TAMPA — Meghan McCain, maybe one of the most enigmatic young people in politics today, hosted a party at the Glazer Children's Museum on Wednesday. Oh, and her parents were there.
But back to Meghan. She's a 27-year-old Republican who loves guns, small government and God. She also loves gays and beer and fun and thinks there's room for everyone in the GOP. At her private event Wednesday, she stood under a spotlight, round blonde bun on her head and tiny foot tattoo poking from her platform spike heels.
"What is up, being in a room full of sexy Republicans?" she said. "We're all here for the same reason … trying to get Mitt Romney elected, trying to get Obama out of office."
Arizona Sen. John McCain and his wife, Cindy, clapped from the side of the stage in the museum's third floor. They never made any remarks. It was John McCain's 76th birthday, almost four years since he lost the presidency to Obama.
The event was sponsored by the Lifetime network, home of delicious made-for-TV movies about women taking control, and Got Your Six, an organization that partners with Hollywood studios to help veterans assimilate back into daily life.
It started with a small red carpet parade. Meghan McCain walked by slowly, carrying a black YSL clutch bag and talking with reporters on everything from the reasons she likes Romney to her favorite Lifetime movies.
"I saw the one with LeAnn Rimes where she met her husband," she said. "I watched it one New Year's Eve with my mom. We were in our pajamas. I was like, crying."
John and Cindy McCain came down the red carpet, gave a couple of television interviews and then rushed into the party. Sara Evans, the featured performer, gave interviews. She was booked for the party after a string of dropouts from Willie Nelson, Randy Travis and Wyclef Jean. Evans, a country singer, was raised on a farm in Missouri and identified with conservative ideals. But she admitted talking about it was nerve-racking.
"For a celebrity, it's tough to talk about politics," she said. "You don't want to alienate anybody, but you don't want to be cowardly. It's a fine line to walk."
Upstairs, Evans crooned to the crowd of delegates and well-heeled guests who scored invites. The elder McCains stood behind a roped-off area, then slipped away into a VIP room, then away entirely. Meghan McCain stood out in the open sipping a Bud Light. She kicked off her shoes and stood barefoot.
By 1 a.m., the party hadn't really gone full-tilt, lingering somewhere between dignified political event, staged press conference and open-bar country concert.
On the way out, guests got a copy of Meghan McCain's book.
America, You Sexy Bitch.
Stephanie Hayes can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8857.