Mac's Tour Aims at Dem Strongholds

Town-hall-heavy trip is high-risk, must be sustained to avoid looking like a stunt
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2008 4:29 PM CDT
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – John McCain is planning a tour to visit core Democratic constituencies—inner cities, Appalachia, the black South—in what John Dickerson, in Slate, sees not as a direct appeal for votes, but rather a campaign to beam his authenticity, via the media, to the country’s independents. A McCain advisor says informal settings will allow citizens to “praise, chastise and argue with him.”

The Republican is using the tour to call Barack Obama’s bluff on addressing hostile audiences, Dickerson writes, and show the Democrat isn’t as bipartisan as he claims. Town-hall meetings indeed highlight McCain’s directness, but he’ll have to tackle health care, education and the economy—hardly comfortable topics. And if he can’t sustain the high-risk tack, the trip could go down as embarrassing gimmickry.