McCain opens fundraiser to media

June 9, 2008 7:03:22 PM PDT
Republican John McCain reversed course Monday and allowed the media into a private fundraiser where he chided Democratic rival Barack Obama for his reluctance to agree to a series of joint town-hall meetings.

The $10,000-per-ticket reception for the presumed Republican nominee, the national party and several state parties marked the first time McCain, a champion of open government, had allowed reporters into his fundraisers. The four-term Arizona senator had kept such events off limits to the media for months with little or no explanation.

The event and a $1,000-a-ticket luncheon raised $800,000 for McCain and the GOP.

McCain reiterated his offer to Obama to join him at a town-hall meeting and field questions from voters. McCain said he'd meet Obama wherever and whenever, then suggested this week in New York.

"He's not going to be there, but we'll keep asking," McCain said to a few chuckles. "Over time, maybe he'll agree. At least I hope so."

McCain has proposed 10 such meetings in the coming months and campaign managers for both sides said they had agreed in spirit to schedule some type of joint appearances.

Among those in attendance at the reception were James S. Gilmore, the former Virginia governor and one-time presidential candidate. Gilmore faces an uphill race against another former governor, Democrat Mark Warner, in the contest for an open Senate seat this November. Also among the donors at the reception was former Lt. Gov. John Hager, whose son, Henry, recently married President Bush's daughter, Jenna.

Donors who gave $2,300 could attend the luncheon and get a photo with McCain.


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