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Meghan McCain on the politics of Thanksgiving dinner

'Dirty Sexy Politics' author Meghan McCain says she and her parents won't be discussing 'don't ask, don't tell' when she goes home for Thanksgiving.

By Staff writer / November 22, 2010

Sen. John McCain, right, as he introduces his daughter, Meghan, at a campaign stop in Washington, Pa., on August 30, 2008.

Keith Srakocic/AP/File

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When the McCain family sits down for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, one topic for sure won’t be on the menu: “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

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That’s the word from Meghan McCain, an outspoken advocate for gay rights – and daughter of Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, leader of a congressional effort to block repeal of the military’s policy that bans open service by homosexuals.

“I’m going home for Thanksgiving tomorrow. When we sit around Thanksgiving dinner, I’m not going to be talking about ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ “ Ms. McCain said Sunday at the Miami Book Fair International. She was promoting her new book, “Dirty Sexy Politics.”

McCain described a warm relationship with both her parents. But the secret – as in many families – is apparently to steer clear of politics. And she’s even a Republican, though of the more liberal variety, at least on social issues. McCain worked on her father’s 2008 presidential campaign as a blogger, but was eventually kicked off the campaign plane for being too, um, lively.

“I think sometimes my father wishes I was a kindergarten teacher,” said the 20-something McCain, dressed in a black dress, big hoop earrings, and Jessica Simpson shoes with five-inch heels. “But he still loves me. And I have to separate the political and the personal, otherwise I’m not going to have a relationship with my parents.”

McCain’s mother, Cindy McCain, has also been embroiled in DADT of late, first appearing in ads favoring repeal, then abruptly announcing via Twitter Nov. 12 that she supports her husband’s position.

With her book tour, the younger McCain seems to be on a multifaceted campaign of her own – part personal rehabilitation, part outreach to young people promoting a hipper, more moderate version of Republicanism, part town crier warning about Sarah Palin (“polarizing,” she says) and the tea party (“I worry that it’s too extreme”).

On Part 1, she admits to being “bratty” to the Secret Service during the campaign. But despite the title of her book, she says she was “actually celibate for most of the campaign, because I personally am not attracted to men in politics as a general rule.” Her book’s title, she says, refers more to campaign journalists and staffers.

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