May 2nd, 2009
05:58 PM ET
12 years ago

Meghan McCain: Don't look at us like 'dirty moderates'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. James in Spokane

    The Republican party needs to speak to our generation by sticking to its principles and showing it can, and will be the party of integrity and honesty for America. Megan McCain simply needs to go home, we don't want her anymore. The Republican party is speaking just fine to myself and many of my young-20's friends.

    Megan McCain, stop trying to ruin my party, the only reason anyone cares about what you think is because your last name is McCain. Your right, younger republicans don't have much of a voice. That's because you are too busy stealing it with your last name and liberal propaganda. Be a moderate, fine, just do it somewhere else.

    May 2, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. daniel

    Did CNN make a deal to put this chick on the ticker every day?? Why is this news? Put her on here some, but she is on here more than Obama or her dad. Please.

    May 2, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. JacknKY

    I've never voted for a Republican before. But, if Meghan McCain ran for President I'd vote for her.

    May 2, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  4. Just say no to liberal hypocrisy

    Boy, someone at CNN has a very troubling fascination (obsession?) with this irrelevant woman.

    May 2, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. Mike

    wow Meghan McCain is actually sounding like a voice of leadership for the Republican Party. to bad the religious zealots will burn her at the cross

    May 2, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  6. avahome

    A real simple piece of advice my mother gave me........"if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all".

    May 2, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  7. Pier Giacalone

    It's not about packaging sweetheart. Rove was a genius as far as that was concerned. It's about the all too real results of the last 8 years of republican rule. And it's more than that.

    Bush was a moron because he really believed what was in fact always a BS justification for greed that defined the republican philosophy of governing. Reagan managed to snow people by conflating greed with optimism but Bush took it seriously and to its logical conclusion which in fact just rushed the inevitable result of Reaganomics which is the largest division in wealth and class this country's ever known.

    Bottom line, the Republicans got to actually live their dream and everyone saw it for what it was. So go ahead and do your best to repackage greed. I'm sure eventually people will get complacent enough to buy it, but not until they've forgotten just how bad things were under Republicans.

    Democrats are human and have their share of bad apple but their overall message is one of a more just and humane society. You still need a gifted messenger, but it sure helps when the message itself happens to be right.

    May 2, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. Dittohead

    why do you post stuff from this woman? i figure it is to get the liberals on this site all fired up about meg when she trashes the GOP.

    nobody is kicking the moderates out of the party!!

    May 2, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  9. JOE

    The Republicans took a drunk, woman chasing, coke snorting, KKK Imperial Grand Wizzard .,stumblebum, out of Texas, wrapped him in the American flag...Hosed him down with Holy Water and sold him to the country . And let him destroy the country and caused much hate in this world...and now they cant figure out why they are where they are.

    Next they bring in a 1/2 baked old man who picks a BIMBO from Alaska to be his VP and looses and they still cant figure it out.

    The Republican Party is finished for many years...So go on back to your midnight rides and white sheets and SHUT UP.

    May 2, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  10. Ron in Wisconsin Dells WI

    Mehgan McCain talks about packaging it better than the Dems,Well I got news for you Mehgan it is about whos right and whos wrong.This whole world is about right and wrong .And the republicans are all wrong until we make it fair for everyone to have opportunity to live a comfortable life not just the rich no matter what age range you are

    May 2, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  11. Mike

    Please Please go away with Spector....people like you and your daddy are why we are in the mess we are in. Please become a DEM., Miss McCain and stop being a RINO.

    May 2, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  12. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    They're NOT dirty moderates. They're filthy extremists, and cannot represent the working class while looking like Hollywood wannabes. The new faces the same old party presents are still the class segregating elitists as the aristocrats they replace. No one tries to speak to the worker, because the worker empowers his greatest enemy, who is those that use him. It is the task of the worker to seek the parasitical balance which appears the least despoiling.

    May 2, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  13. TJ

    Well said Ms. McCain. As a moderate independent who left the GOP when Barry Goldwater warned them not to hitch their wagon to the religious right, you have spoken for many of us. This is the number one reason I voted for your father in 2000 and 2008 - common sense Republicanism, in the style of our Greatest Presidents, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

    May 2, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  14. Wes

    Wow. Meghan McCAIn as the voice of the GOP.

    Move over Rush and Sarah.

    May 2, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. Tristan

    Ah, but it is the message. People under 70 tend to be much less paranoid about national security, gays, non-whites etc. Fear and hatred make a bad message.

    May 2, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. IJC


    I like your courage, but you start getting on my nerve. Every week you've got something to say. You need to stay away from the Media sometime.

    May 2, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  17. MatthewDetroit

    This chick is a moron and needs to get herself a husband and a life.

    May 2, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  18. TCM

    someone shut her up...she's only slightly more experienced than Barack OBama....

    May 2, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. Ben Carroll

    My question is, what is she attached to? The Republican label? Or does she really love the extreme social and fiscal right-wingers so much that she wants to be under the same umbrella with them? Why does she need for Rush Limbaugh to accept her?

    Maybe this is a great opportunity for a third party to be spun off from the folks more towards the center of both Dem and Rep. Whig party anyone?

    May 2, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. mary

    We do not look at the Republicans as dirty moderates, you Republicans brought that on, all by yourselves with your underhanded campaigning and your obnoxious and ridiculous campaign ads. The Republicans underestimated the intelligence of the American people, some of the American people may be ignorant about some things because they do not know what is going on at the time, but we Americans are not dumb. I can say that I was disappointed at the presentation that was brought on by the people that stood behind John McCain, such as Guiliani, Fred Thompson and others etc. I always liked John McCain, I did not like him at all when he was running for POTUS. I can say that I do like Megan McCain her father should have been looking eye to eye with his daughter Megan McCain when he was running for POTUS instead of the people who helped him not to win. 3 cheers for Megan

    May 2, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  21. Mark

    Can we get some specifics from Ms. McCain. It is all good and nice to give advise but she has to explain what she meant by " the GOP needs to reach out to 20's". In what way, what can they( GOP) do to reach this generation?

    May 2, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Why does anybody care what this person thinks

    May 2, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  23. Hugh USARMY coldwar vet

    I'd much rather she a woman like Meghan McCain run for high office instead of someone like Sarah Palin. The GOP is overrun by right-wingers like Palin who only reduce the party's effectiveness and leadership. More GOP moderates need to take control over the neo-cons of the Republican party or they will continue to spiral downward and splinter into ruins.

    May 2, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  24. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    It really ought to be, "Get rid of the dirty extremists," as in religious extremists who think it acceptable to try to force society to conform to their religious views, national extremists who think it acceptable to try to force the world to conform to their perception of American interests.

    The common element, of course, is a willingness to force their expectations on everyone else. This, unfortunately, they have in common with the Democratic Party. The only difference is in what the respective parties want to force people to do.

    May 2, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  25. David Jones

    You have had your 15 minutes of fame due to your father serving as a Senator and running for President. Now go away. Your comments are silly, no one cares. Please go away.

    May 2, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
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