Senator John McCain and daughter Meghan during an interview at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in January 2014. PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAUL DRINKWATER/NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA GETTY IMAGES)
With her new gig as co-host on Pivot's TakePart Live, Meghan McCain displays the same passion and fervor that propelled her father, John McCain, to the political frontlines and 2008 presidential candidacy. "I'm very proud to say I think the show is going to get attention just because the conversations are so different," she says. Premiering tonight, the show seeks to revolutionize the way news is presented to the future newsmakers, today's millennials. We recently chatted with McCain about co-hosting with Jacob Soboroff and Eddie Huang, who she'll be voting for come 2016, and more.
Tell us about how you landed this latest hosting gig.
MEGHAN MCCAIN: I was working for Pivot last year on another show and they had launched Take Part Live [but] I don’t think they liked the way it had been executed. They wanted to re-launch it and maybe approach me about hosting it with Jacob [Soboroff] and possibly another person. At first I didn’t know what to think of it because I know enough about news and television […] and it’s a ton of work and I didn’t know what the concept was. Once they explained that they wanted it to be a young news program that was fun and raw but still talking about issues that are important to millennials, instead of just focusing on Malaysian planes, I was really interested.
What are your thoughts on how reporting is handled today?
MM: I worked in cable news for about a year during the Romney election and I was miserable, I didn’t like the narrative I was a part of. I didn’t feel like I was having a real conversation, and it was just all talking points and pitting Americans against each other. It’s not who I am, it’s not what I believe, it’s not the America I want to live in. I just took a leap of faith. Things in television and media had to get better than this and I have never looked back since I joined Pivot. The show is uncensored in every way. They can swear, we can talk about things that you can’t talk about on cable news.
The passion you have while talking about your endeavors reminds me of your dad’s excitement on the campaign trail. Do people say you’re similar?
MM: I forgot how much alike we are. We have the same worries about our place in the world, we interact with people in the same way, we really want the same things, and I think we look at the world the same way, for good and for bad. My brothers are exactly like my mom and my personality is very similar to my father’s.
You’ve been outspoken about your support for gay rights. Do you feel like you’ve slowly redefined Republican ideals? If so, how?
MM: It happened organically. I was just honest about the life I was living and the world I was living in, and the rights I wanted for my gay friends. I think it’s rare, unfortunately, for people not to stick to their talking points, on the left and the right, in news in general. I guess I am in some way trying to redefine how people look at what a young Republican is. I just want to have a more nuanced conversation about what it means to be a Republican in 2014, what it means to be a woman in your twenties in 2014, and grow up with conservative parents but live in a world where you want your gay friends to have the same civil rights that you do. When I first came up on marriage equality, I felt very alone, and now I know so many Republicans that have come out publicly and support and are there to fight with me.
Do you think a bipartisan America is possible?
MM: Call me the ultimate optimist, but I do. I just don’t think it’s going to happen with people over 40. I was just in D.C., and I was hearing some people talk about how everything has to be about the far right or the far left, but that’s not the way I look at the world.
You mentioned being a woman in this political environment. How do you feel about Hillary Clinton’s possible presidential nomination?
MM: I have such respect for Hillary Clinton in so many different ways, because she obviously has broken the glass ceiling in a whole variety of different ways for women across America. I always have respect for women in politics, no matter their political beliefs, just because of what I know I’ve gone through [and] I can’t even imagine what they have to go through. That being said, I would not like her to be my first woman president. At the end of the day, I want a Republican president. I want Jeb Bush to be the next president, but I have respect for her and her family.
If you could change anything about our country, what would it be?
MM: That is a tough one. In general, start having more nuanced conversations about America in general. Putting people in boxes, I think it’s very dated, I think it’s very '90s, and I think the generation that overtakes the media for the most part has one perspective… and for me it’s exhausting. I don’t like the idea that Republicans have to act, talk, look, and live like this, and Democrats the same. They don’t have to act, talk, and look a certain way. I think the face of America is changing in so many different ways and I just wish in media and in government [that would be represented] more. Whenever that [will] happen, I don’t know. But I hope some time soon.