McCain urges UK-style sessions for U.S. president

COLUMBUS, Ohio Thu May 15, 2008 8:04am EDT

US Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) addresses employees about alternative energy sources in front of a wind turbine model at the Vestas Wind Technology plant in Portland, Oregon May 12, 2008. REUTERS/Richard Clement

US Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) addresses employees about alternative energy sources in front of a wind turbine model at the Vestas Wind Technology plant in Portland, Oregon May 12, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Richard Clement

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Thursday that, if elected, he would like to take a page from the British government and appear in question-and-answer sessions with lawmakers.

"I will ask Congress to grant me the privilege of coming before both houses to take questions, and address criticism, much the same as the prime minister of Great Britain appears regularly before the House of Commons," McCain said in excerpts of a speech he is to deliver later in Columbus, Ohio.

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 said exchanges such as those in the British House of Commons are a way of holding leaders accountable.

"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.

(Reporting by Caren Bohan; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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