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. floridian

    "We need to inspire 20-somethings, which is something the Obama campaign did very well,” said Ms. McCain.

    The Dems did not inspire 20-somethings, they hoodwinked them and will continue to do the same for years to come. The Repubs need to offer the electorate something different - like fiscal responsibility, individual responsibility, pro-life, abiding the law and Constitution.

    May 2, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. Jeff in Houston

    Megan, you just do not understand. In order to get any kind of recognition, you will need a third party. Let me know when you do it and i will be there. Socially liberal, fically conservative.

    May 2, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. Dorian in NC

    As an Independent who's quite satisfied with his vote for Obama; Meghan McCain appears to be the only Republican who holds my interest to still consider the R-party a viable group of progressive thinkers.

    May 2, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. P. D.

    Megan McCain is right, but the other Republicans are not listening. They are still using slash and burn tactics while not offering other solutions. They are truly the 'Party of No'. Their constant complaining about Obama's policies, and yet what do they have to offer? If the GOP still adheres to the way of Limbaugh, Coulter, Ingraham and Malkin, they will never recover.

    May 2, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. fred

    There's no such thing as a "dirty moderate"; that being said, those who say otherwise aren't moderate at all just dirty! Meghan McCain is the future (if there is one) of the actually conservative bunch, who, though never really "Grand" were the "Old Party!" (As in Tories re-invented after they lost the american revolution the first time!)

    May 2, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. hayley

    Meghan looks great. sarah palin is an christian radical who wants victims of rape who get pregnant to have to be pregnant and then have the baby.. she is a nutcase and that is why mccain lost. the problem is that Meghan's father was ok with maybe having sarah palin as the potential president of the united states – that is why the republican party is going down the drain.. all the other speculation is pointless – picking sarah palin to gain support of the base, which they never needed to do (what were they going to do – vote for obama – in the end they would have gone out and voted against obama no matter who mccain picked). he should have picked romney and frankly, would have probably won. mccain lost because of palin and is continuing to lose because of other nuts like palin the in party. i was watching c-span and all the republican reps asked hilary clinton (secretary of state) about was abortion in china and abortion in africa and abortion here... they need to seriously shut up – they are men and need to shut up and sarah palin needs to shut up also.
    what would a woman rather have- water boarding or getting raped and then being pregant and giving birth to that baby.. um, what is torture sarah palin?

    May 2, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Jonathan Floriani

    This is an extremely important message to all Republicans. The past couple have months have shown an extremely ugly side to the GOP, radicalizing and polarizing not only the two parties, but themselves. The fact that someone like Arlen Specter couldn't even feel safe in his own party proves this point. The policies of the entire party seem like they're being created by a small minority, and the rest of the party is going along because it's being touted by an (R). Unfortunately, the further right the party goes, the more voters it leaves behind.

    May 2, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. John M

    Not 1 in a 100 republicans want Miss McCain speaking on their behalf. She was not chosen to do so, she is not qualified to do so, and she does not share the values the vast majority of republicans share. She is clearly being targeted by the liberal media to serve as a hopeful nail in the coffin of conservatism in our country.

    May 2, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. Steve

    Megan, the Democratic party is not some sort of united front. They've been the umbrella party going back some 30 years. Even today, the Democrats in Congress don't agree on much, and the platforms that are passing without the Republican support are actually fairly moderate and encompassing pieces of legislation. The wide-range of views the Democrats represent is going unheralded. So, we'd be glad to have you if you'd like to take a page from your friend Arlen Spector's career. Republicans have scorned "moderation" for the last 10 years! This is not new, you're just complaining because it's finally caught up to your party in the form of losing seats.

    May 2, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  10. Dale

    Meghan McCain is the only Republican I can think of that I would vote for. The rest are way too far right, and very hypocritical. "Fiscal responsiblity" WHAT?! They spend like drunken sailors. "Christian values" WHAT?! Like unneccessary war and torturing prisoners? Get real. "National Security" WHAT?! Securing our nation by making enemies everywhere they can? Come on people.

    May 2, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. Mark

    Probably the smartest republican for miles. At least strategically!

    May 2, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  12. Da Professor

    Go for it Meghan McCain!

    Lord knows these old white men running the Republican Party seem to have NO clue as to what would benefit America. Their focus is or appears to be on getting reelected and Party Party Party.

    May 2, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  13. Ex-Republican

    Meghan, you are dreaming! GOP will never be inclusive. There is no room for compromise once a group of people become fundamentalist. That is the nature of the beast. This is not the GOP of Lincoln, Eisenhower or even Reagan. If any one of them were around today, they be ridiculed and pushed aside by the current leadership. You are wasting your time.

    May 2, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  14. MD

    How can someone like John McCain have a great daughter like Maghan???

    I left the Republican Party last year, and voted for Obama precisely because I felt the Republican Party no longer welcomes moderates. This so called National Council for a New America is made of of a few Has-Beens. If they wish for the revival of the Party, they should step aside, and allow the young Representatives and Senators lead the Party. It is shameful of Romney to call theselves Revolutionaries and Democracts monarchists. Inciting a revolution is unpatriotic, and will backfire. Republicans are in the pocket of Big Business, and have never cared about the ordinary people. If anything, the Republicans are the monarchists. Shame on them for ruining the country for the past eight years. No one in their right mind would ever trust these idiots.

    May 2, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  15. Bruce

    I voted Republican starting in 1974 when I first became a voter. The Republicans have moved so far to the ultra right Christians that in the last two elections I have voted for a straight Democratic ticket. The Republicans have left moderates like me with no choice. I am fiscal conservative, socially liberal, and Christian. I am very concerned about ultra right Christians attempting to force their version of Christianity on the rest of us. I do not believe in creationism. I am a Christian just not a bible thumper. As I see it there is very little difference between ultra right Christians with their version of Christianity and any other religion that is attempting to force their religion on the rest of the world. I believe in God not religion. The Democrats while not perfect by any means are at least an inclusive party. I have not changed in all the time I have been a voter. The Republicans as a party have abandoned anyone not ultra right.

    May 2, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. Evan E.

    I don't necessarily agree with her politics, but I think she is dead on with what Republicans need to do. If they want to try to only court Evangelical christians and other hard core right-wingers, then they will lose every election they are in.

    May 2, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  17. lynn in NM

    This child needs to learn that flowery words do not mean a person is anything other than a liar (regardless of party).

    May 2, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Bob Barr “lack of any coherent philosophy, vision or leadership.”

    Describing the Republican Party!!! AMEN brother!!!

    May 2, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. Scott

    I think that republicans have just the ideas to lead us back to the 20th century.

    May 2, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. ann

    No one wins by deluting the party. Stand for what you believe and choose what fits you best. Asking others to change to get votes, or changing to get a vote, will end up bitting you. It is like asking if you want to speak English in America. Not a good Idea at all.

    May 2, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Alex in Wisconsin

    Once again, Princess Meghan McCain speaks common sense. This wil surely anger Emperor Limbuagh, Darth Vader, and their gun waving brigade of loyal stormtroopers. I can't wait until the Old Republican Empire is defeated by the conservatively moderate voices so that the New Republican party can start making a positive impact on the country.

    May 2, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. tarheel4ever

    I have to admit that I have a hard time distinguishing between a socially liberal Republican and your general run of the mill Democrat. Does that mean you are for lowering taxes and less government intervention but yet support Abortion on Demand, Gay Marriages, etc..... I think we need a two party system, but what Meghan McCain and Arlen Specter represents is simply another extension of the Democrat Party. Give the people a choice. If you want bigger Government, Higher taxes, abortion rights, gay marriages, and less money spent on the military, then vote Democrat. Otherwise vote Republican. It's that simple.

    May 2, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. pavocavalry

    parties of the privileged however hard obama represents oil and weapon industries another characters like walmart and GM

    May 2, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. Andrew

    Here's a thought, why not just split into two parties. Having multiple major parties is a much better system anyhow.

    May 2, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. kerby

    american dream,u.s.a =greed. human nature = sel fish, hate, lovers of pleasures than lover of our god yahweh ben yahweh.

    May 2, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
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