Meghan McCain asks for civility from young voters


Meghan McCain, columnist, blogger, author and daughter of Governor John McCain, discussed redifining Republican stereotypes Wednesday Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. at the University Auditorium at the University of Florida.

Caitlin Healy/Special to the Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 10:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 10:28 p.m.

Meghan McCain called Wednesday for a return of civility to politics, but took some swings at the talk-show hosts that she said were breeding cynicism among young voters.

“We shouldn't let pundits two and three times our age speak for us,” she said.

McCain, daughter of former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. John McCain, spoke at the University of Florida to a crowd of several hundred filled mostly with students.

McCain, 25, wrote a blog while traveling on the campaign and currently is a columnist for The Daily Beast Web site.

Her mother, Cindy, made news last week by appearing in an ad campaign supporting gay marriage. Describing herself as a “progressive Republican,” Meghan McCain said she believed members of GOP could support gay rights while also taking traditional GOP positions such as being pro-life.

“You just can't be afraid to say ‘Yes, I'm a Republican and yes, I'm for marriage equality and these things aren't mutually exclusive,' ” she said.

Meghan McCain's positions have sometimes brought attacks from fellow conservatives. She brought up talk show host Laura Ingraham's criticism of her that included a swipe at the size of her read end.

“I was too fat to be a Republican,” she said. “It made me feel great -- too fat to be an elephant.”

But she struck back at Ingraham and fellow conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, as well as liberal television host Keith Olbermann.

“Please, Keith and Rushes of the world, let's pipe it down a notch,” she said.

She said the GOP can maintain its core ideals while broadening the appeal of the party. She said she was concerned that the party was pushing a new generation toward being Democrats.

“I am saying make room for all Republicans and let's start evolving with the times,” she said.

While she said she disagreed with some positions of her father's running mate, Sarah Palin, she said people are foolish to underestimate Palin's appeal. But she questioned the Tea Party movement in the party, saying she wasn't impressed by the crowds of several thousand at their rallies.

“These people are not as relevant as they say they are,” she said. “I think my father would be president if they were really that powerful.”

The speech was sponsored by the student-run ACCENT speaker's bureau. McCain was paid $10,000, according to UF Student Government.

McCain called on the students in attendance to return civility to politics and steer the discourse away from hateful rhetoric.

“Let's be the examples we don't have,” she said.

Nathan Crabbe can be reached at 338-3176 or nathan.crabbe@gvillesun.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/nathancrabbe.

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