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20 Questions With… Meghan McCain

Expect to see a lot more of author, pundit and outspoken media personality Meghan McCain, who also happens to be the daughter of GOP Senator John McCain. This month, her Pivot TV docu-talk series Raising McCain, in which she’ll tour the country discussing issues important to 20-somethings, premieres. Recently, the Chelsea resident opened up about politics, Instagram and her dad’s obsession with birds.

Best advice you were ever given?
Don’t lie, cheat or steal. Everything else is fair game.

What five iconic figures would be at your dream dinner party?
Teddy Roosevelt, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Ernest Hemingway and Frida Kahlo.

If you could fix one thing about America what would it be?
As simplistic as this may sound, poverty and hunger. One of the episodes of Raising McCain addresses hunger in New York; before that, I had absolutely no idea that one in six people in America goes hungry on a daily basis—and one in five of them are children.

Best and worst things about growing up in a political family?
The best is having a front seat to our country’s political process and watching history being made. The worst, for me, is that people have bizarre expectations of what a “political family” or a “political daughter”—especially a Republican one—should look, talk and act like.

How could Mitt Romney have won the presidency?
I don’t believe Romney could have won the presidency. That being said, supporting gay marriage would have been a step in the right direction. He could also have put more emphasis on fiscal conservatism.

What advice do you have for the GOP?
Evolve with the times. Stop obsessing over things like birth control, abortion and gay marriage. That path will only lead to more failed elections.

Biggest misconception people have about Republicans?
That we all believe what people like Glenn Beck preach. There are a lot more socially liberal Republicans than the media would like to recognize.

What are you afraid of?
Failure.

What are you really good at?
Talking to people and getting them to open up about their lives. What can I say—I’m a politician’s daughter!

Would you ever run for public office?
No, I have too many tattoos and I’m too honest about my personal failings.

What always surprises you about NYC?
How much I still love the city. I moved here when I was 18 to attend Columbia, and was petrified. But New York really grows on you—it becomes a part of you, and you slowly become one of those people who can’t imagine living anyplace else.

Who has your vote for mayor?
Most likely Christine Quinn, simply because I’m unimpressed with the rest of the candidates and I like the idea of a woman running the city. A lot of America’s problems would be solved if more women held public office.

Thoughts on Anthony Weiner?
In general, I’d prefer anyone representing me in politics or running for office to opt out of tweeting or sexting inappropriate pictures.

Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift?
Neither. Willy Nelson.

TV guilty pleasures?
Catfish, True Blood, binge-watching Real Housewives and anything with Rob Dyrdek in it.

Favorite talk show?
I loved Tyra Banks’ talk show. I found her relatable despite the fact that she’s a beautiful supermodel. All of the weight-bashing she got and how she handled it continues to inspire me today.

Twitter or Instagram?
I have an amazingly random group of people following me on Twitter—everyone from Miranda Lambert, Kristin Chenoweth and Pauly Shore to Howard Fineman, two of the Real Housewives, and [Fox News’] Megyn Kelly.

Favorite app?
Uber, hands down. Finally the answer to the 4:30pm cab changeover in bad weather, when I’m trying to get from point A to point B!

What does no one know about John McCain?
That he’s obsessed with birds. Our ranch in Sedona is some kind of a haven for birds and, according to the Audubon Society, has an incredible range of species. Three owls were recently released on our property, and I can’t remember the last time I saw my dad that excited. Anyone reading this: If you ever run into my father and can’t think of anything to say, ask him about the birds at the ranch.

What does no one know about Meghan McCain?
That I’m a lot more outdoorsy than people realize. All I want to do when I go home to Arizona is wear a baseball hat and no makeup, go hiking and fishing, and drink beer all day. As soon as this career in media is through with me, I want to move someplace remote in Arizona and live in the wilderness with a bunch of dogs, some horses and a shotgun.