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. JBS

    Meghan McCain makes sense! The conservatives have destroyed America and the republica party. Good ridance to them. Meghan should be chairwoman of the RNC!

    May 2, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Steven

    The Democratic party is the moderate party sista. It's time to get over it and wonder if you youself even are a Republican. Just because daddy belongs to a certain party, doesn't mean you have to too.

    May 2, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  3. Rich

    LOL Republicans... you're fighting amongst yourselves, you don't have any ideas except some very old, very bad ones, and the only power you have in our national government is that you appointed 7 out of the 9 current Supreme Court justices... quit while you're ahead, you are going the way of the Federalist Party and the Whig Party.

    May 2, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  4. moderate2009

    Not going to happen Meghan. Wake up and smell the coffee!! Arlen has been thrown under the bus. Mr Fat Limbaugh has thrown you and your father under the bus. Mr Steele doesn't care much about socially liberal republicans. The party of "NO" is throwing down the gauntlet and throwing people out! Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, Beck they are the new leaders of the Republican Party. Their logic is anyone who would dare disagree with them on any issue or policy gets excommunicated!! or worse. Truth is the republican party has been evolving since Ross Perot ran in 1992. Many former republicans are now independants, because they realize the selfishness and greed that now runs rampant in the republican party. It's a shame and to know that this is the was the Party of Lincoln , whom freed the salves.

    May 2, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. nick

    It appears John McCain is starting to get some of his B–ls back by sitting by the side of his daughter. Now to get the other one back, he needs to take a good shot at Limbough for the one Rush threw at him.
    Go for it Maverick if you have the B–ls.

    May 2, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. Alan

    It's not about "packaging the message" it's about telling the truth...something neither Republicans nor Democrats have been very good at. Unfortunately, many Americans aren't really interested in knowing the truth.

    If the GOP really wants to rebuild itself and to have itself taken seriously, it should really start by booting out the neocons who aren't even conservatives. Limited government, lower taxes, and a focus of individual liberties and responsibilities is what the Republican was supposed to stand for. Ever since the neocons took over the party, the only thing that you are left with is a party of hippocrates. Bush is a prime example – he was a member of the Republican Party, yet he grew the size, cost, and scope of the national government larger than any Democratic president has since FDR.

    Sometimes I wonder if would be better if the true conservatives just abandon the neocons of the GOP and form a completely new party altogether or join the Libertarian Party (since the LP stands for a lot of what the GOP should've stood for).

    May 2, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. S Callahan

    This meeting of 'new ideas' would have been wise to have Meghan as their speaker....she has much to say...maybe not want you want to hear but it is what you need to hear. Better get it right soon...lots of us are getting off the boat is ideas can't materialize...either that or get out of politics and let the young ones in....

    May 2, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. Bill in Austin

    As long as pundits like O'Reilly, Hannity, Beck, Ingram, Malkin, and Limbaugh continue to mislead and incite their listeners, there will always he that element of the party that will never be mainstream. Then there is the so-called intellects(Krauthamer and Kristol etc) that harm the party. Finally, as long as the "out of touch" relics (Gingrich, Delay, and Rove etc) continue to try to bring back their failed policies the GOP will bever get out of the rut they are in. All in all, they have a lot of homework to do.

    I wish them well and if they do get their act together, I hope they also bring real compassion to their party and get rid of the mean-spiritedness and name calling.

    May 2, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |

    I only wish the GOP was more like this girl and not the pseudo christian religious American Taliban that it has become. Its not that moderates are "dirty" its the false religious overtones that ruined the party...

    May 2, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. Expat American

    One way that something might get done in Washington is if moderates (centrists) from both sides make it happen.

    The Conservative Right is poison not only to their 'party' but to the country as a whole. Never will the United States be ruled by an American theoretical bastardization of European Christianity.

    The far left needs to realize that controlled power will keep this country safe. Intellectual dialog with foreign powers is essential just as much as it is most successful if there remains no doubt as to the arsenal behind it.

    Bush failed in the manner that he shot first, hit the wrong target and asked the wrong questions to the wrong people later.

    May 2, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. john

    I don't think Mitt Romney or Cantor want to know what people think I think they just want to oppose any democrat Idea..The republican Part needs to either be rebuilt from the bottom up or a third party needs to enter the arena.The Republican party is going so far right they are allmost like the extreamist that attacked us.That is not a good thing going forward

    May 2, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  12. Zac, Atlanta

    The Dems are now the "Big Tent" party. Meghan: It's fairly obvious your not radical enough for your fellow Republicans; they want you out. You'd be quite welcome amongst the Democrats. Think about it, we would LOVE to have you!

    May 2, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. Scott of Utah

    These moderate Republicans that actually get it should join the Libertarian party. Liberty... Smaller government, fiscally conservative, free market, but socially moderate/liberal. A strong third party would be beneficial.

    The fringe neo-con, government out of my paycheck but into my bedroom, evolution in science class, drill baby drill, anti-stem cell, fear mongering, preemptive strike, global warming denying old white men can wallow in their own mier.

    May 2, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. charles sands

    I suppose the Iraq and Afghan US dead and wounded count is no longer of interest as CNN no longer informs of us who was killed and wounded..or is it no longer polticaly correct to count under Obahama ??? CNN's bias is obvious.

    May 2, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. Kris

    –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-

    What a difference a decade makes. In 2000, this was exactly what Dems were saying about Republicans, that the Dem message was all over the map and the GOP had a very specific focus. (of course that focus was the culture wars, which like anything that revolves around shock and fear eventually wears itself out).

    May 2, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. obamamama

    Is anyone listening to her??

    May 2, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. David

    Reading this article made me wonder..... Hmmmm.... twitter nor facebook made me vote the other way. That is not how Obama won the election. It's because he supports my ideals. He is not a conservative christian ideologue that, as we have recently found out, believes torturing their humankind is OK. The Republican party is bad for anyone other than white suburbanites or those that live vicariously through the ultra (nouveau) rich.

    May 2, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  18. A.J

    Give me more Republicans like Meghan and I'd come back to the Republican party. But there is no way I'll march with a party that refuses to give two consenting adult Americans the right to marry. However, I've always been a fiscal conservative who strongly supports less government intervention in our lives. Thats the Reagan Republican ideal and today's Republicans skew so social conservative they are willing to trade freedom from government intervention for imposing their morals on those around them.

    May 2, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. Ankur Gandhi

    Meghan McCain possible testing the waters for an eventual public office seat? Good for her.

    May 2, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. peoplepleasestopadoptingyour

    Can people please stopping automatically adopting their parents political ideologies and please do the correct research on both political parties before you choose one, miss. McCain you are obviously not a republican sooo stop trying..... Take a play from Arlen's playbook can come back from the dark side….

    May 2, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. Jack in Florida

    The Republican Right are nut cases!!!! They pan to a very small group of people but want the entire Republican party to adopt their craziness. We all don't fit into small, convenient boxes that they want us to conform too. We are diverse group of US Citizens and the diversity needs to be understood and embraced.
    You go Meghan and teach them a lesson!!!!

    May 2, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. Jim

    Its pretty funny that this young girl is smarter than the republican leadership. Many people actually agree with republican fiscal and defense policies but are completely turned off by their backwards 1950's "Leave it to Beaver" social policies. Whether they like it or not younger generations are not in line with them on any of these issues, and thats not going to change, its actually going to increase. Most people find it hypocritical that the party that wants less government "intrusion" on people lives push social policies that do just that. If they'd be willing to stay out of personal affairs as well as financial ones they'd have a fighting chance, and would pick up my vote as well as countless others.

    May 2, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. Murph

    As long as the Republican party has people like Rush Limbaugh and Shawn Hannity as their spokesmen, they are doomed. They are way to the right and perceived as racist and rightfully so. Rush can get on the radio and mock the way minorities speak and thinks it doesn't hurt and call it parody but it really offends people and Hannitry just can seem so uppity and misrepresent what people say to make his point. Good luck with them Republicans.

    May 2, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. MGH

    Ms. McCain needs to distinguish between socially liberal views and moral conviction. Instead, she lashes out against anybody who is against gay marriage, labeling them right wing fundamentalists. Well, given the choice to obey God or follow Meghan, McCain loses.

    There are many more important issues that require study and thought. Meghan has a lot of work to do. Most of all, study the foundations of our country.

    She should join the dems if she can't respect other views.

    May 2, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. Ankur Gandhi

    Meghan McCain possibly testing the waters for an eventual public office position? Good for her. She's young and young is the Republicans weakness. Even if she's just a spokeswoman, I think she's capable of bringing a lot to the table.

    May 2, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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