From NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- McCain said he believes joint town-hall meetings with Obama are now "very, very unlikely."
Speaking to reporters on his "Straight Talk Express" bus Friday, McCain said he'll keep asking.
"I think there are some events where we are, organizations that we're supposed to both be speaking to, and I would hope that maybe he would join me at those," McCain said. "But it doesn't seem that -- we haven't gotten any more responses from his campaign, so I'm told."
McCain said he did not believe he would portray Obama as arrogant or an elitist in the general-election campaign.
"As the campaigning goes forward I will treat him with respect that the nominee of the party has earned," he said. "And it's not respectful for me to say that he is an elitist or, I am not saying that."
McCain said he references Obama's "bitter" comments because "that is not my view of the small towns in Pennsylvania that he was talking about."
"So we just have a very different opinion," he said. "That doesn't mean to me that he is an elitist. It just means that he has a very different view of what his fundamentals of the heartland of America.''
McCain, who has been reaching out to conservative voters in recent days, said a meeting Sunday with Franklin Graham is not part of that effort.
"No, he is a man whose family is respected, incredibly respected, and I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to meet with him," he said. "I think the Graham family really transcends politics in America. Billy Graham was an adviser to every president and, so I'm not sure that there is any -- there certainly is no political aspect to of the meeting that I will have.''