My Dad’s the Greatest, Writes Meghan McCain

Posted September 2, 2008 at 5:51pm

Meghan McCain was courting the youth voter Tuesday, although the followers she was courting have a few years to go before they can hit the voting booths.

The 24-year-old daughter of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) appeared at the Minneapolis Convention Center to sign copies of her newly released children’s book, “My Dad, John McCain.” Mom-and-daughter duos and smatterings of young children came out to catch a glimpse of the fresh-faced McCain, who became a staple on the campaign trail this year as she blogged from the Straight Talk Express.

Still in campaign mode, McCain opens her book with a pitch to her young readers, who are a decade from voting eligibility.

“There are a few things you need to know about my dad, and one of them is that he would make a great president,” the first-time author writes in the opening page.

Supporters armed with camera phones and campaign T-shirts snapped photos and gleefully stood in line for a brief encounter with McCain, who in recent weeks has shied away from the public spotlight. McCain, who was also scheduled to appear at a St. Paul, Minn., bookstore later in the day, signed books for just 90 minutes and addressed the crowd for just one minute.

While McCain attracted a crowd of nearly 200 people who waited patiently before she arrived, many of the curious supporters dissipated after her talk. Some just came for a quick glimpse of the platinum-blond McCain daughter, while other loyal followers, mostly out-of-town delegates, loaded up on the $16.95 book as souvenirs.

The book signing was scheduled in conjunction with Civic Fest, a five-day showcase of political memorabilia at the Minneapolis Convention Center. While a miniature replica of the White House has been the most popular attraction, according to event organizers, high-profile figures have also drawn large crowds.

“We missed seeing Laura Bush yesterday, so when we heard about this, we were all over it,” said Anita Cornwell, a Colorado alternate delegate.

A few youngsters squirmed in their seats while they waited for McCain, who was 15 minutes late for her book signing. Some children ran over to jump around the Air Force One exhibit while their parents waited in line.

Republican Daphne Chapman, who said she has “loved” all the GOP events in her hometown this week, brought her two young sons to meet McCain.

“I like her blog, and I think she’s giving a new voice to the young Republicans,” the Victoria, Minn., resident said as her 7-month-old son Jude wiggled in her arms. “She’s a great role model for kids.”

Chapman’s youngsters won’t become swing-state voters this election cycle, but a few key voters were in the crowd to show their support. Dennis Lennox, a mid-20s Michigan native, cheered McCain’s youthful sass on the campaign trail, which he said reminded him of the current first daughters.

“Certainly [McCain] has similar qualities to the Bush twins,” said Lennox, who interned for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004. “Eighteen-year-olds born in 1990 can certainly relate to Meghan. She’s only a few years older than a lot of new voters.”

Even Civic Fest volunteers didn’t pass up the opportunity to catch a glimpse of a political celebrity. Packs of volunteers uniformed in blue polo shirts embroidered with the stars and stripes wandered over to the stage area for a quick look at McCain, trading whispers and smiles with each other before returning to their exhibit posts.

With whispers of a Cindy McCain appearance at the convention center later in the day, supporters were looking forward to back-to-back McCain meetings. And as John McCain attempts to restore a convention week thrown into chaos because of hurricane storms on the Gulf Coast, the young McCain’s book gave supporters who came out on a rainy day in Minneapolis her own message of support: “Some guys don’t quit. My dad is one of them.”