At the Stump, Mike thought Obama should have agreed to the proposed town hall meetings with the gaffe-prone McCain. In the comments jobeek2 saw town hall debates as one way to deflect the recent attack ads comparing Obama to celebrities:

In 2004, the Republicans used the summer lull of non-news to ceaselessly hammer out the trivia of character assassination, and it worked. They're trying it again now, and indeed, for days now all the media is reporting regarding Obama is Britney and Paris Hilton stuff. This is Not Good.

If Obama had agreed to a series of townhall debates, those encounters would have sucked up all the attention, and we wouldnt have had the news vacuum in which rumours and slander thrive. Plus, if confronted every month in a live to-and-fro himself with Obama, McCain would either not have been able to keep up the low trivia attacks at all, or would have ended up contradicting and muddling them by taking an opposite tack in the debates.

I thought Obama should have agreed to the townhall debates even if it *had* been strategically disadvantageous, just because it would have been good for political culture and discourse, for the country basically. But even on a strategic level, participation would have escaped Obama the sordid mess he's confronting now.