Meghan McCain spoke to students at the George Washington University on Thursday as Young America’s Foundation protesters criticized her stance on gay marriage and counter-protesters showed their support for the daughter of Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain.
Meghan McCain, who calls herself a “progressive Republican,” implored Republicans to “stop being so stubborn and closed-minded.”
Throughout the night, McCain was critical of right-wing pundits, telling the audience, “I’m not Ann Coulter, I’m not Glenn Beck … I’m not trying to get my own show on Fox … I’m adamantly against hate-mongering.”
There is “no place for the nasty Laura Ingrahams and Ann Coulters,” McCain said, briefly touching on a spat she had with Ingraham last year.
In a March 2009 Daily Beast column, McCain said of Coulter: “I straight up don’t understand this woman or her popularity. I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time.” Ingraham responded, calling McCain “just another Valley Girl gone awry” and “plus-sized.” Co-hosting ABC’s The View a few days later, McCain told Laura Ingraham, “Kiss my fat ass!”
Has the situation between the two been resolved? Not exactly. “By the way, she can continue to kiss my ass!” McCain said. “I was too fat to be a Republican … yeah that makes me feel good. Too fat to be an elephant!”
Though unhappy with pundits, McCain expressed mixed feelings about town hall protesters.
Tea Partiers at town hall meetings during the last year are “filled with vitriolic feelings that walk a fine line with the spewing of hate,” McCain said, and the “voices [at these town hall meetings] have become saturated with anger.”
“I don’t think the Founding Fathers expected [the town halls] to turn into World Wrestling Federation arenas,” she joked.
She did give some credit to town hall protesters: “Many of those people asking heated questions did so because the media isn’t doing its job.”
In her speech, titled “Redefining Republican,” the 25-year old addressed critics who say that she isn’t really a Republican. “I am not saying, ‘Let’s abandon the core ideals that the Republican Party was built on,’” she said, “I love the Republican Party, I really do.” But, she asked, “Why am I not allowed to question [the GOP]?”
“Not everyone has to fit the profile or a stereotype,” she said, warning against the party using a litmus test to determine who is a real Republican and who is not.
McCain stressed her beliefs in a strong national defense, a limited government that leaves people alone and said, “the health-care bill has scared the shit out of me this week.” Spending, she said, was the common thread among Republicans of all stripes, and that’s what keeps her a proud member of the Republican Party.
“Start talking about Afghanistan and I’ll show you just how Republican I am.”
She did stress her staunch support of gay marriage, a position that has gotten her into trouble with more conservative members of the party.
“You hear that, GW Young Republicans?” she said after espousing her beliefs on gay marriage, referring to the initial drama several months ago over sponsorship of her visit.
College Republicans at the university originally agreed to co-sponsor McCain’s speech with Allied in Pride, an organization for LGBTQ students. But when College Republicans learned that the speech was intended as the keynote event for Marriage Equality Week, they pulled sponsorship. The event eventually had to be re-scheduled due to snow storms in Washington, D.C., and Thursday’s event was no longer a part of Marriage Equality Week, but the College Republicans had already pulled their funding and were replaced by the Log Cabin Republicans.
McCain also shared thoughts on a slew of politicians and media personalities:
On South Carolina representative Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst during President Obama’s address to Congress: “I have been to many heated rallies, but still I was taken aback … the president didn’t deserve that.”
On Joy Behar: “I actually love Joy Behar even though she’s a huge Democrat.”
On John Kerry: “I voted for John Kerry in the 2004 election cycle. Yes, I was on the wrong boat.”
And on Sarah Palin, her father’s 2008 running mate: “I don’t dislike her in the way people assume. I respect any woman who can go out and kick ass in politics.” Asked by a student whether McCain and her father ever talk about the former Alaska governor: “Never.”