Meghan McCain Offers Political, Life Insights at the University of Illinois

March 1st, 2011

Daily Illini
The Independent Student Newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871
By Christopher Lowery
March 1st, 2011 – 10:53 PM

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Students had the chance to meet with an insider on the 2008 presidential election and current political figure Tuesday evening.

Meghan McCain, daughter of U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain, R-Ariz., visited the University to deliver a speaking engagement and have a dialogue with students. Meghan McCain has authored two separate books, “Dirty Sexy Politics” and “My Dad, John McCain,” and is also a regular columnist for The Daily Beast. The event was sponsored by the Illini Union Board.

The dialogue covered a variety of topics, including the 2008 election.

“It’s about 50 percent politics and where I think the Republican Party is at in politics and my role,” she said. “It’s about 25 percent women in the media, and then another 25 percent is stories from the campaign.”

She said the 2008 election, in which her father lost to President Barack Obama, would have effects that would last “forever” on her and her family.

“It’s hopefully not the pinnacle point in my life, but definitely one of the giant highlights,” she said. “It’s something that people will be curious to ask me about for the rest of my life, and I’m comfortable with that. It changed me in every possible way.”

As a leader for young Republicans, McCain said she’s viewed differently by various members of the public.

“People will come up to me and think that I’m like the second coming of the next generation of Republicans,” she said. “Then I’ll have people come up to me who think I’m the Antichrist.”

Caitlyn Hodges, senior in LAS, said she came to the event because she is curious about political science and what McCain had to say.

“I think it’s interesting because she’s a political figure with a pretty big blog who could provide some insight into the political system,” she said.

When asked about her relationship with the Republican Party, McCain replied it was “complicated.”

“It’s like the Facebook status,” she said jokingly.

John McCain’s previous presidential campaign in 2000 was “much more of a moderate, open environment,” according to his daughter, who worked on the campaign at the age of 14.

“I was exposed to this as a child. Really, the past 12 years is when we have seen a 180 (degree turn) with the anger in politics,” she said.

McCain said she loved speaking at both liberal and conservative college campuses, because she thought students were “respectful and open minded.”

“I think that it’s because we’re all in this together, and I’m not that much older than students,” she said. “I think we all are going to have to deal with this as we get older.”

Maureen Loughran, senior in LAS, said she thought McCain has very different political stances from other traditional Republicans.

McCain credited the presidential campaign to bringing her into the public eye.

“You’re born into what you’re born into. And obviously, I have a famous father who has given me a lot, and nepotism has gotten me very far,” she said. “But then you take it, and you run with it. I had this opportunity, and I seized it. I love it.”