May 2nd, 2009
05:58 PM ET
4 years ago

Meghan McCain: Don't look at us like 'dirty moderates'

Meghan McCain says the Republican Party needs to become an 'umbrella party.'
Meghan McCain says the Republican Party needs to become an 'umbrella party.'

(CNN) - Meghan McCain, daughter of former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, said the GOP is going to have to become more inclusive if it wants to rebuild.

“I just wish that moderates like myself - more moderate Republicans and more socially liberal Republicans - weren’t looked at as, ‘Get rid of the dirty moderates. Get rid of them,’” the 24-year-old told CNN affiliate KTAR radio in a joint interview with her father.

“We need to be an inclusive party. We need to be an umbrella party. We need to inspire 20-somethings, which is something the Obama campaign did very well,” she said on the "Mac & Gaydos" show.

“And it’s not that I think that our message is neither good nor bad - I just think it’s that the Democrats package their message better, and I think if we could be able to communicate with my generation, the Republican Party can really rebuild itself,” she added.

Asked about the coverage she’s been getting for the GOP, McCain said she feels like she’s “speaking out for a lot of young people that don’t feel spoken for.”

The graduate of Columbia University has been known to break with traditional conservative orthodoxy and hasn't shied away from voicing her criticisms of the Republican Party.

Her father, Arizona Sen. John McCain, said communication is key to rebuilding.

“By Twitter, by Internet –by all the things that frankly, the Obama campaign did a very good job at. That’s why we need lots of young people involved. If you are young, give us a call,” said the senator, who was mocked on the campaign trail after admitting he didn’t use e-mail.

McCain said that while he and his daughter don’t always see eye-to-eye on the issues, he shares her concerns about the party.

“I think we go back to old principles - and that’s less government, lower taxes, national security, etc. but we have to also have a new set of ideas and policies to implement and bring our principles into the 21st century,” he said.

Meghan McCain's comments came one day before Republican leaders held the first in a series of town halls marking a new initiative to rehabilitate the GOP.

Rep. Eric Cantor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney met with voters in Arlington, Virginia, on Saturday and stressed the importance of listening to the public and strengthening the party.

“Let’s not underestimate the people of America. Let’s make sure and listen to the people of America and that’s what Congressman Cantor is attempting to do with this council. Make sure we get the chance to go across the country, and listen to what people are feeling and get their ideas because that will make a real difference,” Romney said at the National Council for a New America meeting.

John McCain is on the new council, but he was not at the town hall meeting Saturday.


Filed under: Extra • John McCain • Meghan McCain
soundoff (334 Responses)
  1. Arric Bolewin

    Sorry Meghan, but you are just a 'dirty moderate.' Just like Spector the Defector, nobody likes a traitor. Not even Dems!

    They'll use you for a while, then send you off to never-never land to hang out with...what's his name...,oh yeah, Scott McClellan.

    Now go away and live off your mommy's millions.

    May 2, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  2. GA Repub

    As a moderate Republican 40-something, I like Meghan McCain. The last 10 years or so I have watched the Republican Party become something that I can't align myself with. The Rove mentality of say whaever it takes to make your opponent look bad has totally turned me off. And the notion you must be Republican if you're Christian is highly offensive. I can't say I agree with Democrats all the time, but they offend me less. If the new strategy is more of the same stuff, it won't work for me. Focus less on making Democrats look bad and more on solving problems. I'm sick of the politics as a sport mentality. It's not a game. We have real problems that need real solutions. The fact that the focus is on how to regain the ability to win elections just shows they don't get it.

    May 2, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  3. juanito

    maghan mccain herself should not attack her own party members if she want to see the GOP BACK TO POWER. i think she is more in the business of building her own popularity. if that's the case she should shut-up.

    May 2, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  4. skeptic1

    excellent – less government, lower taxes, national security, etc. think w grew the govt, lowered taxes while increasing spending, and grew the love for good 'ol usa around the world (NOT, on that last one).

    GOP is out to sea! they just held their first 'town hall' meeting in arlington, va, a location selected to get 'outside' dc and hear what the american people think. brain surgeons, all. first, arlington is adjacent to dc, ~2-miles away. second, no one here voted for mccain – about 80-20 obama.... third, they held their 'town hall' in a pizza joint (small business, ha!) without announcing squat as to when/where. so much for the hearing what the public thinks. (they also have down-selected what topics are on the agenda for possible discussion – remember gop has already decided its stance on most issues – religion, guns, gays, choice, death, war, taxes, health care, and so on. so today, cantor, bush, and romney (mccain and jindal were no-shows, and apparently nobody thought to invite gop leaders palin and rush?) heard from a hand picked crowd of gop supporters at a restaurant in arlington, just like w favored (shush opposition, it's easier...) the new gop, same as the old gop!

    May 2, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  5. Lou Hlavenka

    I have voted Republican since Eisenhower was elected. The party has gotten my last vote unless it changes. Today's republicans are very southern, very religious, very white male, very big business and very very right. They should have learned from this last election that does not sit well with the American public. At one time Republicans in office meant fiscal conservationism. The last Bush term(s) wrote an end to that. Ah yes it's time for a change, a change in the Republican party. Top to bottom.

    May 2, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  6. ExGOP

    In addition to the GOP's hypocrisy of claiming fiscal responsibility while discretionary spending exploded and the asinine attempt to manufacture the Neocon fantasy of an oxymoronic Islamic Democracy in Iraq, Bush's administration and Palin's nomination both indicated that the intellectual foundations of conservatism were sacrificed to appease a simple-minded religious base eager to explore theocratic rule. Spector's defection betrays just how far-right the GOP has moved in its appeasement of religious social conservatives.

    I left the Republican party simply because I don't want every foreign and domestic policy issue engaged with the same absolute certainty applied to the religious right's core metaphysical concerns regarding a woman's reproductive tract and regarding who marries who under civil law. After failing in their claimed fiscal responsibility and prudent application of the military, these wedge social issues are all the GOP has left and do not provide an appealing choice for moderates or Independents who value pragmatic reason over inflamed emotions.

    May 3, 2009 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  7. Susan

    The Republicans need to come clean with the truth about themselves and mean it. Everyone else knows what it is but them. Their actions says a lot more to the citizens of this country more than what we hear them say.

    May 3, 2009 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  8. Brett

    As a republican I am starting to agree with her more and more

    May 3, 2009 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
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