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. Harvey for Obama

    The hard right.....that's some hardheaded people. If you don't 100% agree with them they want nothing to do with you.

    May 2, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  2. I used to like CNN but not anymore!

    Is this woman going to try to be our first woman president or something? Why is her opinion so important to CNN? Tune in tomorrow for another episode of " As The Dumbing Down Of America Continues"!

    May 2, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. Tester

    The GOP has been hijacked by Rush Liimbaugh. Politically Rush is a sociopath. He doesn't care about winning. He embraces the Nazi purification process and has doomed the GOP to many more years in the political wilderness.

    May 2, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  4. Great sight

    Is Meghan a true Republican? Since the election, all her fights has been targeting republicans and not dems. Both parties have people with extreme views. Why is she more concern about fighting social conservatives instead of trying to enlarge the moderate win of the republican party. If you're a true republican, I'm sure, you have more things in common with social conservatives then democrats. Stop fighting your own members and focus on building the moderate wing of the party. Your Dad lost as a moderate. Bush won two elections.

    May 2, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  5. Ravi Venaputty

    The Republicans are narrow minded, backward thinking washed up mulla's.

    May 2, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  6. JR

    Your wasting your breath Meghan, the problem with the GOP is that they don't accept anything other than a "My way or the Highway" philosophy. Look at the Bush years, they did nothing to better America but instead spent the entire administration shoving their ideology down everyone's throats. We may never be able to dig out their infiltration into every facet of American life.

    May 2, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  7. Hey Home Dudes ... What is Going On?

    Just because the GOP can spell "T-W-I-T-T-E-R" doesn't mean that they have a message that will appeal to young voters.

    1.) Republicans are too quick to slam Mexicans for the Swine Flu. My point, they vilify groups that are not in the "MAJORITY". Young voters have true friends in those groups that they've grown up with. You won't convince Meghan that a dark skinned, "big" black man is a physical threat to her. She knows better from experience ... she studied with him at Columbia.

    2.) Republicans lie about the reason for wars sending young people off to die unnecessarily under false pretenses.

    3.) Republicans conduct deficit spending, threatening Social Security and leaving an increasing National Debt tab for young people to pay off.

    I could go on but you get the point ... right ...

    May 2, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  8. Tom

    There is something I don't understand. Why does anyone care what Megan McCain has to say? Who the heck is she? Yes, I know she is John McCain's daughter but really, WHO IS SHE? She is not overly bright and has accomplished nothing. For some reason, CNN feels compelled to quote her on an almost daily basis. Sure, it's better than hearing what Ann Coulter has to say but I just don't get CNN's facination with Ms. McCain. I know high school students who are more intellectual and interesting that she is.

    May 2, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  9. Gary

    I am a staunch Democrat who believes that Meghan McCain is a wonderful young person. I understand that she is a Republican because of her family background, and likely, she believes in some of the Republican platitudes. However, she is incorrect when she states that the problem with Republicans is just the packaging of their message. It is their message, and their conduct, that has led the Republicans to such lowly disgrace and the utter contempt they are now viewed by most Americans. Also, Romney's comment that this new Republican organization he is working with is dedicated to listening to the American people, or that right-wing extremist Rep. Cantor and his fellow Republicans are intent on doing any other than dictate to the American people is complete fantasy.

    May 2, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  10. JC

    However MM and others are wrong about one thing: it isn't the 'packaging' that needs fixing, it's the product. Nobody is buying what the GOP is trying to hawk, since it has resulted in the royal mess we on Main St. have to deal with every day. And Repubs' refusal to apologize for, or even to own up to, their colossal blunders is infuriating. It was in just such a towering anger that I voted the last 2 cycles, and if Rs want to have any hope of reclaiming the mass of independent voters like me, they'd better rejoin reality!

    May 2, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  11. Tom in CA

    I have a dream!

    Unfortunately, the GOP is not in my dream!

    Sorry Meaghan!

    May 2, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  12. Minnesotan

    You're not 'dirty moderates,' you're still 'dirty Republicans' – the ones responsible for supporting the disastrous ideals, policies and hate of the Bush Reich. Until Republicans can act like adults and discuss issues civilly with Democrats, you'll always be the ones remembered for destroying our economy, selling out the middle class with tax breaks to the rich, starting a false war and throwing our national honor under the bus.

    May 2, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. annie for Palin

    Probably the last thing the republican party needs is 2 democrats by the names of john and megan mccain.

    May 2, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  14. c knight

    as long as the republican party was able to fool moderates and independents into thinking that republicans produced policies that economically benefited them, the republicans continued to rack up political victories from the 1980's onward. however when it finally became clear that the republican policies benefited the rich and nobody else (tinkle down economics), the indies and moderates abandoned the republican party in droves. the indies and mods never cared about the social issues the gop base held dear therefore there is no longer anything to draw the interest of anybody other than those who are the base of the party. we may be seeing a long term marginalization(and regionalization) of the republicans for the forseeable future.

    May 2, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  15. Sarah

    I think the real problem is that the Republican party needs to actually have a message. Its not about packaging, who cares what the jar looks like, its about what they stand for. What do the Republicans stand for, seriously? Because there are a lot of Republicans saying a lot of different things. whats the real Repub message?

    May 2, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I am proud of Megan McCain and her speaking out to the GOP.
    She makes more sense than the tired old white men who make up the majority of the party. I think the old timers will have to move to the center where Mc Cain is: too many of the old timers consider any one who is not a REP, un-American, Godless, and immoral because they do not agree with their philosophy. I think the spirit of negativity has put them in their current position. BAD!
    Wake up old white guys and listen to the new kid on the block!

    May 2, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  17. Jay, Sweden

    This might be a bit of a digression, but I'll go along with it anyway:

    I'm from Sweden and I have been following and reading about American politics closely due to, and since, the Barack Obama election. Ms McCain's comment "I just wish that moderates like myself — more moderate Republicans and more socially liberal Republicans..." confuses me. The Republican Party is a conservative party, why would you be involved there if you are a social liberal or a moderate? Then you should be in either the social liberal wing or the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, am I not right? The Republican Party is what it is. Let it stand for it's conservative values and fall along with them. Then when the Democratic Party is overwhelmingly big and has no real competition you can split it into "The Social Liberal Democratic Party", with President Obama as its frontrunner, and then "the Moderate Democratic Party", with Secretary Clinton as its frontrunner.

    That's my two cents!

    May 2, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  18. Jay

    If the Republican party has a future, Meghan is it. If you look up "fail" in the dictionary, Rush Limbaugh's picture is next to it.

    May 2, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  19. RI Moderate

    YES, the GOP needs to be more inclusive

    May 2, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  20. johnrj08

    Sorry, but according to the loudest voices in the GOP, you and your father are "dirty moderates." Did you catch Ann Coulter on Larry King Live last night? She hates you and your father. So does Rush Limbaugh. So do people like Cantor and Boehner. And you can bet that Sarah Palin isn't too happy, either. Don't go down with the ship, Meghan. Become an independent or form your own party. The GOP "elephant" is on its way to becoming sun-bleached tusks in the desert sand of politics.

    May 2, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  21. suzyku

    Can anyone tell me why on earth it matters what "she" says?! Who cares?!

    May 2, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  22. Charlie in Maine

    Hey Did you see the crap that Bush's brother is pedaling on the other article? The phrase socialist did not stick to Obama, the idiots even tried communist a few times to no avail well now it has come to this:

    "We are the party of the revolutionaries, they [Democrats] are the party of the monarchists,"

    Monarchists? Monarchists? My party came from the ideas of Jefferson and Jackson. The GOP complain one week that Obama didn't grovel sufficiantly for the Queen of England and the next week we are a bunch of Monarchists. They are showing again that they think the American voter is too stupid to even know what "monarchist" means and so won't question it.

    I think the rise and fall of Sarah Palin has proven that , when the American voter pays attenetion (God pray we keep it up) we can tell the difference between shinola and sh&%.

    May 2, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  23. Mike

    Sounds like Meghan better join the Democrats. If the Republicans abandon the social conservatives, they are doomed.

    May 2, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. PeteAtomic

    "“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."

    Less taxes for whom? The ultra rich?

    National security? For what purpose? Two wars? How many more wars do they want?

    The GOP has confined itself as being run by the religious wing of the party– and has decided to take on as their 'death ride', the defence of tax shelters for multi-billionaires.

    Where is Teddy Roosevelt, when you need him?

    May 2, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  25. Proud American

    I agree their not dirty, just stupid.

    May 2, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
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