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. John

    I respect this girl, she seems to say all the right things. It's a shame she's on the wrong side of the fence. I guess if the Republican party was truly in tune with what they used to be, it would be a tough choice to make for average Americans and that seem to be what she's aiming for. Unfortunately the core of her party is slipping more and more to the right, alienating their own. I'm a democrat but I recognize the need for two or more partiies in this country, but if the GOP is about 'purity' and 'sticking to their guns' with little regard for differring opinions, imo, they're doomed.

    May 2, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Concerned Citizen

    Meghan McCain , like her father don`t seem to understand the fact that , the democractic party has respect , and truly care about the American people . The GOP continues to have " wedge issues ", that tend to devide the country........ namely with phrase`s like , " real americans "....... " good america "..... The republicans elected to the congress, and the senate feel their only obligation is to the wall street crowd, and the very rich . Even their faithful followers of the not to far past , such as those who in the 08` elections switched from republican to democrat , have wised up and realized the fact that they were just being used like " zombies " by the republicans .
    The republicans will be lost and in the " wilderness " for years to come .

    May 2, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. naygie

    The Republicans need to know a few things:
    1. It is not an all white America
    2. Bushism, limbaughism, TPTism, Palinsm, if that's the type of people they are trying to captivate, go ahead and captivate those people, but get used to being the minority party for years to come.

    They need to watch themselves and hear themselves speak and make fake arguments against all those who are just "the other party" or simply non-white. They have the Taliban type of mentality. They need people like cindy mccain with some exposure to other cultures, people and views. Jebb Bush??? come'on! AT THE END OF THE DAY, HE'S A BUSH! WHICH WAR IS HE GOING TO TAKE US ON NEXT?

    May 2, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Eric

    Why not switch over to the Democrats like Specter did? Democrats have no problems with the fiscal conservative members of the party. It is clear that the Republicans are taking in water and they have installed the bilges backwards. Stop wasting your energy and let the wingnuts be.

    May 2, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. Mike

    The republican party needs more Meghan McCains and more John McCains (pre-2008 Presidential Candidate McCain that is). Those are the people that I can connect with. The republican party today is something that I regard as narrow in view, and politicizes social mores rather than the issues that matter to government. Small government is a good message, something that I can go for. But expanding the government and military in the name of 'small government,' legislating and institutionalizing "Christian Values" (and a very narrowly defined and quite exclusive version of Christian values) in the name of 'conservatism,' and pandering to s very exclusive group of majority white, christian, heterosexual, gun owning, rural middle class and business elites, is something that i cannot support. Where did the Rockefeller Republicans go? The socially liberal, small government Republicans. John McCain was once one, and the other defected to the Democrats. I just hope that people like you, Meghan, can get the party that I once respected back on track again.

    May 2, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. Manuel

    I think it is going to be difficult for the Republican Party to come back into power because of people such as radio talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh, who have taken the party too far to the right. In fact I have said for the past few years that talk show hosts such as Rush is the best thing to come along for the Democratic Party since ice tea. There is an old saying, "If you eat too much food, you will eventually get full". This is where I believe America is at at this time for the Republican Party. They are tired of the hating and are looking for solutions to real problems.

    May 2, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. Moe NY

    Meghan you remind me of a girl called PollyAnna...lol. News flash...18-somethings on up found inspiration in President Obama and, continue to believe in him and the plans he has for bringing America back from the brink of disaster caused by the Republican/Conservative mentality. As for the GOP changing its image, it only brings to mind that old saying: A wolf in sheeps clothing. Senator McCain...you and the rest of your party of NO are not living in the 21st century....back to old principles....spare me.

    May 2, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. Diana NJ

    Please listen to this young woman... she speaks the truth... without moderate Republicans ... and only the right wing standing in front of the mics... you are killing your party..

    May 2, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Mark

    I tend to support the Democrats, but I like Meghan. She has a great views and ideas that other Republicans should listen to. And to those who think Meghan has "had her 15 minutes of fame", she hasn't. I expect to see her for a while yet.

    May 2, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. Jabari Woods

    It's about more than packaging.

    Why Cantor and Co. are out there in campaign mode having town hall meetings with no new ideas in tow is a mystery.

    Shame...

    May 2, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. AJP

    Meghan tells it like it is, but with the old Republican guard I doubt if her words will given much thought.

    It will take another big defeat in the mid term elections for the Republicans to wake up. They are out of touch with the American people.

    May 2, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. RUTY

    Enough Mehgan. You keep on mouthing. It is time to be quiet. You are getting ready to mess up. Stop now.

    May 2, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Chris W,

    I hope she gets into politics and runs for office. Chances are she'll probably loose against a Democrat. And if she wins, it's better for the country than another Limbaugh-esque Republican. Although still annoying, she does spout off all that Reganomic psychobabble like the rest of em, Meghan is just a smidge more tolerable than lets say- I don't know- the Palins!!!

    May 2, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. Fitz in Texas

    Ok, I've prepared myself because here comes the same old nasty comments from the left. Not sure why I even take the time to read them because it's always the same. Guess I just need a good laugh.

    May 2, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. Tom

    At least Meghan McCain can do a little thinking for herself, unlike so many in the GOP. Maybe one of these days, she'll reach true enlightenment and think herself right out of the GOP altogether. Meantime, she's still hot as all get-out!

    May 2, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. Sanity

    Let's start with some Republican leaders who don't kneel before Rush Limbaugh, who don't pander to the illiterati and the religious nutballs, who don't obstruct every ounce of progress in this country.

    May 2, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Julia

    I sincerely applaud Meghan's efforts and statements about the Republican party. For some time, it seems that the GOP has received tremendous, negative criticism for leaning "too right" – where there is little to no middle ground for moderation of any sort. Being a Libertarian myself, I can emphasize with her struggles in a political system that clearly favors right and left wings. While I don't favor the Sen. McCain personally, I believe that his daughter's statements regarding reaching a younger generation are right on. I recently voted in my first election, and I found quickly that the 18-24 year-old voting group was of least importance compared to other demographics. However, I feel that this past 2008 campaign in particular aroused more political involvement by my peers than any before it, due in most part to Obama's methods of engagement.

    May 2, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. Erdie

    Go and beat this Muslim President Hussein OBAMA. Shame on us American, to have this President, coz he is only good in talking, that's all, talking. nothing more.

    MITT ROMMEY is the right man to be President, or SARAH PALIN.

    May 2, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. Andi

    I have a suggestion (a real one) for the GOP in remaking their image. I've noticed in their speeches and also in the posts of many Republican bloggers the tendency to call someone a 'true American' or 'Patriot'. I think they should quit with that. No one has any place deciding what a 'true American' is or telling someone else they are unpatriotic or not a 'good' American citizen. I'm a lifelong Democrat and am getting really sick of Americans telling other Americans they are not 'good' or 'patriotic' citizens, meanwhile, they are against everything, for nothing (but themselves) and very negative all the time. Nothing is good, everything is bad and it's all because we have a Black President. They don't want to help the poor, but helping the rich is great. I'm just plain sick and tired of it. Don't call me a traitor or tell me you are more 'American' than I. You have no right.

    May 2, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  20. Jouxster

    An inclusive party? What? So inclusive means spending like drunken sailors only when there is an (R) in front of the representative. Me, several of my fellow workers and their families did not even vote last time because of the failures to shift this government to a smaller government. The weight of our governing body is crashing the workers and what savings they have. States with (D)'s running them have been failing for years. Now that (D)'s can print money.. we as a nation have a day of reckoning within the next several years.

    May 2, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  21. SoSaysSam

    The Rubs are too stupid to see how correct this woman is.

    The radical right has hijacked the Rub party, but just because they call themselves conservative does not mean they are.

    This is now the party of opposition, anything they say is the truth, is a lie, anything they say is good is bad, anything they say is bad, is good.

    May 2, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  22. Linda

    I hear what Meghan is saying. It's just her tone that sounds like she's abandoning her party by always applauding the Obama's campaign. The reason why the younger generation lean left is because most don't understand how gov't works yet. When I was in college, I didn't give a rats about politics. The media advertised Obama as the young face of the future. If I was young and naive, I would've voted for Obama, but I did my research and voted for her dad because of Palin.

    Her dad was the old man who the Obama camp called McBush or McSame. It was her dad's campaign who brought about smears (or maybe it was the Obama campaign pretending to be the McCain staffers) everyday on Palin that dragged the ticket down.

    Meghan also says that the GOP should not focus on social agendas (and I agreed wit her), but now she's coming out as a hardcore promoter of gay marriage, which is a social agenda.

    If this is the only way for her to extend her 15 minutes of fame, then whatever.

    I'm a right-leaning Democrat who will register as an Independent in the next election cycle. I am neither for or against gay marriage. I believe in fiscal conservatism.

    May 2, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  23. Lori

    Pssst, Meghan. Over here. Here's a little heads-up. The Republican party doesn't like you or your daddy. The Tea Parties, Rush's chants of failure for the President, Sean Hannity's rants on Fox News, etc ... they aren't really working. So much for a comeback. Time to join the winning team.

    May 2, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  24. LouAZ

    Still nothing of substance . . . Flag waving is not a program. There is nothing left of the Republican Party as moderate Repubs have already been shouted down by religious fanatics.

    May 2, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. Erdie

    Go and beat this Muslim President Hussein Obama. Shame on us who voted for this guy, coz he is only good in talking, only talking, nothing more than good talking. America need someone who talk less but do MORE.

    MITT ROMMEY OR SARAH PALIN IS GOOD FOR THAT JOB, being the right person to be PRESIDENT.

    Please dont hide my comment, be fair CNN, your always covering and protecting this Muslim President. This guy is a nuts.

    May 2, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
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