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Fortunate Daughter

Meghan McCain Offers Her Own Straight Talk on The Campaign -- And Who Wears The Best Shoes

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By Libby Copeland
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 26, 2008; Page C01

Meghan McCain, who blogs about life inside her dad's presidential campaign, is not terribly interested in matters of policy, but she is acutely attuned to matters of footwear.

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McCain is a political outsider with an insider's access, and on her Web site she notices the things political junkies never would, like the "really cute" shoes Chelsea Clinton wore when they met. She posts photographs of her own shoes and of the shoes she encounters on the trail, including those belonging to such fashion luminaries as Dick Armey and Henry Kissinger.

"Because I love shoes, and who doesn't want to know what kind of shoes Dr. Kissinger wears?" she writes on her blog.

We didn't know we wanted to know, but now that she mentions it, we kinda do. (Black loafers. Aha!)

"I don't understand why in this industry of politics, I am an airhead," says Sen. John McCain's daughter on a recent Sunday at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Ariz., not far from the McCain family's weekend home. She occasionally strokes the blond ponytail that lies over her shoulder like a mink stole. "I'm so sick of being called dumb because I like, you know, movies and music and fashion."

"She's really articulate," says her friend and fellow "blogette" Heather Brand, who's sitting nearby.

"Thanks!" McCain says with a joyful giggle.

"I think there are some people who are haters and they're like, 'Oh, she's not writing the blog,' " Brand says.

Who else could write about "town halling it" with such irrepressible sunniness? And who else cares that much about accessories? This is the campaign trail as it would look if it were covered in Us Weekly. On McCainBlogette.com, McCain, 23, takes a private tour of the White House with Laura Bush and reports that the place is "breathtaking" but could use some modern art. Perhaps a Warhol? she ventures.

She writes that her dad's new campaign bus is totally "pimped out," and she posts "10 Things You Don't Know About My Mom," revealing that Cindy McCain is a "huge" fan of the band Cream and that her favorite snacks are "Cheetos and salt and vinegar potato chips."

The preexisting paradigms for a candidate's daughter have been either (a) fluent on the issues and surrogating for the candidate, like Chelsea Clinton and Cate Edwards, or (b) staying as far as possible from public life and shuttering out the press, like the Bush twins during their dad's first run. Meghan McCain is upending both. She is a pop culture junkie sufficiently well versed in reality TV to know that her personal revelations need not make her vulnerable. Instead, they permit her to write her own script.

Politics is filled with "fake people," as McCain sees it. She's dedicated to revealing life behind the scenes, with a fizzy authenticity so infectious you almost forget what an ugly place the campaign trail can be. Politics seems fun!


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