September 3rd, 2008
11:45 PM ET
10 years ago

Ben Stein: 'Floored' by McCain's veep pick


Ben Stein: Palin a 'peculiar VP choice'

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Palin? Palin?

Ben Stein of “Ferris Bueller” fame is beside himself over Sen. John McCain’s choice for vice president.

“I’m confused and disturbed by the GOP choice of Sarah Palin,” the economist said Wednesday outside The CNN Grill at the Republican National Convention.

Stein was hoping for someone with more experience like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who was considered to be on the shortlist of McCain’s potential running mates.

But don’t expect Stein to defect to the left.

“Obama doesn't have enough experience and Biden just isn't smart enough,” he said. "We need someone smart and we haven't had a smart president in a long time. Well, I guess Clinton was smart.

"I'm a Republican and hope McCain wins, but I'm just floored they picked Sarah Palin."

Stein is an author and former speechwriter for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford,

Filed under: CNN Grill
soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. KenH

    John McCain proves by the selection of Palin that he's a shoot from the him guy whose driven by impulse, not thoughtfulness. Tonight does not put all the questions about Palin to rest. The story of her "non" vetting supports that McCain can't be trusted in a crisis to think about a solution and not just react in a knee-jerk response. Keep him away from the nuke button!

    September 4, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  2. Paul, Tampa

    Well Ben, doesn't that fact that Johnny picked this smug and condescending Governor of the state of Mayberry is a pretty clear demonstration that he certainly isn't all that smart? Sure seems that way to me. Wrought with scandal and at best a Ann Coulter wanna-be, I can't imagine how bad things must be in the GOP that this was really the best choice for the VP slot.

    September 4, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  3. Saad, NJ

    However awesome of a speech Palin may have delivered and however marvelous it may have sounded at the RNC, it concerns me that this is going to be our country's #2 goto person. However much I respect Senator McCain for what he has done for our country, it concerns me that he will be our country's #1 goto person. We all know who we 'were' and we all know who we 'are' – it concerns me of who we we will 'be' in coming years. It concerns me of how we will be measure in our own country as well as how we will measure in the ever more global world – especially in terms of economy and in terms of global leader and the goto country.

    September 4, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  4. Sandy

    Oh please, go do some more CLEAR EYES COMMERCIALS.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  5. Andrew Dzeguze


    Truly respect you as a renessaince man after my own heart. Loved your Comedy Central show. Can't disagree more with your view of Obama – what is experienced enough, really? Trailing around Ike for years? Really, don't you think he's pretty darn smart? Maybe not as conservative as you'd like, but whip dang smart. Like, smart enough to see the need to attack in Pakistan (predators last year, ground troops this year). Smart enough to know the GI Bill needed revamping. Smart enough to know we need to get our troops (not our interests) out of Iraq. Smart enough to know Iran has to be engaged, rather as Nixon chose to engage China even as we fought in Viet Nam. Smart enought to know that all the oil in Alaska is less valuable than getting just one major car company to push plug in hybrids or electric cars. He's a heck of a lot better than the goofy alternative.

    With warmest affection,

    Andrew Dzeguze

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  6. Sue in MI

    Ben, see the light! These two will ruin the country. We need a direction different from Bush's-you cannot think the economy is in good shape. And I can't believe you accepted her little crack about Obama wanting "rights" for terrorists. Gitmo will be open forever with innocent people not being able to get a lawyer or even know the charges against them. Not my America if this continues!

    And shame on you if you think a Harvard law graduate and a Syracuse law grad aren't smarter than someone who barely got out of Annapolis and someone with a BS in Journalism! Well, the BS is right.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  7. G

    If you need someone smart than look no further you have Obama. You can't possibly believe mccain is smarter he makes so many gaffes people forget how important they actually are to the race.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  8. IN to AZ

    And John McCain is smart?

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  9. Winkzilla

    Ben Stein, like all Republicans, are the self-appointed superior priests that determined they know how to tell everyone else how to live. Ben Stein and his likes want no government to apply any moral standards to their economic actions and they do not want to do their part for the American social good. Ben Stein and other Republicans want the government to be a mobster strong arm for their personal wealth.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  10. patrick

    Oh well too bad Mr Stein, Mccain and the Repubs are stuck with her. Should be interesting to see what happens with her drama in her home state of Alaska. As far as her attacks on Obama...Does she know how to think for herself. She said the same lines the GOP has already tried on Obama.

    Palin, atleast you could have some originality. Last but not least , you should be ashamed pandering to Hilary voters because you are a female.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    September 4, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  11. interesting

    Sexist man,

    Was this made before her speech or after?

    Get a life.

    PUMA 2008!

    September 4, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  12. KAREN

    I think every Republican was "floored"....and still are. To little too late, the damage is already done. Lessoned learn't!

    September 4, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  13. Cindy M

    It's about time a Republican revealed their true feelings about Sarah Palin.

    September 4, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  14. YYY

    Is this the way a mom talks in front of her children? Is this the way a war hero in prison imagines freedom, respect and life? Is this the way children are taught to debate? Is this the campaign about ideas and issues? Is this happening in America? The pit bull is the appropriate metaphor! Very sad.

    September 4, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  15. Samuel in Florida

    I saw her speech... and still don't think she was a good pick. I think America's preference of who could better handle national security and foriegn policy has just shifted to the left.

    September 4, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  16. Kiran




    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  17. Shirley-Ohio

    The hand that rocks to cradle is the hand the rules the world. That is who she reminds me of the way that she gave her speech tonight. She seems fake and un truthful. She allowed to GOP to destroy her image. She could have been somebody special but the attacks made her ulgy. Her story is a never ending Life Time Movie. Her speech just did her in. When Hillary attacked, she lost. She should have taken notes.

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  18. Kathy S


    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  19. Puffy

    MCSame is joke and Sarrah she's a big joke REP are all joke!!!!!
    O'Bidden 08

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  20. Jason, Los Angeles

    Finally: a Republican who's willing to say it. She's pick that could spell disaster for the United States.

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  21. MKP

    Ben, I am a Repub who was considering staying home Nov 4th; when Palin's name was put in the hat, I figured I'd at least see who she is and whether she has anything. I am so very disappointed first with McCain and even more with his running mate. I heard nothing that causes me to run to the polls to vote for McCain/Palin; rather, I will most likely vote for a Democrat for the first time in my life.

    MKP, Hawaii

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  22. Chibeardan

    I don't agree with Ben Stein's politics, but boy he nailed this one right on the head. If you didn't watch the video – watch it, it's hysterical.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  23. Shane

    I was shocked and ticked off when I fisrt heard the pick, but when I listened to her talk and what she had to say and how she said it, I was very ok with it. You go girl!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  24. Ndalio

    Clinton had little experience before he became president... Obama will seal your lips.
    History will put him as one of the best US Presidents!
    Flexible thinkers can bring people together to work for common goals.
    That's what Obama is and will do.
    What and see!

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  25. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Good evening,

    this is where I differ. In my life, I am prepare to leave and to see real change take place and not allow myself to even give room for a mistake to take place especially when you recognize that a mistake is in front of you!:)!

    In politics, people can change party affiliation depending on what the party has accomplished or not! And the lack of judgment is critical for me at not adding my name where there is evident lack of judgment. That's the real power of democracy!

    When you think about it between Biden and Pilen the choice can not be that hard...the measure of intelligence? Please! We all have our own defintion of intelligence! It takes more than intelligence in this world to move forward in a better direction...judgment, vision and wisdom!

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
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