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. Mark in Atlanta

    She's right. Simple choice for Republicans- separate yourselves from extremists like Limbaugh, Hannity, Coultur, etc, or die. Those dead enders were crucial in the years that Lee Atwater and Karl Rove et al were using the "smears, fears, and queers" strategy to take power, but now that the neo-con/radical evangelist alliance has in fact brought the nation to the brink of ruin the old strategies will never again attract 51 percent of voters. A more moderated, reasoned, and truly patriotic conservatism is the only way forward for the Republican Party.

    May 2, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. Ted

    John McCain, and worse yet Meghan McCain are the reasons I no longer call myself a Republican – I am a conservative. If Meghan McCain thinks she speaks for the Republican party, I can assure you she doesn't speak for me. She and her father are RINOs and should both declare their allegence to the Democrat party.

    May 2, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Cystem Phailure

    For people who like Meghan McCain's social views, why should they hope the GOP moves toward the center? They can already get those policies with the Democrats, without all the rest of the GOP's economic, religious, and isolationist garbage.

    May 2, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. chuck

    Meghan you got vote when ever you wanna run for office.l am tired of these old white forks who spread hate and divisions every day.l hope the Republican Party would be viable one day.

    May 2, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. FreeNLovIt

    Yes, you're th common sense GOP. Call yourself common sense

    May 2, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. Kyle in San Diego

    Despite the fact that I'm a democrat that voted for Obama, I like Meghan McCain, I really do–even follow her on Twitter! But I think that at this point, she's beginning to become a tad bit redundant and ineffective. Whether she hopes for a political future or not, she has great potential to really help the GOP address its problems. However, the GOP will NEVER resurface as a competing party until they come up with some valid competing ideas. At this point, Meghan is saying what everyone else knows: the GOP is too exclusive and not attractive to anyone but the far right. This is the problem... but no one (Meghan included) is doing anything to offer a solution.

    Admitting you have a problem is the first step. She's done that–although some GOP haven't–the next step though, is to crank out some GOOD ideas. That remains to be seen.

    May 2, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. shannon

    why do we have to hear about every thought this woman has!

    May 2, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. Justin

    Doesn't she get that Democrats are using her to bash Republicans?

    The Republicans don't need a bunch of liberals with R's next to their name. The Republican party needs to work extremely hard to get back the trust of the Amercian people that they will be responsible with their money.

    May 2, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. DJD in Vancouver WA

    Who is this person and why does anyone care what she says? She went to Columbia U, so what? Her dad is John McCain? So what? Her resume looks a lot like the last Bush got before he got elected and do you want to go down that road again? Please go away kid, this country needs to wake up and realize that we are falling deeper into an oligarchy, she is a prime example of this.

    May 2, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  10. Dave

    I know Meghan is committed to the Republican party, from her recent "Red 'til I'm dead, baby!" Twitter response, but I'm afraid that she'll eventually have to jump to the Democratic party if she's really going to find the moderation she seeks. Today's Republican party just isn't open to new ideas or social moderation. They're primarily concerned with limiting your rights, meddling in your life... and, what's more, they don't really have a good record on smaller government, lower taxes (except for the extremely wealthy), fiscal responsibility, or national security. That's been a lot of talk without any action to back it up. Meghan's a good soul and she's making a noble try, but these seeds she's planting just aren't falling on fertile ground. Too few Republicans are open to moderate ideas.

    May 2, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. Fitz

    Mr. Bush, I think the people of America were listening when they elected Barack Obama. Every time you turn on the news there is another Republican saying things no one wants to hear, silly attacks, comments that aren't factual, they same ole same ole nonsense. You want to start listening? cool. Before you do that sir, get those fools off the air and maybe you'll have a fighting chance. Start with Bachmann

    May 2, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. Wayne Wiles

    McCain needs to get over it, he lost, there is a reason he lost by a landslide, Republicans in general just need to come to grips with the fact that America in general is disgusted with being treated badly by the rich,greedy, selfish Republican party, enough is enough. Support your President Barrack Obama or just leave this country and don't return.

    May 2, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. beau in nor co

    he Republicans are spitting into the wind on this one. To put it simply: the current demographic trends in this country do not bode well for the Republican party.

    i.e. increasing urbanization, an increasingly higher educated population and the increasingly bifurcated class structure (more have-nots vs super-wealthy) are all demographic factors that trend towards the Democratic electorate.

    This simply means that the number of likely Democratic leaning voters is increasing. The only demographic trend in the Repubs favor is the aging baby boomers (older trends towards a conservative political views). Yay, more generational warfare.

    May 2, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. Greg

    Rush Limbaugh, Shane Hannity and Newt Gingrich are too old and arrogant to understand McCain's ideas. The party will continue to die. It's unfortunate that these old heads don't see the society changing. If the can't even understand the society's transformation, what kind of solution can they offer? Some of the republican views are just too old. They can't stand anymore.

    May 2, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. dj

    Go get 'em Meghan! If they're smart (and, arguably they aren't), they'll start listening to the young Republicans like you. You (people of your generation) are their ONLY hope! You are a breath of fresh air. I wish you were just a few years older, but maybe you could run for office very soon. America needs leaders like you who are unafraid.

    May 2, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Meghan McCain......your 15 minutes are up!!!!!!!!!!

    May 2, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. Jerry

    The only thing Boehner, Kantor, McConnell, Romney, Kyle, Gingrich, et al, can do is get out of the way as in retire.

    No one believes skunks can change their stripes. Their credibility is gone. They have nothing to show for the last 30 years.

    The longer they hang on, the longer it will take to rebuild, as it is it will take 20-30 years.

    May 2, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    She's right, of course; but the "purify the Party" extreme reich (sic) wing fanatics will have NONE of it. THEY think they can win back Congress and the White House by becoming MORE fanatical and MORE reich (sic) wing, not LESS. They need to do the math. Only about 21% of Americans CONSIDER themselves Republicans; if EVERY voter who considers himself/herself an "evangelical" votes the straight Republican ticket, that's still only 35% of Americans. You don't win elections with 35%. The INDEPENDENT Party is probably the Party of the future. Whether or not it REPLACES the Republican Party is up to the Republicans. They can't win without moderates and independents, and moderates and independents are having NONE of the vitrolic reich (sic) wing of the Party as typified by Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Concerned Big Hairs for America, Quackers Wild-Man (sic), etc. The quicker the Republicans DUMP the above, the quicker they can start back on the road to becoming a RELEVANT, LOYAL opposition party, and not a bunch of hysterical homophobic, xenophobic, racist, misogynist neo-fascist oligarchs whose automatic answer to everything is "NO."

    May 2, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. marc

    If Romney is on this panel then there is really no chance for change in the GOP (gray old party) ! Meghan, to end your frustration, come on over to the Democrats...

    May 2, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  20. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    And of course CNN could not make it through an entire day without doing a fluff piece on Meghan "Air-Head" McCain–the democrats' useful idiot.

    This ditz does not speak for ANY FACTION of the republican party. She is a closet democrat, just like her dad. This is why CNN is trying sooooo hard to make her a star, even though nobody with any intelligence cares what she has to say. She probably voted for Obama.........just like her dad. There's absolutely no reason why she should be in the news. She's kind of like the Paris Hilton of the political world.

    May 2, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. Michael F

    Meghan McCain 2016!

    May 2, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. Wayne H.

    Good luck with that Meghan, as your party has been hijacked for the foreseeable, mostly by those using a thin veneer of phony patriotism in an attempt to mask their own racism/elitism.

    May 2, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  23. Jason

    A wonderful idea, but there's a problem that the privileged people, such as ms. McCain here, tend to overlook:

    There is absolutely no fiscal or economic reason any non-privileged person should ever vote for a republican. Ever. The republican party has got to make things about social agendas that conflict with the democratic social agendas, or they lose their socially conservative base: which is the vast majority of their base.

    Of course this could be slightly wrong. A growing trend in the conservative media is to tell the poor to pretend they were rich and think of how unfortunate it would be to have higher taxes as a result. Even though the vast majority of those who jump on this argument will never have this problem, somehow the poor conservative base becomes just as riled up over it as they did over seeing dudes kissing in 2004.

    May 2, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  24. Robert Levinson

    Meghan – you dont sound like a Republican moderate to me – those are long extinct creatures who were shunned by their intolerant leaders. You sound like a Clinton democrat: pro-business, socially liberal and fiscally conservative (remember Clinton balanced the Republican has done that in nearly 100 years). Come out of the political closet and declare you are a democrat – the party with the only big tent these days.

    May 2, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. Peter

    The same tired old men with their same tired old ideas.
    The Repubs need to put Meghan in charge.

    May 2, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
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