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. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    I am fiscally conservative and consider myself socially moderate since I am pro choice for rape, incest, life of the mother, disabling health of the mother (not I can't handle a baby) or the first trimester but do not think the tax payers should pay for it. I agree with the republicans more than democrats on small goverment, school choice, tort reform, cut welfare to corporate and individuals, gun ownership, personal responsibility, and most of all a strong defense. I thought Bush should raise taxes to pay for the wars and the deficit but not for more social welfare programs. If Obama raises income taxes and energy taxes (cap and trade) they need to be raised on everyone, not just the rich and middle class. Maybe the 40% who do not take pay income taxes would not have their hands out for more money from government? (Not, they think America owes them a life that includes cell phones, cars, video games, computers, nice new homes, multiple color TV's with HBO, and money to spend on their own bad habits)

    May 3, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  2. Mark

    Meghan is right and all the right wing, stubborn, bigoted fascists in the repugnican party will continue to try to silence her....the comments here prove that the old guard repukelicans don't want to change, and only want to be a party of straight, white, "christian", male, rich, elite, discriminating, intolerant "americans". They don't want to change with the times. They only want to continue their greedy, self-centered policies, exclude anyone without a few million in the bank, rape & pillage the economy and environment, take away the civil rights of a huge group of people, waste BILLIONS in Iraq & Afghanistan. They are obsolete and haven't realized that the rest of the country is moving on to the future without them.

    May 3, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. obambi

    most of these people blogging here are liberals–beware of their advice.

    May 3, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. Barbara

    After numerous years of voting Repub, this past year I voted Democrat as the Reps have gone so far to the right, they don't listen to their moderate members. I'm pro-choice, fiscal responsibility, somewhat of a tree-hugger, etc. and the Repubs just listen to their far-right people. I want very little to do with the Repubs right now. Their "god" is Rush Limbaugh. He wouldn't win if he ran for dog catcher.

    May 3, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. James

    She is going to be the new Maverick.

    May 3, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. Flo

    Is it just me are others sick of McCain clan getting on the tube every which way but loose? Ms. McCain has too much time on her hands, maybe she should get a job (like ordinary folks) and donate her earnings to charity (because we know she doesn't need the cash) instead wasting time speaking out on matters she has no clue.

    May 3, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. Ohio Lady

    If the Republican party were more like Meghan McCain, more of us would have voted Republican. But alas, you have these Neo-Cons like Jeb Bush (not another Bush...PLEASE!) and Newt Gingrich (3 marriages) waiting in the wings for us to forget about what George W. and Cheney, Rumsfeld and the whole pro-torture, hawkish clan did to America. Then there are the whacko types like Bachman and Palin who see Socialists and Communists everywhere! It surprised me to read here that people criticize CNN for giving Meghan time, for many of us feel you are too hard on Obama. By the way, what's with all this grading of Obama? Maybe, we the viewers, should be grading the reporters! As for me, I say, "More power to you, Meghan!" You get an "A" from the teacher.

    May 3, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. Pat

    @Lane Tucker: Young people voted for Obama because he stood for a new generation, and not because he promised free college – what an insult.
    ... and this is exactly what old republican do not get.
    Meghan 'get's it. And they should listen carefully to what she is saying.

    May 3, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. vendettared


    Your view of humanity is skewed. When in history has it been appropriate for a group of people to EVER stop fighting for their rights?

    Should the original Europeans that settled Eastern America have given up during the Revolutionary War?

    Should Black Americans have given up at any time during their incredibly long stuggle for equality (which, thanks to folks like you continues to this day)?

    Should Women have given up on their struggle for equality (another group still not fully equal in every state)?

    Should Homosexual people give up when they are not given equal rights as those enjoyed by Heterosexual couples?

    I say NO, they should not give up. This country was founded on fighting for what you believe in. The Constitution clearly states that all men are equal and I would expect no person to "settle" for anything less. And in case you were wondering, I do not belong to any of the aforementioned groups, I hold no bias to any one side in particular.

    May 3, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. Kim

    When did she become the spokesperson for the Republican Party? She had very little to say during the campaign and just stood, smiled and waved. Today, her opinions have very little substance and she hasn't brought anything new to the table that hasn't already been addressed. Maybe the Republican Party should listen to her after all, she has tons of experience.

    May 3, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. Jeffrey

    It couldn't be more plain that America needs a truly viable third party, which is where Meghan McCain would fit. It's not possible to make the Republicans "cool again", because the last time they were was under Lincoln. They are an exclusive, 99% old-white-man's club, and everyone knows it. It's been my feeling for years and it still stands that the vast majority of dissatisfied Americans are really Libertarians and don't even know it. Look into the Libertarian party and if you think it fits your political leanings, consider voting Libertarian next time. The Democrats and Republicans have held power long enough.

    May 3, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. magella

    "most of these people blogging here are liberals–beware of their advice."

    What is that supposed to mean? Clearly the "advice" from and for the Republican Party has gotten them nowhere so far. And using "obambi" as your screen name just shows your prejudice and resistance to reality. Why don't you offer some constructive comments? We will all listen, even if we don't agree.

    May 3, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  13. JAnet

    She speaks well, but so far she hasn't done anything yet. Therefore, don't fool yourself, she can't be a "future", unless republicans want to fail again....She is just a good "talker"...

    May 3, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. Polly

    I think Obama represents what is "in" with the younger generation. If you look at how they are dressing these days, tatoos, and the music they listen's kind of like what someone said about "black being in." I don't think older generations are "in" to it and frankly I see too many things I don't like about it- increase in gangs, drugs, guns, wearing pants down to their knees...but it is hard for older generations to understand this unless they have kids I guess. Maybe Meghan McCain can help the Party somehow understand what it is kids are in to- it's probably just the typical rebellion- "they don't want to be told what to do" kind of thing. I think he got a lot of votes simply because he's black, and maybe because he got out and played basketball with the kids, which is not a reason to vote for someone, but a lot of the younger kids probably identified with him on that. How many of the kids today know about Vietnam and John McCain's story? How about his relations with the Vietnamese? I know for sure McCain had my town's vote and my state, but Obama got more of the black population out to vote in the metropolitan areas. I believe this was a race thing. I can understand why the black population would support him, but I don't think he was a better choice, nor more qualified. Seemed like their was more wrong with him as a Presidential Candidate. I think we should focus on what this country was founded and built on and teach kids why this is so important to them and to future generations. Most of all, they may not realize how lucky they have it. The moral values of society are declining as people's rights become more important. Teach them not to misuse and to respect the freedom that is theirs. I think freedom is being taken for granted these days.

    May 3, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. change has arrived

    all this girl does is add more hate to the republican party, the Obama girls could talk with more intelligence than mccain.

    May 3, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  16. Neil

    Meghan's cool but she needs to distance herself from the Republican Party altogether. The Party is dead; killed off by amoral and corrupt political opportunists unconcerned with anything but their own personal agendas.
    Go Libertarian, Megan. It's the future of conservatism.

    May 3, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. Jen in VA

    First @ Willy Brown..."The difference between a "moderate" and a socially"liberal" is that one had a GED and one has High Scholl diploma." Judging by your grammer and spelling, it seems that you don't have either. Now, I swear, I am so sick of seeing this woman's name in the news. She is like Sarah Palin, she will not go away. The GOP talks about doing things differently, but let's face it, when you have people like Jimmy Swaggert, Rod Parsely, John Hagee and Pat Robertson pulling the strings, the rest are forced to dance. These people use God as a weapon to scare the uneducated. Maybe what the Romney and the McCain crew need to do is start out in the midwest. Hold townhall meetings in those rural churches and maybe for once i can turn on the TV without seeing them.

    May 3, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. 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 they will 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 3, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Drew

    We need an economically conservative, socially liberal party that is not beholden to the Radical Right. Whether that comes from influencing the Republican party or starting a third party is another question.

    I hear some members of the Republican party describe their overall philosophy and think it sounds like mine. Then I see what they actually do in office and I move back to the Democrats.

    May 3, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  20. D. Tree

    Meghan McCain is right, the GOP is wrong if it thinks the solution is to attract younger voters with technology and marketing gimmicks.

    The GOP is in denial about the fact they lost a lot of older voters to Democrats in the last election as well.

    In order to fix their party, the Republicans need more than a makeup job, they need to modernize their ideology as well.

    May 3, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. Phila, PA

    Meghan McCain may be a "graduate of Columbia University" (as if somehow that lends authority to the garbage that she spews), but she is inarticulate, can't write, and has no brain. She mistakenly believes that the GOP's problem is that "the Democrats package their message better." It's not about "packaging" a message, Meghan. It's that the American people have heard the message of the Republicans - the "old principles" of reducing help to those in need, tax cuts for the wealthy (such as herself), and the need for torture "to keep us safe" - and we repudiate it. Instead, we embrace Democratic principles: that we are a nation of "we" not "me," the importance of social safety nets (including a “public option” for health insurance and ultimately “single payer”) as well as rebuilding the middle class (which has been destroyed under Republican rule), and ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share of the taxes. The differences between these two messages are profound, and Americans' commitment to the Democratic message has nothing to do with superficial "packaging." The American people made their choice in November: we embrace the Democratic message of honoring our social contract with one another, and reject the Republican "trickle down" message of tax cuts for the wealthy while shredding the social contract and destroying our country in the process. Look where Republican rule has brought us: to the brink of ruin. You can put lipstick on the "old principles" of the GOP and pin a big fat bow on it, but it's still a stinkin' pig.

    May 3, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Mike Dallas

    Meghan McCain may be the future voice of the republican party but the RNC Gestapo will soon see that she is silenced.

    May 3, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. Tann in Georgia

    Unfortunately, any change the Republican party makes over the next four years is bound to be cosmetic only. Too many egotistical ideologues among what passes for leadership in the current GOP and a surprising willingness to dignify the garbage spewed by right wing talk radio means they are doomed through the next election cycle. Because the only thing the GOP currently understands is the need to win at all cost, the political botox and cosmetic enhancements they are currently contemplating will only result in further grotesque disfigurement of an already really ugly group. Remember "compassionate conservativism" and "contract with America"? I'm really curious to see what new sloganeering Newt and the good ol' boys will come up with next time. Four years is too short a time for these moribund morons to genuinely change.

    May 3, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. Pioneer

    With the same old retreads, following the leader Rush. the umbrella is very small.
    If you don't fit under the umbrella with all of Sarah's skin heads and Ann's hate mongers then they want you either to agree with them or out.
    My guess is the circular firing squad will keep shooting until all are dead

    May 3, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. Melissa Lindberg

    Republicans are republicans...what else can you say? One of the reasons Obama was so successful besides the fact that he did a super job of using every resource available to humankind (which any saavy, intelligent candidate SHOULD do) he DID get to the heart of the matter for most everyone in the country, he was talking about stuff that ACTUALLY matters to american citizens not just droning on about the same old crap! In my opinion everyone had just grown accustomed to listening to the same old BS spewage from BOTH partys and america collectively stopped listening YEARS ago. Obama got up there and said what was on our minds actually and for the first time in decades people cleared the cobwebs, and sat up and took notice! We stopped and listened and weighed out or choices instead of robotically going into the polls and checking the box of "the party you have always checked" he made america actually think about what there pen was doing, and the first timers say to themselves "maybe it DOES matter if I vote.." Until the GOP can come to terms with the fact that its 2009 not 1909 and its just not acceptable in this day and age to dictate what a person does with THEIR body, and that there IS and SHOULD be a separation of church and state, and that no, you do not have the right to deny someone the pursuit of happiness by telling them who they can and cannot marry. These are all basic and human rights that ALL americans are entitled to thats what has been fought for, our freedom as indivuals. I just dont see it happening, but kudos for Meghan McCain for trying! The longest journey starts with a single step....

    May 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
1 2 3 4 5