August 31st, 2010
07:36 PM ET
13 years ago

Meghan McCain's surreal life

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Meghan McCain has released a new book that chronicles her experiences on the campaign trail."](CNN) - Sarah Palin was the "Time Bomb" in Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign writes his daughter, Meghan McCain, in a new book released Tuesday.

In the book, "Dirty Sexy Politics," the McCain offspring sounds off on the former Alaska governor and the surprise Republican nominee for vice president.

"I called her 'the Time Bomb,'" she writes of Palin. "From the minute Sarah arrived the campaign began splitting apart. And rather than joining us, and our campaign, she seemed only to begin her own."

Early on Meghan McCain confesses, "In my heart of hearts I'd always hoped my father would pick Senator Joe Lieberman." Later, she likens the selection of Sarah Palin, a decision she learned of through news coverage, to playing roulette.

Discomfort and doubt accompanied Palin's addition to the Republican presidential ticket for Meghan McCain, who writes of how her own certainty that her father would clinch the Republican nomination and presidential win before the vice presidential pick began to wane. She takes a swing at McCain campaign architect Steve Schmidt's handling of the Palin choice for the vice presidential nod.

"How the Palin selection process and announcement had been handled seemed to highlight things that were innately wrong with our campaign and with the tactics of Steve Schmidt. It was a risky move–one of those things that can wind up being genius or the stupidest decision of all time."

And later in the book: "There was a fine line between genius and insanity, they say, and choosing her as the running mate was starting to seem like the definition of that line."

McCain writes of her own discomfort inside her father's campaign. She discloses feelings bordering on pettiness regarding interactions with the Palin family. "I felt a joke in the air, but it was on me" McCain summarized an encounter in a Republican convention makeup room.

"All the chairs were taken. The stylists were busy with the Palin kids, as well as Levi. 'Can you make time for me?' I asked.

"'You'll have to wait,' the makeup artist replied. Levi, Bristol, Willow, and Piper, who was seven, needed to be styled first ... 'They'll be getting more airtime.'"

Meghan McCain also tees off on the Republican Party and her own image.

"The children of politicians have a surreal life and [it's] time somebody started talking about it," McCain wrote.

Meghan McCain details her departure from the day-to-day campaign, "The campaign finally made its mind up about me: Don't come back. I was a distraction, too controversial, and not playing well with others."

She likens her missteps to those of other family members of high profile candidates, "But even an old hand at politics, like former president Bill Clinton when campaigning for his wife in 2008, gets in trouble if he says too much."

Though claiming estrangement from the Republican Party since the age of 15, McCain has advice for the 2010 election: "The bedrock of the Republican Party is freedom of the individual … Not hatred … A hyper-conservative candidate has no chance of winning against President Obama … the Republican party has to start being open to new people, new blood, and new ideas.

"My hope is that in 2012, the young are given more of a choice ... and that the Republican Party will be up to the challenge."

Filed under: John McCain • Meghan McCain
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. KLS

    Megan you are a very smart young woman. Sarah Palin tasted fame and fortune when she was announced as his running mate. I had always admired John McCain and would have voted for him but his choice of Plain for VP changed my mind.

    Palin didn't really want to play second fiddle but wanted all the glory for herself. She's a strong supporter of hatred for anyone who disagrees with her extreme views. Working together with “the other side” for a betterment of all Americans isn’t in her vocabulary.

    August 31, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. Peter s

    I can't stop loving Meghan she is the only true conservatist who leads her own life !!!!

    August 31, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. Peter M

    Why is she news worthy? C'mon CNN. You can do better.

    August 31, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  4. the colonel

    she seems like a fair and balanced in her way of thinking. She should work at Fox

    August 31, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. Nadeem

    Honesty from the right, how refreshing.

    August 31, 2010 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  6. Renee in CA

    Megan says it like it is!

    August 31, 2010 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. Buddy

    This girl is sharp, much smarter than her dad...

    August 31, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. Patriot

    No surprises here, but it's refreshing to hear the truth for a change.

    August 31, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  9. usualone

    It is refreshing to see that not all Republicans are the crazies like those making the headlines these days. I may not generally like her politics, but I like Meaghan McCain. She seems to be the only Republican who is not muzzled these days. I'm sure an old person such as me can learn from the young McCain. Where are the people of her party who think like her??? We need to get back the sanity for the two-party system to survive - and thus for America to survive.

    August 31, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
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