May 3rd, 2009
07:59 AM ET
9 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: John McCain • Meghan McCain • Popular Posts
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. David

    She is the future of the Republican party, if it is going to have a future. I'd consider voting for a Republican if (s)he were socially progressive but fiscally conservative.

    May 3, 2009 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  2. Willy Brown

    The difference between a “moderate” and a socially“liberal” is that one had a GED and one has High Scholl diploma.

    May 3, 2009 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  3. Lane Tucker

    Responding to Mehgan McCain: The young people voted for Obama because he promised to give free college education and etc. and he was very convincing with his speaking abilities...but there is no way he can produce.

    May 3, 2009 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  4. Jay

    There was a time when I wasn't affiliated with either party, back in the days when the Republican party was about small government and not the Great White Christian party. I eventually signed on as a Democrat despite my reservations because the GOP just seems to have utterly lost any sense of respect for the Constitution or separation of Church & State in the past decade.

    If there were more Republicans like Meghan with a voice in the GOP, I might be forced to reconsider my position.

    Sadly, it's more likely that the GOP voices will be immediately denouncing her as an airhead blonde bimbo who shouldn't open her mouth the first chance they get.

    May 3, 2009 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  5. Scott, TX

    You gotta love Meghan for standing up to her party's bullies, but eventually she will see the light and realize she's a Democrat, as just about every other Northern and West Coast Republican invariably does. Meghan, your party is the antithesis of an "umbrella party." It hates all minorities and out-spoken women, and it is - by its very nature - an exclusive party for White, Anglo-Saxon, male, Protestant-Christians (and closeted gay preachers). Once you get over the "Democrat" label, you will join us, just as I got over the "Socialist" label and became an "out" Socialist as Capitalism proved itself to be a complete fraud that rapes and pillages the masses while using public money to cover its private-sector losses (which, ironically, is a socialist-based mechanism, but its being applied to the "free market," which in turn operates only when under strict government regulation, whicha again in turn is a socialist mechanism– see the dizzying spiral forming?)

    May 3, 2009 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  6. dreamer

    Ummm megan,your leader 's of your party are the diry ones,the american people saw that and voted em out and now disfunctional.The only thing they want to care about is power and that has made for a lost party that is lost and dieing of thisrt in the middle of the summer at noon with no shade.So intill they learn listin to everyone in america and not just those who kiss thier perverball you know whats and get away from the wack jobs that now influence the party(putting it farther into a downward spiral).You'll really need to stop and listen to the music and get the beat of all in this country and not just those shouting hate and decet the loudest.After all we are america, not just lobbyiest's and perfict peopleYou and yours .Really need to stop and think about starting a new party that cares about more than limiting freedoms and impossing morals.It's all about America and the land of the free.So get going on some new positive ideas and maybie will leand you an ear and a voice,but tell then we are deaf,dump,and blind to your insane brand of polotics.

    May 3, 2009 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  7. Barbara Campbell

    Folks are getting quite tired of Meghan McCain, CNN.

    May 3, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  8. An opinion

    Saying anything to appease the impulses of the masses is unwise. You have to back your claim with actions. That's what made presidential campaign and current presidency of Obama successful. He have given all Americans an opportunity to sit at the table and contribute to a living and breathing government. He has challenged Americans much like JFK..."ask not what your country can do for you...ask what can I (you) do for my country.."

    May 3, 2009 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  9. Putuma

    Meghan McCain is the future. Period.

    May 3, 2009 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. Ray Marden

    Given the numerous insulting, derogatory statements made by Megan McCain about people that do not agree with her...if she is considered a "moderate," she is proof positive of how true moderates and/or centrists are considered second class people in the Republican party.

    Need we recall the hoops John McCain was forced to jump through on this most recent election?

    May 3, 2009 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  11. Cynical Tony

    Good for her. Too bad for the GOP that Republican moderates like her won't get much media coverage and will be drowned out by far right-wing radio and talkshow hosts. Maybe they might stand half a chance in the upcoming midterm elections if they paid more attention to her message.

    May 3, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  12. Lee

    "National Council for a New America"? I don't want a new America. I love my country. Shouldn't it be the "National Council for a New GOP"?

    May 3, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  13. chuck

    As long as Jeb Bush,Steele,McCain,Limbaugh, McConnell,Cantor,Palin,Jindal,Romney,Pawlenty and Rudy Giualini are around the Republican Party it will be GARBAGE as usual so let me say this as clearly as i can to Meghan McCain -It's time to quit POLITICS and look for a playmate and some TLC.

    May 3, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  14. Scott

    Cindy, Cindy, Cindy. You just don't get it. You don't. The GOP party has been in a culture war since the late 60's & early 70's...before you were even born. Do some research on this topic and all the pieces start to fall into place on how your "beloved" party got to where they are today. Start with Jerry Falwell. Things really are as bad as they seem because the religious makeover of the GOP has been 40+ years in the making.

    May 3, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  15. Jim

    Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are Patriots. They are just filthy politicians. Both parties are corrupt, and they cannot be fixed. We need a elected and appointed officials to defend the Constitution and a mechanism for the people to "recall" them from office when necessary. Impeachment is an ineffective tool, with the fox guarding the hen house.

    May 3, 2009 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  16. Randy

    Megan and John,
    If you want an inclusive party join the Green Party or the Democrats the Republicans have the same mentality as the Taliban. Destroy what you don't agree with. They have no place in a democratic society but we have to be tolerant ignorant otherwise we become like them.

    May 3, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  17. Lila

    In my ideal world, the two major parties would be the Democrats and the Libertarians. Whether and how much the government should get involved in the economy is a valid debate with good points on both sides.

    But I hope the Republicans are destroyed when it comes to the social issues. Meghan is correct. The Republicans are going to lose badly on issues like gay marriage. The younger generation sees banning gay marriage as little more than outright discrimination.

    May 3, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  18. Jim

    Never fails, the "losing" party always comes through with a "we need to rebuild our image" stint.. The democrats did it when they lost to Bush the first time, and "Lost" to Bush the second time.

    Nothing new to see here... move along..

    May 3, 2009 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  19. texrb

    Wrong. The reasons McCain gives "moderating" the GOP is the very thing that has them in this situation: They became RINO's and conservatives punished them by firing them. To resurrect, they must stop paying lip service to the Reaganism that put them in power and practice what they preach. Becoming "socially liberal" means becoming a democrat.

    May 3, 2009 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  20. Stuart Blythin

    why? why why? Every single time Meghan makes a comment cnn posts it on their website. I don't understand why you care so much!!!! Please someone tell me. I have to know why it matters?

    May 3, 2009 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  21. Kevin McLeod

    I LOVE Meghan.

    May 3, 2009 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  22. Brian Thompson

    “Let’s not underestimate the people of America."

    And there in lies the problem. The Republicans never considered the American people, let alone underestimated them or listened to them. The Republicans have not been about the people for a very long time, they have been about rich corporations and their rich good-ol-boy buddies.

    The facts are Republicans do not like government, how can you govern the people and the nation if you do not like government.

    Look at what Jeb Bush left behind in FL. It's a crime. These people think they can do what ever they want when they want without regard of the very people that allow them to be there. They do not care about you or me they care only about themselves.

    To me Republicans are selfish greedy individuals.

    May 3, 2009 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  23. Yahbut

    I, too, believe that the Republican party should be more inclusive, but I believe that Megan McCain is not the one to be speaking for others.

    Fine if she wishes to speak for herself, but, unfortunately, she comes across as a very immature young woman – even for her age.

    She is very attractive and well spoken, but I get the impression that she needs to grow up a little. I'm afraid all the publicity she is receiving is going to her head.

    Not only does the Republican party need to me more inclusive, but it needs to quit harping on things like abortion. Every person in this country has the right to believe whatever they wish, but some people have gone overboard on the things that they are making political.

    The Republican party is not the party of no, but, finally, the party of common sense. The democrat party, very unfortunately, has become the party of memory lapses and nastiness.

    Read a little more, Megan, about the past and help people of your age group to mature more and you will be well on your way to being a very good representative for the republican party.

    May 3, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  24. William Wordsmith

    America, listen carefully to Meghan McCain. As a lifelong moderate Republican who has voted (successfully) for at least five past Republican Presidents, I broke ranks in '08 and voted (gasp!) for Mr. Obama, feeling that the Republican party has stopped being a compelling voice of America's great silent majority. Is it now the voice of the new American fringe? Exclusionary, elitist, selfish... extremists? I HOPE NOT but am fearful of what I have seen.

    Get back to the center, fellow Republicans, and I will return with my votes. Until then, show a little respect to the sitting President and stop criticizing his every move on TV. It makes us look like the party of classless whiners, and is garnering us no new votes.

    Keep up the good work, Ms. McCain!

    May 3, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  25. Frank Lee

    How long before she's muzzled and shoved into the basement?

    The rabid kooks on the far right won't tolerate her public statements for long.

    May 3, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
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