Meghan McCain called Wednesday for a return of civility to politics, but took some swings at the talk-show hosts that she said were breeding cynicism among young voters.
"We shouldn't let pundits two and three times our age speak for us," she said.
McCain, daughter of former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. John McCain, spoke at the University of Florida to a crowd of several hundred filled mostly with students.
McCain, 25, wrote a blog while traveling on the campaign and currently is a columnist for The Daily Beast Web site.
Her mother, Cindy, made news last week by appearing in an ad campaign supporting gay marriage. Describing herself as a "progressive Republican," Meghan McCain said she believed members of the GOP could support gay rights while also taking traditional Republican positions such as being anti-abortion.
"You just can't be afraid to say 'Yes, I'm a Republican and yes, I'm for marriage equality and these things aren't mutually exclusive,' " she said.
Meghan McCain's positions have sometimes brought attacks from fellow conservatives. She brought up talk show host Laura Ingraham's criticism of her that included a swipe at the size of her read end.
"I was too fat to be a Republican," she said. "It made me feel great - too fat to be an elephant."
But she struck back at Ingraham and fellow conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, as well as liberal television host Keith Olbermann.
"Please, Keith and Rushes of the world, let's pipe it down a notch," she said.
She said the GOP can maintain its core ideals while broadening the appeal of the party. She said she was concerned that the party was pushing a new generation toward being Democrats.
Barbara Walters guest-anchors Sunday's edition of "This Week" from the Newseum studio in Washington, D.C. ... Meghan McCain will co-host Walters' "The View" Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. on ABC. ...
Rosanna Scotto will be busy tonight. First, she'll stop by the Dwight School at 6 p.m. to discuss what it takes to put on WNYW/Ch. 5's "Good Day New York" each day; from there, she'll shoot over to the Waldorf-Astoria to host the Friends of St. Dominic's 29th annual awards dinner, a benefit for the St. Dominic's Home, a nonprofit Catholic social-welfare agency.