When he met with the public, audiences were carefully screened to keep out Democrats and others who might ask embarrassing questions.
Fortunately, Barack Obama doesn't have to be protected from the public. Just today, Obama appeared in at a town-hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, a place that voted for John McCain.
Courtesy of the washingtonpost.com, here's a summary of the Obama's brave new strategy:
President Obama heads into the belly of the beast today, leaving Washington for a depressed city in Northern Indiana with the highest unemployment rate in the nation.
In a dramatic contrast to former President Bush's town-hall meetings -- which were held almost exclusively in party strongholds, with tickets distributed primarily to supporters -- it was first-come, first-served in Elkhart on Saturday. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained on Friday: "I've watched the President do town halls from 2004 through 2008, and the audience has never been hand-picked, and neither have the questions. And we're not going to start any of that on Monday."