Interviews

Meghan McCain on New Book 'Dirty Sexy Politics'

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 31, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: Meghan McCain, who worked on her father's presidential campaign, has a new book out. It is called "Dirty Sexy Politics," and it talks about Sarah Palin's impact on the campaign, among lots of other things.

Here now is Meghan McCain. You know, I saw you on "Good Morning America" this morning, right?

MEGHAN MCCAIN, AUTHOR, "DIRTY SEXY POLITICS": Yes.

O'REILLY: And were those pinheads nice to you over there, by the way?

MCCAIN: Yes, they were lovely.

O'REILLY: OK, because sometimes they can get a little -- but Stephanopoulos is OK. But you said you had conflicted feelings about Sarah Palin. I want you to flesh that out on "The Factor." What is the conflict to you?

MCCAIN: You know, when she was on my father's campaign, she brought so much enthusiasm, and you saw the crowds just double and triple and more women coming. And no one can deny this woman's power and enthusiasm and what she can do for the Republican Party. I am more socially liberal than she is, which is where the conflict takes place.

O'REILLY: So politically, because you are a liberal Republican and she...

MCCAIN: I consider myself a socially liberal Republican.

O'REILLY: OK. Socially liberal. That means abortion and gay marriage, those things.

MCCAIN: It's just gay marriage. I'm pro-life.

O'REILLY: She is -- she is a traditional conservative down the line. That's where you have the conflict. But that's not really a conflict, because under a political party tent, there's room for all of that, is there not?

MCCAIN: Exactly, and that's how I feel. I think there's room for all of us. There are some people in this party that don't think there's room for people like me.

O'REILLY: OK, understand that there's intolerance in every party for opposing points of view.

MCCAIN: Exactly. It's not just the Republican Party.

O'REILLY: Now, but you also write in your book that Governor Palin was a little bit problematic on the campaign?

MCCAIN: It was just, you know, I didn't know her. The opening scene of my book is me finding out that she's my father's running mate literally an hour before I go on stage with her.

O'REILLY: Right.

MCCAIN: And it was just chaos from day one. But I think that's any campaign. And the losers apparently have more chaos, and the winners did everything right.

O'REILLY: But in some circles, they tried to portray the governor as a diva, as a person who was demanding and who needed all this extra attention. Did you see that?

MCCAIN: I didn't see her as a diva. I saw her as a woman who knew what she wanted and had been preparing to be vice president her entire life. That's still how I see her. She was born to do this, and she thought she was going to do that. And her conflict with Steve Schmidt is very well-documented, and I did see that.

O'REILLY: OK. So you basically -- your beef with Governor Palin is just you don't see eye to eye on social issues with her, some social issues?

MCCAIN: Essentially, yes.

O'REILLY: OK.

MCCAIN: And I really am looking for a leader to really inspire my generation. And I'm not entirely convinced that she or any other person right now is really going to be the person to take it all the way.

O'REILLY: It's hard. Young Republicans are scattered all over the place, as you know.

MCCAIN: They are.

O'REILLY: And some of them are very conservative. Some of them are like you. It's hard.

All right. Now, Barack Obama is elected president, and he beats your father. And you have now seen him in office for 18 months. Your assessment of the president?

MCCAIN: I think he's doing a terrible job. I think...

O'REILLY: Terrible?

MCCAIN: I have never agreed -- I disagree with 85 to 90 percent of things that are going on.

O'REILLY: Because he's against gay marriage. You even disagree with him on gay marriage.

MCCAIN: On gay marriage, exactly.

O'REILLY: He's against it.

MCCAIN: I know. And we get the bad rap, as Republicans, as being against gay marriage. But he isn't doing anything for the gay community. And I just -- I'm very scared about the spending, more so than anything. And I don't think I'm the only one. It's where the Tea Party movement...

O'REILLY: All right. A to F, you give him, in 18 months, a...?

MCCAIN: C+?

O'REILLY: C+?

MCCAIN: C? C-.

O'REILLY: All right. Your primary objection with the president is economic?

MCCAIN: Yes.

O'REILLY: You think what?

MCCAIN: And foreign policy. I mean, I think everything that's going on right now with the pullout. You know, I have two brothers that serve. It's very personal to me. He was against the surge, and now automatically, he's sort of taking responsibility.

O'REILLY: Yes, talked about it tonight. So you -- is there anything about him that you like? Is there anything that you think that he's done good in the 18 months?

MCCAIN: I think the way he inspires young people and continues to inspire young people. And I do think -- he's not completely -- I'm not one of these people who think he's the worst president in history. I do not think he's a socialist, and I also don't think he's a Muslim. But I am a Republican, so I...

O'REILLY: Yes, you're philosophically different from him because he is a very liberal man. All right. "Dirty Sexy Politics."

MCCAIN: Yes.

O'REILLY: Are politics dirty...

MCCAIN: Do you like the title?

O'REILLY: Listen, Meghan, coming from you, it's fine. If I wrote that book, I don't think it would go. But is politics dirty and sexy?

MCCAIN: Yes. And I actually came up with the title myself. And I was just having dinner with a bunch of girlfriends who are not particularly interested in politics. And I was...

O'REILLY: All right. What's dirty about it?

MCCAIN: Dirty is just what it can do to people. I mean, it can just corrupt people in every way. Look at Blagojevich. I mean, look at what he's done...

O'REILLY: Power corrupts. That's the dirty part. What's sexy about that?

MCCAIN: The sexy part as Dr. Kissinger says power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

O'REILLY: And he would know. Henry would know.

MCCAIN: He would know. He was quite the player in his day.

O'REILLY: I know. I tried to talk to him about Jill St. John.

MCCAIN: I heard he was quite the lady's man.

O'REILLY: Yes. Henry -- Henry himself was spreading that rumor. I never heard it from any of the ladies; I just heard it from Henry. I don't know. All right. But you say that in -- because of that power component, that in those precincts, you believe there's a lot of stuff going on.

MCCAIN: I think the political process is sexy. I think democracy is sexy. And I think, if Republicans can start rebranding themselves as small government being sexy, we can really...

O'REILLY: So you think that the Republicans have to incorporate some sexiness into...

MCCAIN: I do.

O'REILLY: I don't know how that's going to play with some of the more conservative precincts. Would you ever run for office? Do you -- do you -- would you ever consider that?

MCCAIN: I say no. I just don't think a person like me can get elected.

O'REILLY: Why?

MCCAIN: I just think, you know, I like to go to Vegas on the weekends and, you know, play blackjack.

O'REILLY: You like to go to Vegas?

MCCAIN: I do. And I just don't know if, like, that can happen.

O'REILLY: But I mean, a changing time. I'm not going -- you go to Vegas and win, I'll vote for you.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

O'REILLY: You know, if you were running against Harry Reid, I think I'd vote for you, no matter what you do.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

O'REILLY: All right, Meghan. Good luck with the book, "Dirty Sexy Politics." We appreciate you coming on.

MCCAIN: Thank you so much for having me.

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