I guess if your opponent won’t meet you for town-hall debates, you start finding new ways to conduct them yourself. The John McCain campaign rolled out what they call the Virtual Town Hall Meeting on their YouTube channel, which allows viewers to get answers to commonly asked questions — such as, “What do you think about the future of this country?” (Hint: He’ll work to restore the American dream.)
This isn’t so much an interactive experience as much as it is a handy list of topics by which to sort through McCain’s YouTubes by topic. That’s certainly handy enough, relieving surfers from having to do a search on the website on various topics. Of course, that also means viewers will only see the clips approved by the McCain campaign. Also, two of the five questions are softball non-issue questions like “What do you think about the future of this country?” and “How do you feel about government spending?”
It’s an interesting idea – and perhaps the McCain campaign could use this to move to the next level of interactivity. Why not ask for response videos from voters on these issues, and answer the most intelligent of them? Fred Thompson tried this for a couple of weeks on the campaign trail and generated a lot of enthusiasm. McCain could heighten the sense of a “virtual town hall meeting” by taking a few YouTube questions and have people repeatedly checking for the updates.