Granite State Progress - Issues Request for Palin Town Hall in the First-in-the-Nation Primary State

New Hampshire’s long history of testing political candidates warrants an in-depth Q & A session with the cloistered Republican Vice Presidential Candidate

Concord – Today, Granite State Progress issued a request to the McCain campaign for vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin to host a town hall in the First-in-the-Nation Primary state.

“There are only 39 days until the Election, yet the McCain campaign continues to hide Sarah Palin from reporters and the public,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director for Granite State Progress. “If she’s supposed to be ready to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency, she should be ready to talk face-to-face with New Hampshire voters. New Hampshire has a long history of vetting political candidates, and Palin is the only one in the race who hasn’t been through this quintessential civic process.”

Granite State Progress is calling for Palin to travel to the state to host her own town hall meeting – without the assistance of John McCain or other campaign surrogates. Senators Obama, McCain and Biden have all participated in the New Hampshire primary, fielding direct questions from voters about key issues facing the nation. Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden hosted a general election town hall in the state just a few weeks ago. Outside of the event, Granite State Progress held a sign that read, “Who’s hiding Sarah Palin?”

In the past, John McCain has cited the importance of town hall meetings to “address issues without ‘ sound bites .’”

“These town hall meetings are the most important part, in my view, of the process, because it not only gives you a chance to hear from me — and I’ll try not to make you hear from me very long — but it gives me an opportunity to hear from you. It gives us a glimpse and an idea of your hopes, and your dreams, and your aspirations, and your frustrations today, and the challenges that you face, and better sets our priorities, and it helps me enormously.” – John McCain, Town Hall meeting, Pemberton, N.J., June 13, 2008

New Hampshire’s former GOP chairman and current McCain adviser Steve Duprey wrote in an op-ed this month about the importance of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status and credited John McCain for realizing its place in the political process.

Voter Susi Nord, a nine-year veteran of the NH primary process, believes it’s critically important for candidates to go face to face with voters.

“We take our job here seriously, and John McCain knows it,” said Nord, who has spoken directly with many presidential candidates during the primary process. “If he doesn’t think Sarah Palin is ready for New Hampshire, then she’s not ready to be vice president. Palin should be sent to New Hampshire to go through the same political vetting that all of the other major candidates have experienced. She needs to talk directly to voters, on her own, and take real questions from real people.”