Meghan McCain talks representing conservatives on 'The View,' calls Elisabeth Hasselbeck an 'icon' (Exclusive)

The View returned after a weeks-long hiatus on Tuesday, and Meghan McCain was back on the panel as the show's lone conservative voice. 

It's a lonely, often contentious position for the TV personality, but one she says she takes pride in. Speaking with ET's Keltie Knight on Tuesday, McCain said she takes the role of representing the point of view of the show's conservative viewers very seriously.

"I try to just remind myself that I'm representing 50 percent of the country," she shared. "I'm representing a bunch of women even though I only have one chair, and it's really important."

She also pointed to a former The View panelist as her inspiration, explaining, "I also try to think of, as cheesy as it sounds, what Elisabeth Hasselbeck used to mean to me when I was young."

"I used to watch The View in college and she was really such an icon for young Republican women and I hope I'm giving that to anyone that's watching," McCain shared. "I know there's people in the middle of the country that feel like they're really happy that someone is representing them."

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Meghan McCain on and off 'The View'
THE VIEW - 'The View' celebrates Meghan McCain's birthday, today Tuesday, October 23, 2018 on ABC. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) MEGHAN MCCAIN
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Pictured: Meghan McCain -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE VIEW - Tyler Perry is the guest today, Tuesday, 10/30/18. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Heidi Gutman) MEGHAN MCCAIN
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Meghan McCain -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Meghan McCain, daughter of U.S. Senator John McCain and host of "Raising McCain" poses during a photocall during the annual MIPCOM television programme market in Cannes, southeastern France, October 8, 2013. The International film and programme market for TV, video, cable and satellite (MIPCOM) opens from October 7 to October 10 on the French Riviera. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (FRANCE - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Meghan McCain, daughter of U.S. Senator John McCain, and executive producer and host of the television show "Raising McCain" speaks during the Pivot television portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 26, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Cindy McCain (C), wife of U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain, discusses the placement of a teleprompter next to her children Meghan (L), Jimmy (2nd L), Jack (2nd R) and adopted daughter Bridget (R) during McCain's walkthrough of the podium at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota September 3, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
Republican presidential candidate U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is joined onstage by his wife Cindy (C) and daughter Meghan (R) following a debate among the Republican presidential candidates at the University of New Hampshire in Durham,New Hampshire, September 5, 2007. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Meghan McCain -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate John McCain's daughter Meghan (L), his mother Roberta (C) and his adopted daughter Bridget (R) attend the opening session of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota September 1, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Meghan McCain attends the 2015 Trevor Project NextGen Fall Fete at Marquee on November 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 12: Ty Herndon and Meghan McCain speak onstage at The Concert For Love And Acceptance at City Winery Nashville on June 12, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Concert For Love And Acceptance)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Meghan McCain -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Meghan McCain attends the 2015 Trevor Project NextGen Fall Fete on November 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Meghan McCain attends the 2015 Trevor Project NextGen Fall Fete on November 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
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However, with co-panelists Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Abby Huntsman and Sunny Hostin, tensions between McCain and her co-stars -- or her co-stars and other conservative guests -- can often get heated. But for her, it's all par for the course.

"Some days are really smooth and someday are Jeanine Pirro," McCain quipped, referring to an explosive exchange between the Fox News host and Goldberg during Pirro's appearance on the show last year. "It just depends on what the day is."

"I mean, I think that's why people like the show. They know it's not scripted and they know we're not being phony and I'm not trying to placate to an audience," McCain added. "I always say we're like the only show that [talks] about J.Lo and A-Rod and North Korea in the same show, and I think that's important."

Ultimately, McCain said the disagreements and fights are usually blown out of proportion by reporters, and for the panelists themselves, it's all water under the bridge by the time the show is over.

"We all have other projects and things going on. I actually forget about it. Other people remind me of fights, I'm like, 'I don't remember that one happening,'" she shared. "So you know I let it roll off pretty easy."

The View airs weekdays at 11 a.m. ET, 10 a.m PT/CT on ABC.

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Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck
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Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck
THE VIEW - 5/15/14 - For the first time in television history, all 11 co-hosts of ABC's 'The View,' present and past, shared the same stage, live, THURSDAY, MAY 15 on ABC to celebrate the shows creator Barbara Walters. Walters is the last remaining co-host of the original panel of five women she helped assemble. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 a.m.- 12 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
Rosie O'Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck (Photo by Mychal Watts/WireImage)
Rosie O'Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck (Photo by Mychal Watts/WireImage)
THE VIEW - 'The View,' ABC's Emmy (R) Award-winning talk and entertainment program returns, live, TUESDAY, SEPT. 5 (11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network, for its 10th season. Among the most highly anticipated and noted changes for the show this season is the addition of Rosie O'Donnell, a beloved star of television, stage and screen. Ms. O'Donnell will serve as moderator and sit alongside fellow co-hosts Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. (Photo by Yolanda Perez/ABC via Getty Images) ELISABETH HASSELBECK,ROSIE O'DONNELL, BARBARA WALTERS, JOY BEHAR
Rosie O'Donnell & Elisabeth Hasselbeck attending the Opening Night return to Broadway performance of LES MISERABLES (the third longest-running show in Broadway History) at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City, November 9, 2006 (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
THE VIEW - 5/15/14 - For the first time in television history, all 11 co-hosts of ABC's 'The View,' present and past, shared the same stage, live, THURSDAY, MAY 15 on ABC to celebrate the shows creator Barbara Walters. Walters is the last remaining co-host of the original panel of five women she helped assemble. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 a.m.- 12 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
THE VIEW - 5/15/14 - For the first time in television history, all 11 co-hosts of ABC's 'The View,' present and past, shared the same stage, live, THURSDAY, MAY 15 on ABC to celebrate the shows creator Barbara Walters. Walters is the last remaining co-host of the original panel of five women she helped assemble. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 a.m.- 12 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
THE VIEW - 5/15/14 - For the first time in television history, all 11 co-hosts of ABC's 'The View,' present and past, shared the same stage, live, THURSDAY, MAY 15 on ABC to celebrate the shows creator Barbara Walters. Walters is the last remaining co-host of the original panel of five women she helped assemble. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 a.m.- 12 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
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