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Meghan McCain Plays 'Not My Job'

Meghan McCain
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Meghan McCain, John McCain's daughter, became well known for her outspoken role in her father's 2008 presidential bid. She describes life on the campaign trail in her new book, Dirty, Sexy Politics.

We've invited Meghan McCain to play a game called: "For dessert, how about a defibrillator-on-a-stick?" Three questions about State Fair food.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

PETER SAGAL, Host:

And now the game where we invite on interesting people and ask them silly questions. It's called Not My Job. Meghan McCain became well known for her outspoken role in her father John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. She has a new book out about life on that campaign trail. It's called, "Dirty, Sexy Politics." Meghan McCain, welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

MEGHAN MCCAIN: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: That's quite the applause.

SAGAL: It's great to have you. Oh, yeah, we're fans here. Meghan, I was so excited to get your book, "Dirty, Sexy Politics" because politics needs more dirt and sex. Then I opened it up and I read it. There's not as much sex as I was hoping for.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: I think the fact that I'm talking about the fact that I have had sex just period is controversial.

SAGAL: Really?

MCCAIN: I wanted to start slow. I'm 25. There's plenty of time.

SAGAL: But I was frustrated because at the beginning of the book, I mean like the second paragraph you're like, and then on the campaign trail there's crazy sex.

MCCAIN: There was. See, everybody had crazy sex except me, because I was the candidate's daughter, so I was off limits. And I personally wasn't attracted to anyone on the campaign. So...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Really?

MCCAIN: I know.

SAGAL: Was the rule about being the candidate's daughter being off limits, was that an official rule? Was that like handed out to the reporters? You know, you're not allowed...

MCCAIN: No, it wasn't an official rule. But, you know, I mean being John McCain's daughter, he was tortured for five and a half years in prison, men tend to get a little intimidated sometimes.

SAGAL: Yeah. You were blogging. You started a website during the campaign and this apparently caused some trouble.

MCCAIN: Yes, it did. I just thought I was having a good time and blogging, but people didn't want their picture taken. They didn't want me writing about anything. And I was actually thrown off my father's campaign, which you'd have to check with Chelsea Clinton, but I think it's probably a first for a candidate's daughter.

SAGAL: Really?

MCCAIN: And I talk all about it in the book. Yeah.

SAGAL: All this stuff...

MAZ JOBRANI: You're attracting too much attention to our campaign.

SAGAL: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All the stuff that Jenna and Barbara Bush got away with and you got thrown off the campaign. That doesn't seem fair.

MCCAIN: I did. I was thrown off.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Do you know one thing that I thought was - Meghan, this is Roxanne - one thing I thought was really unfair, the campaign made her go to image consultants to be made over. And not only did they charge thousands of dollars, but they made Meghan pay for it herself.

SAGAL: Really?

ROBERTS: Isn't that correct

MCCAIN: Yes, it's correct. Rock and roll, Roxanne, yes, that did happen.

SAGAL: Wait a minute. Your father's campaign made you pay for your own makeover?

MCCAIN: Yes. And then I got a makeover, and this is the best part, it lasted like a week and then I was like, I can't do this anymore. Because they had dyed my hair and cut my hair, and then I dyed my hair back and I was like, I just got to wear my own clothes. So it was a complete - it was one of the biggest wastes of money of my entire life.

SAGAL: There's one moment, and you say in your book, it was like, oh, this is great because the Palins are coming onto the campaign and they got all these kids, all these daughters, I'll hang out with them. Well, that didn't work out, did it?

MCCAIN: Yeah, I thought we were all going to be friends, but political daughters don't want to hang out with me. So I don't know.

SAGAL: Are they afraid you're wild sense of, like, not doing as you're told will rub off on them and...

MCCAIN: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...they'll be throwing over (unintelligible).

MCCAIN: I think people are just intimidated. And, you know, in fairness to those girls, Bristol was pregnant at the time, so she had other things on her mind.

SAGAL: No, really? I hadn't heard.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: I know. Did you hear that?

SAGAL: I heard that.

ROBERTS: So...

ADAM FELBER: And they're worried that you're going to be a bad influence on her?

ROBERTS: Yeah, you were going to be the bad influence.

FELBER: Oh, my God.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That's hilarious.

FELBER: We don't want somebody who's going to teach Bristol to make bad choices.

SAGAL: No, no, no.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That'd be awful.

ROBERTS: Late in the campaign when you were sort of exiled off, you had what appears to be a fabulous night in Nashville, bar hopping with the country singer John Rich.

MCCAIN: Yes, I did. And I love John Rich. And we're still very good friends. Yeah, I got drunk and it was after the Nashville debate. And I went on stage at this bar in Nashville and I was like, my father is running for president and we're going to do this tonight. And just like totally freaked out and the Secret Service had a meltdown.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: They're like, for the record, don't go on...

SAGAL: Wait a minute.

MCCAIN: ...stage in bars announcing that you're John McCain's daughter, okay? And I was like, oh sorry, sorry. Like, sorry, my bad. Whatever.

SAGAL: You know, what's funny is I've had some nights where I've gotten up and done that myself and weirdly...

FELBER: I made the exact same claim, too.

SAGAL: ...no one intervened. I wish they had, in retrospect. You write in your book, you say that Joe Lieberman is the funniest and most charming man you've ever met.

MCCAIN: He is.

SAGAL: Tell me, have you met any other men?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: Be nice to Joe. Seriously.

SAGAL: I'm sorry, if I...

MCCAIN: Seriously, in person, he is hilarious.

SAGAL: Really?

MCCAIN: He is my favorite. He and Senator Graham are my favorite. He is hilarious and he's just - he was so sweet and so kind and he's just very charming. And, I don't know, I love him.

SAGAL: Because we have made fun of him for years. Can you give us - can you stand up for Joe Lieberman? Give us a great Joe Lieberman story. Can you do that?

MCCAIN: A great Joe Lieberman story? I'm trying to - there are so many.

SAGAL: Oh, of course.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: I mean one time we were on the back of the bus...

SAGAL: All right, no, here we go.

MCCAIN: Okay. One time we were on the back of the bus. We were, like, in Ohio and it was really bumpy. And I was like, I get really car sick, I'm like a Chihuahua. Like, anytime in a car, like, I'm going to throw up, like, I'll have issues. And I was like, Joe, I'm going to be sick. And he was like just don't throw up on my shoes. And it made me laugh so much that I stopped thinking about that. I was like you just have like these great one-liners. And I was like, all right, as long as I don't throw up on your shoes, today's a good day.

SAGAL: He said just don't throw up on my shoes.

MCCAIN: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I mean, I will grant you that he's a charming, wonderful, funny man.

ROBERTS: It's campaign humor.

SAGAL: But isn't it possible that he simply didn't want you to throw up on his shoes?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I'm just saying, it might have been a sincere statement at that point. Meghan, I want to ask you about the cover of your book. On it, an elephant is holding you in his trunk. Is that real, or did you like Photoshop that?

MCCAIN: Yes, I really did like balance on an elephant. And being from Arizona, I rode horses my whole life, and it's like riding a really big horse. And it was really fun.

SAGAL: I don't know anything about animals, but riding an elephant is like nothing like riding a big horse.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: An elephant has a big nose that holds you up.

ROBERTS: Have you ever ridden on an elephant?

SAGAL: I have. I've ridden both horses and elephants. Elephants are larger.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: There you are.

JOBRANI: Is the picture - but is the elephant there so you can get the Hindu vote?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: She said big tent, man, she said big tent.

JOBRANI: Big tent.

SAGAL: Meghan McCain, we're so delighted to have you with us. We've invited you to play a game we're calling...

KORVA COLEMAN, Host:

For dessert, how about a defibrillator on a stick?

SAGAL: It's late summer, and all across the Midwest, that means state fairs. And that means food that Mother Nature could not have invented if Mother Nature went on a peyote binge.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: We're going to ask you about three foods that you can find at a real state fair, somewhere in this great land of ours, and if you get two questions right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl Kasell's deep fried voice on a stick.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: Okay.

SAGAL: Ready to play?

MCCAIN: Yes.

SAGAL: Korva, who is Meghan McCain playing for?

COLEMAN: Ann Cardeah of Clearwater, Florida.

SAGAL: Here's your first question. The cliche of fair food is that it's always on a stick - corndog, pork chop, even spaghetti and meatballs. Which of these is actually available this year at the Minnesota State Fair? A, foie gras on a stick; B, camel on a stick; or, C, tomato soup on a stick.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: Well, it's not foie gras.

SAGAL: Okay.

MCCAIN: Tomato soup?

SAGAL: Tomato soup? Is that a question or is that an answer?

MCCAIN: C, that's my answer.

SAGAL: That's your answer, it's tomato soup on a stick. No, actually it's camel. Camel on a stick you can get. And that's not like a euphemism or a brand name. It's like, camel, camel meat. We're told it tastes like bison.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You thought I was going to say chicken, didn't you? But no.

FELBER: Bison, however, tastes exactly like chicken.

SAGAL: Isn't that funny?

FELBER: Yeah.

SAGAL: It all comes back to chicken. All right, Meghan, here is your next question. A state fair meal isn't complete without dessert. Which of these sweet treats is available at the Iowa State Fair? A, battered fried sugar cubes; B, the truck tire sized doughnut; or, C, the hot beef sundae.

MCCAIN: I would say all, but...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: Hot beef sundae.

FELBER: Every day was hot beef sundae on the Edwards' campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

FELBER: I mean, honestly, how did we walk that far down the tracks without saying John Edwards?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All over America millions of people just spit out their breakfast.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And are promising never to eat again after that. All right, Meghan, we need you to make your final call here. Your batter fried sugar cubes...

MCCAIN: Well how can I not go with the beef sundae now?

SAGAL: How can you not go with the beef sundae? You're correct, yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

FELBER: Wow.

SAGAL: The hot beef sundae. I want to be fair.

MCCAIN: I am not good at this game.

SAGAL: No, no, you're doing great. I want to be fair to the Iowa State Fair. The hot beef sundae only looks like a dessert. It's modeled like a dessert, but it is really mashed potatoes with beef and gravy on top of it and then cheese and a cherry tomato on top. So it looks like a sundae.

MCCAIN: Yeah, I would totally eat that.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You could. Oh, man.

ROBERTS: Well, that's not really dessert then.

SAGAL: Well, that's right. But you're apparently free to eat a second one after your first one, which is the entree. So it could be dessert. So we cheated a little, but we're fine.

JOBRANI: Then throw up - then you can throw up on Joe Lieberman's shoes.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: He loves that. All right, this is great. This is great. Down to the wire here, you get this last one, you'll win. The true genius of state fair food always found in the depths of the deep fryer. Every summer, food visionaries find a way to deep fry things that were never meant to be deep fried, such as this treat from the Texas State Fair. Was it A, deep fried Lipitor?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: B, deep fried beer; or, C, deep fried popsicles?

MCCAIN: I don't know, you cannot fry ice cream. I guess I'm going to go with the deep fried beer.

SAGAL: And you were correct to do so, deep fried beer.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: The way you do it is you got a little pocket of dough, you fill it with beer, you seal it, you deep fry it, and then you pick it and you bite it and hot beer sprays all over your shirt.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Which apparently is a fun thing when it comes to Texas, so you're all set. Korva, how...

MCCAIN: I would do that too. (Unintelligible) kielbasa.

SAGAL: Campaign goes on long enough, the next thing you know. Korva, how did Meghan McCain do on our quiz?

COLEMAN: Well, Meghan got two out of three correct, so that means she has won the prize for Ann Cardeah of Clearwater, Carl's voice on Ann's home answering machine.

SAGAL: Well done. Congratulations, Meghan McCain.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: Thanks. Yes, I had no help there.

SAGAL: None whatsoever.

MCCAIN: No help.

SAGAL: So there you go. So this is fun. You could maybe, you know, if you're not going to be in politics, you can be a professional game show contestant.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: Yeah, no.

SAGAL: No. Meghan McCain is a columnist for the DailyBeast.com and author of the new book, "Dirty, Sexy Politics," in your bookstores now. Meghan McCain, thank you so much for joining us. What a pleasure to have you.

MCCAIN: Thank you for having me. Thank you, everyone.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you, Meghan.

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