August 31st, 2010
07:36 PM ET
12 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. Shirley in California

    I'll leave it to the rest of you to yell GO MEGHAN! I still view her as a spoiled, selfish little hypocrite and her "daddy" too. What trash they are. I doubt she would be saying this if McCain were president. I dislike now as much as I did during the campaign. NO (p)alin's NO McCain's EVER.

    August 31, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. jim

    Cat fight....................jealousy rears it's ugly head.Like her father,an airhead.

    August 31, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. demnomore

    Poor little rich girl. Look at me!! Look at me!! Well little Meggie Mac, the liberal that decided to register as a Republican for her dad's birthday. Why do you think that the media wants to portray you as a conservative? Well, you might be almost as conservative as your father. Go back to tweeting now. Nobody, other than the View's liberal audience cares what you think. maybe you can hook up with Levi and do all the morning shows!!?

    August 31, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  4. Pragmatic

    so what candidates do the republicans offer? Old men like McCain who are better than the alternative Hayworth: a self-certified eye doctor who doesn't even have the backbone to Meet the Press, the failed CEO of HP, the world-wrestling federation chair, and a woman who says that the unemployed are just "spoiled" – to balance the budget by cutting unemployment benefits but job creation is not her job! Ala Ron Hubbard, this obtuse Angle, proposed massages & saunas for prisoners:

    When there is money for war and none for health care – money for prisoners and none for the unemployed ... ya think rational people will be voting republican? We've all seen what they do and don't do!

    August 31, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. Makout

    That's what's up! It was about time that Meghan speak up.

    August 31, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    " A lie cannot live." ~ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Thanks for the truth, Meghan! I knew that choosing Palin was a mistake.

    August 31, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. Me

    Palin saved her dad's but in AZ...ungrateful little you know what. If Palin would have been in control of the campaign, she wouldn't have bottled herself up for weeks after the convention, she would have cleaned obama's clock daily, she would NOT have pulled out ofMichigan, and certainly would not have "suspended" the campaign to run to DC. McCain's campaing people lost the election. Palin gave it life and then they killed her.

    All you have to do is compare Palin under Schmidt vs Palin out on her own.....

    August 31, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |

    Hey my Dear Idiot...

    Whose fault is that ??? Palin is going down very fast and she's refused to go down alone.

    A lot of books will be written about the palin family especially how she pulled the young ones, the pregnant barbies, from school for a constant parade around the country .....on trail is also the airhead levis!
    Save yourself.

    August 31, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. Me

    "she began running her own"
    Hmmmm, how was this possible when Schmidt and Wallace kept her bottled up for McCain seems to be trying to save her father's pathetic excuse for a campaign. If palin had been running things, they would have won.

    August 31, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  10. chris24

    back when mccain was a moderate, he had a chance to win the last election. then,he pandered to the far right (who would have voted for him anyway) and lost his way (permanently, it now appears)

    but, palin was the biggest mistake he ever made. dumb, egotistical and arrogant. she'd ruin anyone's campaign. (let's hope she'll ruin her own)

    August 31, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  11. William

    Never been a Palin fan but Meghan McCain is a spoiled child yearning for attention. Only a child burns bridges when there is no need to do so. I am embarrassed for her family and the humiliation they must feel.

    August 31, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. Livin the good life

    I can understand how she feels but, the lives' of ALL wealthy people (along with their kids in society, no matter a politician, celebrity or other) still live "in a bubble" and are not subjected to a real life such as "poverty". It's the ol' cliche' of "you don't know how someone feels until you've walked a mile in their shoes." Maybe she was "put-off" by the Palin kids being waited on hand-&-foot first. But again, it IS politics. Gotta put that (whatever one may think) best face forward. Maybe Meghan was a liability in the media since she was estranged from her parents party affilation at the age of 15. Who knows what goes on inside the heads of 15 year olds let alone one raised in a wealthy family that goes against the affilation of ones parents at such a impressionable age? Beau Colby

    August 31, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  13. Gregory johnson

    Yeah, I can imagine the politicians kids have a surreal love have to act and dress perfectly all the time, instead of allowing them to be themselves truly. I still do not blame Sarah Palin for McCains downfall, early in the campaign, McCain quoted the famous Presidents words that the economy was solid and a week later it collapsed. I am sure they interviewed Palin many times before picking her, I think it was a Gamble that McCain had to take, the Repuclicans were not exactly welcome at the White House after Bush, so yes it was risky but she also came with her a 90% approval rating from those in her State that she ran.

    August 31, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  14. ckcgye

    Sounds like petty jealousy to me. I doubt her book sells well ... people that don't like Palin won't be interested and neither will people who like her. Like her or not, Palin was the governor of a state during the campaign ... Meghan is just an embittered, irrelevant politician's daughter.

    August 31, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  15. ruty

    The truth fimally comes out. Thanks Meghan. Palin is a self absorbed moron.

    August 31, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. Tony

    With that being reported, the republican party needs more Meghan McCains!

    August 31, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. James in Columbia MO

    Meghan McCain has always been a breath of fresh air for the Republican Party. What they don't realize is that her brand of politics is the future, not the hyper right-wing politics of Tea Party that is currently appealing to the (rapidly aging) base.

    August 31, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  18. Neil Thomas

    I agree with Meghan completely about Republicans expanding its base. During the campiagn, McCain was for amnesty for illegal aliens, in an effort to get the Hispanic vote. Today he wants to built a fence at the border. With the legal, voting, Hispanic population rising, it would be a mistake to alienate them from the GOP.

    I also applaud Meghan for being honest about the Palin ticket, what was McCain thinking? Palin could not get through one interview, unless it was with Fox, without stepping on her own feet. While Palin is beloved by the far right, she turns most moderates and intellectuals off.

    More power to Meghan McCain for her independant thought!

    August 31, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. Peter E

    Who cares! She's even less relebant than that has-been, quitter, nobody Palin!

    August 31, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  20. Steve

    Well... What'd you expect? Every Queen bee needs drones....

    August 31, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  21. Seriously?!

    One of the VERY few on the right that actually has a functioning brain.

    August 31, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  22. Limbaugh is a liberal

    ' the Republican party has to start being open to new people, new blood, and new ideas' Yes, and republicans have declared that they are the real voice of the people, they are the only ones who are listening to Americans... Unfortunately in their definition 'Americans' are only people who already agree with their pro-rich-people's tax cuts, anti-gay, anti-anything-not-WASP agenda.

    August 31, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  23. diridi

    she is so darling....a true statement...Sara pain is an idiot....

    August 31, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    "the Republican party has to start being open to new people, new blood, and new ideas" Good luck with that, Megs!

    August 31, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  25. kari

    Someday, she will tell all. And it's going to be so good.

    August 31, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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