Inside McCain's Town-Hall Campaign

Unlike Barack Obama, John McCain isn't a great speechmaker. But he has mastered the art of the town-hall meeting. How it could help him win

Scott Olson / Getty

John McCain speaks at a town-hall meeting.

Sometimes in politics, the medium really is the message.

Put Barack Obama in an arena with 20,000 supporters or at an outdoor city rally with nearly four times that many, and it hardly matters what he says. The sheer spectacle speaks for itself--something unusual is happening, and a lot of people want to be a part of it.

The same can be said of John McCain, though his trademark medium is comparatively modest. Instead of the massive event, McCain is most at home in the town-hall meeting, a modern twist on the old New England civic institution, in which neighbors gather...

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