Meghan McCain believes in limited government and the pro-life platform. She also supports the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But she believes the Republican Party needs to evolve.
McCain spoke at the University Auditorium Wednesday night, and about 360 tickets were distributed for the event. She was paid $10,000, according to the UF Student Government Finance Office.
“The Republican party has a serious PR problem,” McCain said. “Anyone who doesn’t think so is smoking something.”
Describing herself as a “progressive Republican,” McCain, the daughter of U.S. Sen. John McCain, focused on the need for civility within the realm of politics and the need for the Republican Party to become more receptive toward divisive social issues.
“I’m not saying, ‘Let’s abandon the core ideals of the Republican Party,’” she said, noting how there are many people who love the party but believe its ideals have been lost. “I’m asking the Republican Party to stop being stubborn and close-minded.”
She also touched on the widening of the political divide within the country and how it is inhibiting Americans from reaching a political consensus.
She blamed pundits from both the right and the left, such as Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann, as being equally damaging to the country.
Although she addressed serious political issues, she injected a touch of humor into the dialogue, comparing the heated health care town hall meetings to episodes of MTV’s “The Jersey Shore.”
She also commented on her feud with conservative political commentator Laura Ingraham, who created a controversy when she commented about McCain’s weight.
“I told her she can kiss my size-12 ass, [and] she can continue to kiss my Republican ass,” she said.
After her speech, which lasted about 30 minutes, McCain answered questions from the audience.
She addressed topics such as health care, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine and the effect of the “religious right” on the Republican Party.
When asked about her views on Sarah Palin, McCain deferred to her upcoming book, “Dirty Sexy Politics: A True Story,” which will discuss her views of Palin more thoroughly.
She said the former governor of Alaska would have a good chance of winning a presidential campaign and would be interested to see how she would fare in the primaries and the general election.
Hakeem Hasan, a UF political science sophomore, said he was impressed by McCain’s insistence on civility and open-mindedness, notably on gay rights issues.
McCain embodies the spirit of compromise, Hasan said.
“She truly wants to break the label of what Republican women should act like, talk like and dress like,” he said.