What I saw on TV Aug. 21 was actually not a town hall. It was a media event hosted by CNN. The composition of the attendees and the questions asked by them were fully controlled by CNN; however Paul Ryan was not. In spite of the good questions Ryan was asked, he was allowed by Jake Tapper to speak at length when giving his non-answers. In classic political mode, he used much of his speaking time extolling his Republican views, including a promo on the tax code overhaul. Interestingly, during one of the commercial breaks a "Call Paul Ryan" ad aired. It urged support for the tax code overhaul as a way to create jobs. A few more of these "town halls" and Ryan will not have to dip into his campaign funds to pay to get his message out.
If Paul Ryan agreed to do an actual town hall, it would undoubtedly be more unpredictable, more unscripted and his constituents would not let him off the hook so easily.