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. lo

    Poor Meghan McCain, she is thoughful, intelligent, seems to have a good heart... Her problem is that she is trying to reform the republican party into a modern, dynamic party that respects diverse viewpoints and moderate members and marginalize the right-wing extremists and born-again theocrats...

    The problem with that is the republican party is MOVING IN THE OTHER DIRECTION. The lunatic far-right fringe has taken over the party along with the christian right, and they are actively taking the party *farther to the right* and over the cliff. They have NO realistic platform or pragmatic ideas to solve America's problems.

    he should spearhead a movement to start a new progressive libertarian party that is a moderate alternative to both partties..

    May 2, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  2. NotNowMooky

    I'm sorry I ever thought badly of McCain the Younger. While Cantor and JEB BUSH!! are spouting about a New America, but still only defining themselves as "not Obama" and Boner is running ominous Rovian adds Meghan is doing it – defining a renewed Republican party.

    May 2, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. Andres

    Once again, we get another Meghan McCain post here. I think CNN has a new rule that there must be a Meghan McCain post every two days. Geez.

    May 2, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Joe C.

    If you believe in abortion, gay marriage, not enforcing borders, not producing our own energy, not protecting our homeland, raising taxes on the employers, not killing child rapists, killers or anyone else who deserves capital punishment, prosecuting our own citizens instead of known terrorist you probably should join the Democratic party Meghan. Man how could anyone win an election with that laundry list but Obama did. It just goes to show what kind of sewer this nation has become.

    May 2, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. John D.

    I label myself a Democrat, and thus don't agree with more than a few of Meghan's positions on issues that matter... but that's okay! It is so refreshing to see a Republican who lives in the REAL world and understands that REAL people care about the REAL issues that affect their daily REAL lives and doesn't subscribe to the homophobic, xenophobic us-versus-them mentality that dominates modern GOP thinking. A person like Meghan is someone I can respectfully disagree with on certain approaches to policy but at the end of the day could probably work together with to move America forward. I just hope that as she ages, she doesn't devolve into the neolithic type of person that typifies today's Republican party.

    May 2, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. California Dreamin

    Megan is worried her trust fund may be taxed! She is a joke, the right wing wack O's are killing your party and without them you won't win! I would rather pay higher taxes then ever have another wack job like Bush be president! Bush was a major embarassment! Bush is responsible for the mess we are in! Bush made up a fake war and tortured people to justify his fake war! You father is the same as Bush, I thought he might be different until he brought that crazy Palin on board! Your party spews hate and intolerance!

    May 2, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. james

    If you walk atlk and sound like a are one deary! We don't need Mccains to tell conservatives anything. Go to the abortionist and perverted lifestyles and embraced their values.

    May 2, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Robert P.

    Don't worry Meghan... I don't consider you a dirty moderate... I see you for who you really are... a dirty liberal.

    She is a disgrace to the Republican party, if this past election showed anything it's that the GOP should go further to the Right, which is evidenced by the fact that Ron Paul ... Read Moregot so much of the young conservative vote in the primaries. If the GOP goes to the center, then the two party system will look more like a one-party system. If the GOP doesn’t pick a quality candidate in 2012, then I will be voting 3rd Party.

    May 2, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  9. Robert P.

    Don't worry Meghan… I don't consider you a dirty moderate… I see you for who you really are… a dirty liberal.

    She is a disgrace to the Republican party, if this past election showed anything it's that the GOP should go further to the Right, which is evidenced by the fact that Ron Paul got so much of the young conservative vote in the primaries. If the GOP goes to the center, then the two party system will look more like a one-party system. If the GOP doesn’t pick a quality candidate in 2012, then I will be voting 3rd Party.

    May 2, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. mike

    Moderates aren't dirty. They are simply lacking in a real sense of social existence. Pro abortion is not moderate. Putting the rights of gays, minorities, women above those of others is not moderate.

    There is no middle of the road. Try it in your car.

    If you want to be a socialist (not socialite, megan), just say so.

    May 2, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. Butch Dillon

    McCain and the other so called moderates in the Republican party are fools to think the so called conservatives are about to truly include them in their pup tent.

    May 2, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  12. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Americans first of all have a trust issue with the Republicans after George W. Bush's 8 years of a total disaster that was backed by Republicans who just said "yes". Secondly, the Republicans have the nerve and audacity to be angry with Americans because we said "no" to them when we joyously voted for Obama. It will take more than the "McCain" family to turn things around because he picked Sarah Palin knowing that she had a problem with "some parts of America being "unAmerican", she said it, not me.

    May 2, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. dave MECCARIELLO

    the problem with republicans is that they come off as prudish, intolerant old fuddy-duddy types. you know... basicllally like your goodie two shoes dorks and old people that are out of touch.

    May 2, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  14. Brad/San Diego

    Republicans can go all the country and listen, but they still don't have any good ideas in how to fix this country. All they can come with is how to get big tax cuts for the wealhty and to hell with the middle class and the poor. All they know is to how lie and hope the american people will buy it so they can get back into office and then lie about how the other side is treating you bad. The last time they came up with big tax cuts it would cost the american people another two Trillions dollars out our wallat. To hell with the republicans they don't care about us.

    May 2, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. Fair is not Fair

    Meghan Mccain is cool, smart and the leader of the GOP! CNN get rid of john king reading the post on the change to reality, this guy is beyond biased and it will lead to YOUR demise!!

    May 2, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  16. joe m

    these are the kinds of voices that the GOP need to turn to to rebuil itself and reconnect with the american voter. the truth is that most people who view themselves as more republican than democart are, as ms. mccain described, fiscally conservative, but social more liberal. what is trully sad is that even some democrats who consider themselves moderate, are the same way. if the GOP expects to have a future, what the lesson they need to learn from the success of the democrats is that americans really live in the middle, not on the extreme fringes of the political spectrum. what was that saying again... out of the mouths of babes.

    May 2, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. MK

    Hey Meghan, you are not only speaking for a lot of young people who are not being spoken but for you are speaking for a lot of older people too. Keep up the good work! This long time democratic voter is listening....

    May 2, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. Becky

    I never thought I Would like a MCCain, but this Meghan girl is speaking to me

    May 2, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  19. Had It

    She's the only Republican with cajones enough to tell King Rush and Queen Ann (Coulter) to shut up.

    Maybe that's what's wrong with these old white men. They can't do anything unless they have the US Military at their beck and call.

    Maybe that's what's wrong.

    May 2, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. Nathan Hale

    Go get'em Meghan. The left wishes to censure American feedback. Only their own affirmatives being let through. Is this America, or a one-party censor state? CNN, this is your test. There are lots of other venes besides you.

    May 2, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  21. FloridaRes

    Meghan is absolutely right. I was a member of the GOP until it started to shift to the right back in 1992. It was clear that there was no room for moderates in the GOP at that time. If I believed that a woman had a right to choose what happened to her body, I had to leave the party I had belonged to and voted for since 1964. So I did what I had to and didn't look back as my former party became more and more "RIGHT" and left me and others like me in the dust. This party has become more and more divisive and pandered to the right wing evangelical which has unfortunately become its "base". As long as the base of the GOP is so right, the GOP is doomed to become more and more irrelevant; those in the party who say it will become their turn in 2010 are fooling themselves – until they make significant changes in their message and mean it, they will become continue to sink into oblivion. How sad!

    May 2, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  22. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Good luck Meghan. I hope you can turn your party around. Maybe the young generation replacing the old generation might just do the tricks. I think young people are more open minded because they grow up in a more diversified culture.

    My advice to Republicans – you might not like what Meghan has to say, but don't put her down, she might just pull in moderates for you. I don't think Michael Steele can do the job after the way he 'bows down' to Rush Limbaugh.

    We can have different ideas. We don't have to be mean and nasty about it.

    May 2, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  23. Jamey

    Shes right..... followers of the GOP need to understand unless the party is more accepting of things and moved to the 20th century good luck getting anything passed with the democrat majority.... but realistically.. its time moderate dems and moderate republicans broke from our partys.... In our current system of no term limits are party system is controlled from eithier the far left or far right...

    May 2, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. kenny cole

    Get rid of rush,and sarah and all the rasict america is no more a white mans country

    May 2, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  25. JC

    MM is right about needing to be more inclusive. They need to move away from their lunatic fringe, and more toward the middle to do this. As a moderate, centrist, independent, until a few years ago my voting record was basically 50-50. I watched as the GOP slid off to the right wing, blinded to reality by the reactionary ideological playbook and sneering arrogant attitude of the neocons who hijacked it. They continuously persisted in failed policies, even when the writing was clearly on the wall (remember "stay the course"?) in the belief that it was reality's job to conform to their ideology, rather than the other way around. And burying their collective heads in the sand when that didn't materialize. I'm sorry but a party so totally unable to change and adapt as the GOP seems to be deserves to go the way of the dinosaurs....

    May 2, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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