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. Lynn West Bloomfield, Michigan

    She's got an uphill battle if she wants to rinse the hate out of the majority of Repugs.

    May 3, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  2. bigshot

    Yeah, the Republicans should put that turd of a message into a prettier package and then everyone will eat it up...

    May 3, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  3. David Dee

    A voice in the wilderness soon to be snuffed out by the regulars in the Repugnican party.
    Hey, Meghan, there are some people who share your ideals, their called Democrats

    May 3, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  4. James

    Ms McCain, there is no such thing as an inclusive GOP. There never has been. It has always been the party of status, elitism, and looking back to "the good old days" as a model of the ways things should be in the future. To the party's power base and brain trust (i.e. Limbaugh, Rove, Cheney, et. al.), "centrist" and "moderate" ARE dirty words. This has been the gospel truth spewed from AM radios for the last 20 years, and FOX News for the last 15 years. To compromise is to fail. To fail is unforgivable. Things in the GOP will never change until the old guard dies off.

    May 3, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. Stu-Florida

    “And it’s not that I think that our message is neither good nor bad ..

    That's the point Meghan. There are NO messages other than negative. There are NO ideas. There are NO solutions.

    True, Pres. Obama did an awseome joj of getting his messages out.
    He used every imaginable resource, but he had/has messages. He had/has ideas. He has clear and consice thoughts for the people, because he is OF THE PEOPLE!
    Until the GOP gets rid of the old, archaic thoughts and actions they'll keep going down... in flames!

    May 3, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Chris

    Maybe instead of believing the garbage that spews from the mouths of Limbaugh, Hannity, and the like, the Republican party needs to look at actual data. The idea that most Americans are Christian, pro-life, pro-guns, and pro-war is simply not backed up by the data. Most Americans are none of the above and at best one or two only.

    Similarly, most Americans are not against the government. The same media members who scream about "the liberal media" scream that the government can't do anything right. Clearly, though, Americans want a government to have a hand in how things run, which is a major reason we have the Democrats in power now.

    May 3, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  7. ib

    This woman needs to shut up and CNN needs to stop covering every her everytime she opens her big mouth. She is doing the liberals their work for them and to stupid to realize it unless she is wanting to help them. Her dad is no conservative and that's one reason he lost; the conservatives could not get excited about him. He is nothing more than a liberal democrat himself.

    May 3, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  8. Bill in Austin

    Great ideas for the GOP. I see they have appointed some folks to try to revitalize and reshape the party. Unfortunately, they are doing it with the same folks with the same tired ideas. If they truly want change, they have to do what the Dems did. They changed their outlook, their party leaders, mostly their candidates. They went with young, they went with bold, they went with new ideas. The most important thing is that they thought "out of the box". I doubt the GOP will ever do that with the relics that are still leading the party.

    May 3, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  9. Pragmatic

    Conservatives still believe that they are a "silent majority." So they don't see the need to win over those who disagree with them

    When Republicans speak of "Purging" the party, they are using a Stalinist term to kick out anyone with an independent thought or idea. There are only 2 "moderate" Republicans left in Congress.

    The GOP, with someone named Toomey leading the howling pack, want to "Purify the Party." America is too diverse to be "pure" anything unless we are purely Americans.

    When does the GOP want to take out the first Amendment for everyone but those who are brain-dead and cloned to think like their "glorious leader" ???

    May 3, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  10. truthsayer

    Good luck with that Megan...the old boy rich white man party of NO aint having it.

    May 3, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  11. DCamp

    Meghan McCain speaks for many younger Republicans that are sidelined by their own Party, the Media and common misconceptions. Where does a socially liberal Republican fit in? Right now, no where! The Republican Party is no longer the GOP, but it can still be relevant if it concentrates on core issues such as State Rights and combating Federalism. For example, I'm pro – choice but believe Roe v Wade is not constitutional, the Federal government has no say in the matter – it is a state issue. However, a Constitutional Amendment could be added making it a Constitutional Right to have a choice.

    May 3, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  12. BobC

    Good luck Megan. The Republican party seems to have sold its soul to the fiery rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk. It's much more emotionally satisfying to rant and blame others but it is intellectually bankrupt. Megan is saying "let us reason together". But the party can see no reason to do so.

    May 3, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  13. leonard kishore

    I think the people saying the MEghan is the wrong messenger needs to check themselves.

    You lost the last election, and you are losing a lot of ground in the public opinion. And when someone on your own side says 'look we have a problem', you tell them to shut up?

    Hey, that is good for me. I am all against the pro-christian moral police attitude of 50 years ago that the GOP basically purveys, so as long as you are in chaos, I am fine. BUT, I would be fine working with sensible people who can understand more than one opinion.

    So, whenever you guys and gals are ready to listen to other people, start making notes. Other than that, I'll be watching you in Loser's Row.

    May 3, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  14. Diana NJ


    Her name is Meghan... not Cindy Cindy Cindy... Cindy is her mother!

    May 3, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. Dawn

    Meghan McCain does have the right to voice her opinions. The very wide right should really listen to her. She is young and in tune with the young voters. She hears what people are saying. She has the right to say what she feels the GOP should be heading.
    Most of the GOP's don't listen to what people are telling them. Hearing what Jeb Bush said that Majority of the American People believe the way they do, I beg to differ, majority of the American people voted for Barack Obama.

    May 3, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  16. tiniolives

    Wow, talking about getting both parties up in arms. . great job Meghan, this is the best thing for the GOP get everyone talking, stir the pot! Stop finger pointing and and see exactly what needs to be done. I am a moderate Republican, and finally someone is actually reaching out from within the party to us and saying it is ok, although I have always known this and freely express myself, but I am far from a Democrat and I make that know also.
    But this is great that you have the party's squawking. . I mean isn't that was Obama did, got everyone talking???
    Communication it what needs to happen

    May 3, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  17. cindy

    In my opinion Megan McCain is one of the few Repugs with any sense. She's willing to fight the battle, good for her. She's in for a long up hill battle. I feel the Repugs need more of the younger generation to speak up and help her carry the message. So far, not many of those. I hope she will keep pushing along.

    May 3, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  18. Glenside, PA

    If Meghan McCain is the future of the Republican Party, they have a chance to win back my vote. If they persist with their illogical, supersitious, anti-science, anti-environment, anti-economy, anti-middle-class, anti-America – pro-global-corporate, faux-pro-religious plank, they can count moderates like myself out forever.

    May 3, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  19. VinceP1974

    The way back for the Republican Party is for it to embrace its Conservatives and Libertareans. I dont know what a 'moderate' Republican is.

    I want Extreme Republicans. Extreme in the defense and the honoring of the Constitution. Of Federalism. Of Liberty.. With a restoration of Federalism that would tamper the Social Conservatives that everyone has inflated into this Menace that really doesn't exist.

    Those are the essentail building blocks of the Republican Party that I know. I am not interested in looking back at the mistakes made (and there were many... which is why I am Indepdnent and not a Republican.)

    And one other thing. I'm sick and tired of having to care about this or that minoirity group's feeling of unfairness. With all that is going on int he world, gay marriage is at the bottom of my liist of things that conern me.

    Meaning that, it's counter productive to the Pro-Gay-Marriage side to keep harassing me about it becuase it's making me be against it because of thier inability to let it go for a while. You have your civil unions. now shut up for a while. so that the 20 other crises can be dealt with.

    And Megan, you're 15 minutes have ended a long time ago... Go get a job or something.

    May 3, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  20. Will

    The only way to reform the GOP is for you dirty moderates to expunge the "filthy neo-con pigs" from the party. They have control, so that's not going to happen. So, your only recourse is to leave the Republican Party and form your own. Only 20% of the American public no identifies as "Republican," so now is the time to abandon the fatally flawed GOP and strike out on your own. The party has been doing everything in its power to purge itself of moderates and liberals for 20 years now. Congratulate them for their success, leave, and let the party die from its self-inflicted wounds. The GOP has no future with its current leadership and un-American ideology. Most of us in this country are moderates and neither the GOP or the Democrats have much use for us. We need our own party.

    May 3, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  21. CBA99

    No one is providing a better perspective for the GOP right now than Meghan McCain! The GOP followed the religious right of the party, lost their fiscally conservative message under Bush, and is no longer in tune with America.

    I keep hearing the talk shows bashing Obama and Meghan McCain. The entrenched conservative members still don't get it. The definition of insanity is "continuting to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results." Until the GOP changes its tune it is doomed to represent the Southern evangelicals and the closed minded citizens of this country.

    May 3, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. vic

    Wow, there is so much hate in these comments, from both sides. Y'all are the reasons things don't change. The hate just goes on and on and on. Meghan, since you have the opportunity to have your voice heard, don't be silenced by the haters and the cynics.

    May 3, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  23. DJS

    Meghan, your party is dominated by racists and theocrats. There is no room for people like you, or your father for that matter, in the current rotten incarnation of the GOP.

    I'd suggest you re-register as an independent.

    May 3, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  24. meow

    Am I sensing a Palin v. Meghan cat fight brewing? I can't wait...

    May 3, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  25. Don of Iowa

    Meghan has to realize something, if you care for those less fortunate or you have a conscience you cannot be a part of the republican party, it just is not allowed. You have to be a dirty scumbag neo conservative right wing nutjob to be considered a Repug, case in point, if you do n ot look or sound like scumbag limbaugh who now controls the GOP (Greedy Ole Pigs) or no brains at all Blondie Coulter you are not accepted as part of the mad Rush of ignorant Repugs. Your problem is you have to much intelligence and too many brains for the party your father belongs to, the party changed during the Bush Cheney era, when only lieing, thieving, disgusting bigots were allowed to be repugs, now even your father is not one of the group, only morons like Sarah Palin are allowed as their true leaders. The Republicans as a party are dieing, we are only witnessing its final dieing breathes because they are so non inclusive and only want it their way or no way at all. The Republican party is at its end, now it is only a group of hatred filled bigots and neo con nutjobs, only more Limbaughs need apply, good riddance to the gisgrace of the USA.

    May 3, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
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