether Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, in saying Wednesday that McCain was "confused" on Iraq, was alluding to his age. McCain, who turns 72 in August, would be the oldest man elected to a first term as president.
"I'm obviously disappointed in a comment like that," McCain replied.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.