McCain gets heat at town hall, Dems avoid 'unscripted' events

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) went where few of his congressional colleagues were willing to go last week — a town hall event with his constituents.

During an event in the wealthy Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale on Thursday, McCain faced hostile questions about amnesty for illegal immigrants, waterboarding terrorism suspects and why he hasn't debated primary opponent J.D. Hayworth, according to the Arizona Republic.

"You won't have any debates; you're afraid of J.D. Hayworth," said Scottsdale resident Richard Martin, who kept interrupting McCain. "The people in Arizona deserve debates."


McCain's experience is an interesting one, as The New York Times reported Sunday that Democrats avoided town halls during the Memorial Day recess.

"[M]any Democrats heeded the advice of party leaders and tried to avoid unscripted question-and-answer sessions," the Times reported. "The recommendations were clear: hold events in controlled settings — a bank or credit union, for example — or tour local businesses or participate in community service projects."

Back in Arizona, while McCain has shown a willingness to come face to face with his constituents, that hasn’t extended to his primary opponent. The Hayworth camp has dubbed the last three months the "century of shame" because McCain has avoided a debate for 100 days.

"It's been 100 days of ducking and dodging and making excuses not to face me in a debate," Hayworth said in a statement. "I've proposed a series of debates here in Arizona and have even offered to travel to Sen. McCain's beloved Washington, D.C., if he will square off with me."