Much Ado About McCain

, Bethany Stotts, Leave a comment

Meghan McCain, that is. She’s scheduled to speak at George Washington University (GWU) on February 9 as the keynote for “Marriage Equality Week” on the topic of “Redefining Republican: No Labels, No Boxes, No Stereotypes,” according to a January 14 GW Hatchet article.

The event was originally co-sponsored by the GW College Republicans, but the group withdrew its support amid “claims that the Allied in Pride president was not forthcoming about the topic of McCain’s speech,” reported Madeleine Morgenstern for the GW Hatchet on January 19.

The GW CR’s Jan. 19 press release states that

“’Our executive board was originally told by Allied in Pride that Meghan McCain’s primary focus would be her opinion on what it means to be a Republican .But having later discovered through Ms. McCain’s twitter, and subsequent conversations that her remarks would be framed around ‘Marriage Equality Week,’ information that Allied in Pride’s president, Michael Komo, withheld from our board, we have since retracted our support for the event.”

While the CR’s claim they were not notified that the topic of her speech would be about gay marriage, Allied in Pride, another cosponsor, asserts in its Jan. 22 press release that the issue was “explicitly discussed.”

“In my meeting with the GW College Republicans, the details of Ms. McCain’s speech, including marriage equality, were explicitly discussed. Receptive, the College Republicans decided to fund $100 of the program’s cost,” states the release, supplied to The GW Patriot Blog by AIP President Michael Komo. “The remaining expenses were to be covered by The GW Graduate School of Political Management Student Association, Allied in Pride, Program Board, and the Student Association.”

“Confusion arose because the timing of Marriage Equality Week and Ms. McCain’s appearance at GW overlapped,” it states, “leading the GW College Republicans to withdraw their co-sponsorship of the event. However, despite any misunderstanding relating to the timing of the event, the theme of her planned speech at GW remains the same: ‘Redefining Republican.'”

This McCain-GW controversy even got a mention on CBS News’ Political Hotsheet as part of a post on how Meghan’s mother, Cindy McCain, had joined her daughter in being photographed for the No H8 campaign.

“John and Cindy McCain’s daughter Meghan has been a vocal advocate for gay marriage and was previously photographed for the campaign,” writes Stephanie Condon on the CBS News blogs. “Her outspoken position has been controversial among conservatives, however. The GW College Republicans this week withdrew their financial support of an appearance Meghan McCain will make at George Washington University in February to deliver the keynote address at the ‘Marriage Equality Week’ hosted by another campus club” (link in original).

On Jan. 19 Meghan McCain had incorrectly tweeted that she had been “uninvited” from the GW campus event because of her views; an hour later she corrected this, tweeting

“confusion. As far as I know, until further notice I am still speaking at GWU in February…will keep everybody updated if it changes.”

Someone over at the GW Hatchet is quite upset. A Jan. 21 staff editorial entitled “A national embarrassment” contends that “Of all the key players in this debacle, the majority of the blame falls on Komo.”

“Between the McCain event and launching two SA resolutions right before the start of the election season, it is hard to imagine that Komo’s actions are not meant to garner positive publicity for a potential campaign,” it contends, also criticizing another SA senator, Jamie Baker, for his “erratic role in this episode.”

Update: Meghan McCain responds on the Daily Beast, blogging about GWU and the Republican “purity test.”

Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.