McCain favors UK-style question time for U.S. president

May 15, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Republican presidential candidate John McCain says he would take a page from the British government if elected and hold question-and-answer sessions with lawmakers.

“I will ask Congress to grant me the privilege of coming before both houses to trtx5mdz.jpgake questions, and address criticism, much the same as the prime minister of Great Britain appears regularly before the House of Commons,” McCain told an audience Thursday.

Although U.S. presidents deliver annual “State of the Union” speeches to Congress at the start of each year, those formal addresses do not include a question-and-answer session.

McCain says exchanges like the sometimes raucous sessions in the British House of Commons are a way of holding leaders’ feet to the fire.

“When we make errors, I will confess them readily, and explain what we intend to do to correct them,” McCain said. He also reiterated a pledge to hold weekly news conferences, a change from President George W. Bush’s practice of holding them roughly once a month.

Is it a good idea to give lawmakers a chance to pepper the U.S. president with questions on a regular basis?

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Richard Clement (McCain speaks in Oregon)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

I think it’s about time this idea came about. Also, I think it’s about time that the leaders of this country be held immediately responsible for their actions.

Posted by Randy R. | Report as abusive

I plan to vote for Obama in November, but I think this is fabulous that McCain is proposing this. We should do more to hold our President accountable.

Posted by Rena | Report as abusive

Thank God conservatives now have someone to vote for. Bob Barr is NOT pro-amnesty and anti-free speech. McCain is an embarrasment, falling for the global warming hoax. Any politician against drilling for our own oil in this state of economic emergency, that wants to keep supporting our enemies, is a traitor. China and Nigeria can drill off our coast, but we can’t? These politicians are corrupt and evil, and are actively seeking the downfall of America.

Posted by Ron Reale | Report as abusive

This is an interesting idea. I’ve read around the internet some Americans do not like the idea, and fear it is nothing more than Eurpoean socialism.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Britian’s Government is nothing like the 1980s Russian or Eastern European Socialism some uneducated individuals think it is. Infact our Question Time is modelled around the world in Canada, Australia, and even Japan. Furthermore, no one in the UK likes the EU or Europe, and look more to America and these elections with excitement.

Posted by John Wayland | Report as abusive