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. Tony in Maine

    The Republicans are the Whigs of 2009. Before the old white guys cede control to moderates, the sun will rise in the west and pigs will fly.

    It's time to think about doing what moderates to the right of center did in the 1850's, Meghan.

    I'm a lifelong yellow dog Democrat, but I don't want to see my party unopposed.

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

    The GOP don't get it. Americans are finished with the Bushes and as long there is Jeb Bush hanging his mouth around the Party it spells dooms day for the Racial bandits . I personally think The Republican Party is finished.Cantor,Pawlenty,McCain,Steele Romney,Palin ,Limbaugh and Jindal can all sail away on a permanent vacation because no one in their right mind will listen to them.

    May 2, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. George Guadiane Austerlitz, NY

    People (of ALL political stripes) who want to find reason, inclusion, fairness and respect – the REAL "Big Tent" people might be better served to start a new party.
    If you think of the name "Republican" or "Democrat" as property, and regard the property more highly than your values, you may well lose both.

    It's not the party name that won the election for Obama, it was the values of the hopeless/useless previous "REPUBLICAN" administration and the theoretical VALUES of the PEOPLE expressed by the current administration that put him in office.
    It won't be the party banner that wins the day with hopeful youth, it will be ideas, before they become one thing or another.

    I'll say again, I would have voted for John McCain in 2000. If he had gone Independent after Bush "whacked" him, I would have campaigned for McCain... He was a people's candidate then. In 2008 he seemed like a partisan hack (I'm sorry to say) – till he made his magnificent concession speech. At that point I thought he might have been a Stealth People's Candidate – too late.

    May 2, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  4. Joe NC

    The only RINO’s are the religious zealots who have infected the Republican Party for years, eating away at the frame work of the party until the entire structure has collapsed .
    Ronald Regan had it right let “Moral Majority” think they had power but always keep them at arm’s length so that they felt included.
    Then came the idiot man-child Gorge W Bush, who was anything but a true Republican spending the budget surplus long before 9/11 and hiding behind that fact as he spent even more money on two wars and never bringing to justice the monster that orchestrated the attack in the first place. RIP GOP … I’ll be back when Barry Goldwater is resurrected and infused into the “new” GOP

    May 2, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  5. Dave

    It's got absolutely nothing to do with re-packaging your message. The Republican party DOES NOT REPRESENT the people who send them to Washington. They do what is best for themselves and the lobbyists who OWN them. The American people are fed up with their bowing to the people with money and sticking it to us under the guise of Pro-life and lower taxes mantras. GOOD RIDDANCE.

    May 2, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  6. Sam

    I really don't agree with a large chunk of Meghan McCain's political opinions, but I have to give her a ton of credit for standing up for herself, her family, for her ideals, and for the party that she believes in.

    More power to you, Meghan! If you're the voice of the moderate GOP in years to come, the maybe the nation's political scene won't be so vitriolic and divisive.

    May 2, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  7. chuck

    This is a message for Meghan McCain---politics is not for you so go out and find a play mate please.

    May 2, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  8. Denna

    I doubt that the GOP is smart enough to take any advice, but I think you should listen to Ms. McCain. You are absolutely not going to survive if you keep doing the same old things over and over again. I hope that the 'change' the GOP is trying to make is not the same old shuck & jive they usually pull. This is not going to work.

    In the meantime, I hope Meghan McCain can start a more moderate faction of the Republican party and let the right wing nuts and Rush, Ann, et al. have the old party. Lose the hard line dogma or forget being a viable party ever again.

    May 2, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. GOP = 21st century dodo

    Meghan, I'm sorry, but what you're seeing here is the end product of the Southern Strategy. No amount of twittering or town halls will make people forget the callousness and divisiveness that was behind the rise and eventual fall of the GOP.

    There might be a few Republican moderates here and there, but by and large the GOP has been reduced to its ugliest, angriest, and most hateful core. If you doubt this just look at footage from the Tea Parties or from your dad's campaign. This is not a group I or most of my fellow 20 something want to associate with.

    May 2, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  10. Jamie

    Why does anyone care what this little pipsqueak says? Why is it that any time I click on Political Ticker, I'm being told what this 24 year old chippie is doing, saying, thinking, eating, etc.? Who.cares? She's famous because her dad ran for president and lost a million times. Oh, and she's blond and hot. She has zero credibility. Post some real political news, CNN, rather than what the Paris Hilton of politics is doing.

    May 2, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  11. Dino Ianniello

    I couldn't agree more with these statements. I consider myself a moderate Republican, and it's hard to find your inspiration in a party you support, when it is going off dangerously to the right. The GOP has sadly fallen out of touch with mainstream issues – something the Obama camp has a firm grip on. It's hard to be a young republican these days, when you feel like an outcast. I continue to be hopeful for the party and look forward to emerging leadership in the coming years...

    May 2, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. Salas

    yeah meghan,i feel you!Unless the Gopers wants to go under,they need to Re-brand.Its more like they are forcing ideology on the people,rather than carrying the people along in their scheme

    May 2, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. hypocrites_are_everywhere


    Your idea of an inclusive party is fantastic! Let's start with the basic commonality - over 95% of us adults have touched ourselves! So, let's call our new party, the "touch" party. Most other ("moral/ideological") issues will fall in place accordingly!


    May 2, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. AKoslik

    I appreciate the sentiment but if the Republican's fundamental ideas are flawed, what's the point?

    Meghan McCain should ask herself why she's a Republican to begin with. Is it merely because of the belief system of her very wealthy family? If so, she has some growing up to do...

    May 2, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  15. Dayahka

    The "original" Republican party got taken over by the extremists, and now the originals are asking the extremists to be more inclusive. This is not going to work, Meghan. What you have to do is kick the extremists out–let them go find some other party to destroy or start their own, but they shouldn't be a part of the Republican party. Get rid of all those irrational, one-issue, ethics-be-darned people, then rebuild.

    May 2, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  16. Dan

    I'm a Democrat Obama Supporter, but I love Meghan McCain.

    May 2, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  17. chelsea

    i'm a democrat and voted for obama
    but, i have to admit, i really like meghan mccain
    she is the first republican to actually say something sensible
    the rest had better take cue from her...

    May 2, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. Lilly Rose

    I cannot imagine the Republicans trying to restart their party by allowing a Bush anywhere near them. I'm guessing that they STILL don't get it. The Bush the younger is directly responsible for the mess we're in. The Republican party needs to retool completely or they will never be trusted again.

    Oddly enough, if they wait long enough, America will cycle back to being self-destructive and they will be reelected again. This will last until they screw up again – and they will. Just remember, the Republican party does not have a God-given right to govern America.

    May 2, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  19. Gpenn

    I wish the GOP would listen to this women. Then maybe I could return to my party. She is wise beyond her years. I don't want the party of fear and hate we have now.

    May 2, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  20. Squigman

    No! Just another stinking republican.

    May 2, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I really wonder if Meghan knows what her Republican party's platform is.

    Or does she just get a warm fuzzy feeling in her tummy when she thinks, "I am a Republican!"

    May 2, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  22. steven harnack

    you know meagan, there is a party that is already relevant,forward looking and inclusive. they're called democrats and you don't have to pass any litmus test or face ridicule for having a social conscience.

    May 2, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  23. George

    I totally agree with Meghan McCain. She is right on target. I was such a big GOP fan until the party got taken over by the extreme right that accuses the left of being so awful... when they are just as bad.

    It's time for the Republicans to understand that Rush Limbaugh needs to shove a sock in it. It's time to have some real people with real solutions who can say them without insulting others.

    May 2, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  24. Sheryl

    Ms. McCain makes a lot of sense. I hope reporters emphasize her education more. She is obviously quite intelligent. As a life long Democrat I strongly believe that we need at least 2 strong political parties to keep each other in check and provide balance. I am glad to see the more moderate Republicans finding their voice.

    May 2, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  25. suzyk

    I just lost all my respect for Mitt Romney to throw in with McCain and that boob daughter of his. I was a Mitt gal – not any more. They have turned into a bunch of panderers.

    May 2, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14