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. Meghan Just go away

    Meghan you are irrelevant and inconsequential to the nation. Please just go away

    May 2, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. MLH

    I would be interested in what an inclusive GOP would look like. I've always wondered how the moderates manage to co-exist in a party that has for the past several decades pandered to such extremists.

    May 2, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Dave

    The republican party is inclusive but it will not sell out its core values to appease the lib media.

    Republicans have to continue to tell the truth about Obama and the current day Democratic party. If a RINO is being dishonest about Obama and not staying true to the tradition of integrity, they will be called out, its as simple as that.

    We don't want to believe the truth about Obama, we want to be wrong, but the truth is the truth and someone needs to say it. The media will not, not when they talk about Obama giving them thrills up their legs. The republicans will reap the benefits as good hearted, decent, honest, fair Americans begin to see the truth and accept the fact that Obama and his administration are national socialists. Be sure the right will never target our military as terrorists, or fly a plane low in NYC with 2 fighter jets trailing it to scare people and test them for what we will soon learn it was truly about. NO, republicans are the party of NO, no socialism, no class warfare, no lies, no theft of others money. Republican will continue to be the party for the best of America as it has always been. All givers welcome, not greedy lib takers who angrily demand that others hard earned wealth is theirs.

    May 2, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. JonDie

    There are NO moderate in the real Republican Party. Real Republicans don't tolerate "moderation." Only radical, extremists need apply.

    May 2, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  5. JSC

    Although I don't agree with her politics, I do admire her willingness to speak her mind about what she thinks about her party. It is time for both parties to stop talking and do a whole lot more listening.

    May 2, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. faith

    Megan, don't worry, John King is doing the republican job!

    May 2, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. R

    Get over it Meghan. You might as well be a liberal and feel good about yourself and your country. The republican machine is doomed to utter failure and rightly so. They have gutted the self respect of Americans and should just hit the road and not come back. :)

    May 2, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Corwin7

    No John, it's not the principles...it's the part of the message you don't say...lets take the Less Taxes thing...your all for taxes as long as the taxes go toward serving the wealthy rather than the starving. In your party people who get down to starving should just go ahead and die so they don't "inconvenience" the "real americans"(i.e. those running mega corporations and wealthy enough to be generous with donations or stupid enough not to realize the translation set forth here) If you people would just admit that what you really define as good or bad can be smelted down to MONEY period at least we could give you credit for being honest. You will gladly spend a trillion dollars blowing up a country that is no threat to us if you think it's going to make huge profits for your portfolio, but spending the same amount on bridges and schools is a "waste of taxpayer dollars".

    May 2, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Kate in SW Fla

    The War in Iraq was a huge mistake. "Staying the Course" was worse. Year after year, the Bush Administration refused to make any adjustments at all, and the Republican congress rubber stamped this blunder, over and over again. Try as they may though, Republicans seen hard-wired to this mentality. Until that changes, their parties' ideas will not get a fair hearing, no matter how good they may be. And, make no mistake, it would benefit our country to have a diversity of ideas. We do need that. But coming from Newt Gingrich, or Rush Limbaugh – seriously? Meghan is right – get over these dudes, get in the 21st Century.

    May 2, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. Katie

    Amen, if they are ever going to rebuild they need to not drive away their young and moderate members and get away from these big government issues like regulating peoples' private lives.

    May 2, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. DEM in HI

    I agree totally with her message with one exception. The GOP also has lost touch with moderates of all ages. It is so sad that the GOP – Greedy Old Party, and the DNC – Don't need cash, have all but forgotten the moderates. I am so disappointed in both parties. The Democrats for let's spend and worry about things later to the GOP living in the past, and for both parties pandering to the left and the right during the election process. If this is the best our system can do, then we are doomed because we cannot afford to spend like there is no tomorrow, nor can we just say let's let the market work itself out.

    I wish someone would realize that we need a party that will reign in the spending on pork, and spend only on things that actually do something for all of us. Switching power sources is good, but why has there been no new refineries built in the US since the 1980s? Problem is that some people look for easy answers to tough questions.

    CNN, please cover why both parties are failures with the public. If you think the public is happy with the way things are going in the US, why are 80% against the bailouts, yet 90% of Congress and the Pres are for it? There is a definite disconnect here and it does take a rocket scientist to figure out the news media is missing the point.

    May 2, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Hal

    Miss Mcain is saying aloud the embarrassing truth the conventional republican is thinking. The thing is what she's doing has the potential to further split the party, because it clarifies the true face of the party to a considerable section of both existing and potential republicans, young and middle age.
    And I'll be honest by saying that I think its great because I'm enjoying every second of it !

    May 2, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. carolinacajun

    "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."

    Yeah, we tried that by nominating your dad. We saw how well that worked.

    May 2, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. scott

    Recently on slow CSPAN days I have tuned into Rush Limbaugh's and Sean Hannity's radio shows.

    I was dumfounded. Limbaugh is a seething perveyor of not only flat out untruths ... he seems to be just LOOKING for ways to pump up hatred.

    Hannity is no better. This must be some kind of game to capture an illiterate, frustrated demographic for the sake of advertising revenue ... it certainly isn't anything intellectually grounded.

    I am beginning to think Limbaugh's license to broadcast should be revoked for outright subversion.

    May 2, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Bill

    That would be great except the extream right ring of the party it there way or the high-way!

    I will never vote Republican again until the extream right wing of the party leave.

    May 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. Kim in Arizona, FOR NOW

    You can put lipstick on a pig and its still a pig! Look the problem with the republicans is that no matter HOW they try to dress up their message its NOT going to sale. You cant say "come to the dark side of hate and fear and NO ideas" and expect people to be drawn to it no matter HOW you package it. Obamas message was clear, no more torture, no more occupation of Iraq, no more spending BILLIONS and BILLIONS in other countries to gain control of oil. He said lets start rebuilding America and make people like us again ,and become the country we USED to be. Sorry but the republicans are not trying to change ANYTHING bush did, they are just trying to put a big bow on it...Sorry to little too late, America woke up, and the republicans are done!!!

    May 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  17. Mike Rock

    Evidently Meghan McCain has some friends at CNN since it seems to be the only news organization that is continually going out of the way to put her in the spot light. Her and her father are no longer a factor so it makes no sense this continual McCain coverage other than CNN having an agenda.

    May 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  18. Brad from Bmore

    Here is the problem for the GOP.

    There are a ton of financially conservative people out there but are socially moderate...even liberal.

    The GOP is so worried about the appeasing the religous right, they are missing out on the silent majority. Most US citizens are moderate but don't wear god on the forehead. Here is my thought process, I am a republican but I don't care if 2 dudes want to get married, if its against the bible, God will deal with them later.

    We are not the GOD party, lets worry about accountability, low taxes, and strong military.

    May 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. T NOLA

    Meghan youre a great lady , and great personality ........ Come to the other side sister, the GOP/REPUBLICAN Party is dead and will have no affect on National policy or pretty much anything for a very long time, they mean nothing ....... You have great IDEAS and great Ideas that the DEMOCRATS would more than welcome ........... We respect womens choices and voices ...........

    May 2, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. mike

    The honest truth about Megan McCain is that she is a somebody because of her dad. She has done nothing to earn the respect of the GOP on her own. You can't just tell the party to change, if you haven't done anything to build it, other then being born in the right family. All she will accomplish is further dividing the party on controversial issues rather then uniting it!

    May 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  21. Janice

    The republicans should change their symbol from the elephant to the dodo bird.

    May 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. The Truth

    Meghan........we don't look at you like a "dirty moderate", we look at you like a "dirty democrat".

    May 2, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. Kait

    So I should become pro-choice in order to satisfy Ms. McCain and others? Sorry toots. I'm not gonna budge on that one. Ms. "Socially liberal" is the one who's not being inclusive. Besides, I'm 21. Thus, my youth trumps hers.

    May 2, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. President Obama could walk on water and the Party of NO would still complain that he left footprints!

    Sorry, Meghan, but the problem is the party of NO is an umbrella, it needs to be a tent a Big Top tent.

    You are correct though, that the rabid right does look down on moderates and none, other than you, are fighting back, so good luck, as youth is always optimistic!

    With time you will tire of the hopeless battle and end up switching sides like the other moderate Specter. The rabid right neo-cons hate moderates they are RINO remember? The "new" NCAC was being protested by the rabid right during the unveiling of the "new" GOP.
    So, in time you will leave and allow them to continue to drink the Greedy Old People's prune juice!

    Lots of luck getting the repub platform to appeal to 20 somethings. The party of NO has proven time and again, they would save a 4 cell zygote, but very quickly ship the 20 somethings of to be killed in their war machine used to spread their version of "christianity" and democracy to the entire world!

    May 2, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. david

    the mccains are really liberal democrats in republican coats. they should change their party. john should retire since he, by selecting palin, handed the presidency to obama. meghan should just go away and complete her ambition of being a designer or clothing or whatever. if meghan, gingrich, jeb bush, palin, rush lambaugh continue to speak for all republicans, it will ensure an obama victory next election.

    May 2, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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