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. shoegazer

    Moderates,we don't need no stinkin' moderates.Oh wait a minute,that was badges........

    May 2, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. BJK

    repackage your message? don't you think 'fear' and 'self righteousness" will work anymore?

    May 2, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. Ryan Wing

    Amen. As an ardent Obama supporter, I'd prefer to have a difficult choice come ellection time. Republicans need to get their act together so we have a better discourse in politics.

    May 2, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Jeff W.

    I'm a Democrat but Meghan McCain is dead-on in her analysis of the GOP problem. The future of the party does not lie with unappealing zealots like Rush, Newt, Anne, etc. The future of theparty must include appealing figures who don't speak with venom and hatred.

    May 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. Curtis in WI

    Whoa, a republican that 'gets it' enough to realize the way to getting the voters back isn't to go more hardcore with the ideas and practices the public has rejected the last two elections and continues to reject but to do some soul-searching and find new ways and new ideas that don't feed into the common (and far too often correct) perception that republicans are all about hate and fear.

    If moderates are ever allowed in the party again, I would be able to consider voting for a republican again.

    May 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. George

    I agree . I don't generally tend to vote for Republican issues and I took great pleasure in helping to get Barack Obama elected. I do however feel that by purging their party of anyone that doesn't do exactly as Rush Limbaugh say will only hurt them in the end. I believe there should have been more fiscal conservatism , but not at the expense of breaking society and the economy down the way it was over the past 8 years. The truth is Oprah doesn't need a tax break as much as a regular person does.

    May 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. CM

    As a registered independent, looking for answers from both major parties, I have seen so-called conservatives (Bush, Chaney and Co) involve us in a major unneeded war in Iraq and spend money and increase the size of the government like never before. I'm looking at action not words!

    May 2, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Craig - Hastings, MN

    Meghan, I'm sorry but for moderates such as you there is no place in Rush Limbaughs and Sarah Palins GOP. Not for a long time now. It's OK though. Keep up the good fight for the sake of all Americans.

    May 2, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Bill ~ Down on the Bayou

    Meghan:
    I don't look at you as dirty moderate, i look toward you and see nothing. Like others of your mindset you are a disgusting waste of humanity, why don't you follow that garbage called Arlen Specter?
    I expect and day now to find that your daddy and Olympia Snow will follow.Get all those tingly for the obama in one basket.

    May 2, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Arthur

    Meghan seems like a bright, outgoing, intelligent individual. Why would such a person bother to try changing a party which seems completely diametrically opposed to her core beliefs? Why not just become a devoted Democrat?? Its a wonder.

    May 2, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. Patrick

    Meghan McCain is going to be a superstar for years to come. She's intelligent, outspoken, and easy on the eyes. If that offends, too bad, looks matter when you choose a life in the public eye. My only issue with her is her refusal to talk about Sarah Palin. It's lame that she won't do this. People seem to respect her political and social opinions, if she chooses this line of work she can't pick and choose what people and issues she discusses. As a 32 year old Democrat that respects her opinion, I'd like to know.

    May 2, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. steve

    I am having a headache.....

    May 2, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Lynn

    It isn't that your not "packaging" your message...it is your message.

    May 2, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. Fred

    Right on Megan! The "old principles" never worked in a modern society.
    Ms McCain should become a Libertarian.

    May 2, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Independent_me

    Meghan is right.
    The days of Karl Rove the Creep, Gingrich, Cantor, Coulter and those extremists are over. They just don't get it.

    The Bush tactics don't work anymore. People are fed up with the hate and hypocrisy of the GOP.

    Meghan is a breath of fresh air! However, the GOP is not an inclusive Party, she would do better as a Democrat or an Independent.

    May 2, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. gl, Pittsburgh

    She is starting to get on my nerves. What the hell is she Palin sister. This woman needs to get a life at her age. She is starting to act like a tention hog.

    May 2, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. susan

    Republicans have been overexposed of their lies and deception....

    They are done!

    They should come forward and apologize to American people of illegal war and lies plus bringing our economy down!!

    May 2, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Laurens R. Hunt

    I am a committed democrat, but I think that what Megan McCain is doing is both meaningful and beneficial. Much of the slander against Ms. McCain has come from conservatives and not the liberals. Much of the vitriol against her has been excessive, unnecessary, irrelevant, and just plain wrong. If Megan McCain's inclusive approach could only get more traction and support this would accomplish a lot of good things for both the democrats and republicans at the same time. There would be improved voter turnout and civil involvement in our legislative and governance process.

    May 2, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. Chris

    Megan, I just need an apology from your party that is all I am asking for........
    It is a party of the highest corrupt, plus they control American media!

    May 2, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. Jane

    Meghan McCain does not represent America. No matter how you "package" her, she does not represent most of America. Sorry. It will take more than that to rebuild the republicans. Like better ideas that WORK for all Americans, not just the rich. Like tolerance of all Americans, not just the rich and straight. I'm wondering if they can even do it.

    May 2, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Aaron

    Perfect way for the Republicans to remake themselves and turn the country around, by attacking Meghan McCain and asking her to leave. You know it's bad when Karl Rove is stalking her for ideas.

    May 2, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. Larry

    Her words go in circles ...

    Like a High School kid in diapers ...

    I greatly appreciate her efforts to represent a new Republican party

    But she needs to get through puberty to be respected...

    Don't give up girl ...

    May 2, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. Dax Miller

    Meghan McCain seems like the only Republican (whom has been in the media spotlight lately) that truly believes in the convictions she professes to hold. She articulates her thoughts in coherent, concise sentences and I believe she could well be a great politician one day soon. However, her air of authenticity has already been tainted by members of her own party and that may have a negative effect on her political ambitions. Nevertheless, I think she is a breath of fresh air in a party that is searching to find it's direction and reaffirm it's role in American politics. – Independent from Florida

    May 2, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. Joan-Massachusetts

    Till Micheal Steele would stop calling My President names!

    May 2, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. Arizona

    Seems simple, Meghan, just become a Democrat.

    May 2, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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