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. Keith

    When Walter Cronkeit came out against the Vietnam War, Nixon knew it was time to throw in the towel. To paraphrase a GREAT Republican president (the OTHER GOP prez they don't mention) we can now say..."We've lost Ben's over."

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  2. QG

    Biden is going to make her look sooooo bad!

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  3. michele

    this is one divised covention. this women insult all the community organisation. she under investagation. mcain sure lose my vote because of his bitterness convention.

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  4. No Hillary = No Obama

    There's sexism in that there statement.

    September 4, 2008 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  5. Johnny

    as a diehard replublican, Mr Stein will probably never really vote for Obama.

    Its nice to be "floored", but he will vote part lines.. its just going to take him another 60 days to convince him to be united...

    too bad he cannot open his eyes, like the 50% (gallop polls) of Americans who think Obama is the Better choice.

    September 4, 2008 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  6. Anonymous

    wonder if he was still confused after her speech?

    September 4, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  7. Marty

    Ben, Ben, Ben. Please, stick to comedy and game shows.

    September 4, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  8. Linda Evans

    I'm tired of Campbell Brown and Gloria B. trying to make Sarah Palin a gender issue when they should be telling the American people about the issues that the Alaska Governor stands for. Look, Campbell and Gloria, you cannot have it both ways. If Sarah Palin is running for VP of one of the most complex countries in the world, she can't hide behind the female card when it's convenient just because the two of you are women. I'm a woman whose tough and so is Sarah Palin. So get off of the gender issue and let the woman be who she is.

    September 4, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  9. Maria

    Oh, Ben.... I like your movie so much..... but take the high road and leave McCain in the dust. If you are confused and disturbed, you have got to realize with John and Sarah, there will only be more fog!

    September 4, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  10. Annette, Washington, DC

    Excuse me Stein, Obama is extremely intelligent and brilliant and its that intelligence that we have missed in the White House especially in the last 8 years. You don't become a Harvard Law Review president by being stupid, Mr. Stein let's be clear what experience did George W Bush have before being nominated??? What experience does McCain have now??? What experience did Bill Clinton have before being nominated??

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  11. PAT RIOT

    You wrote for Nixon Ben. I think shes slightly more appealing and principled.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  12. Ben

    A Republican that speaks his own opinions???

    I am impressed.

    September 4, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  13. TK

    Well, I am sure, as former speech writer he's in a unique position to tell us who's smart and who's dumb.

    September 4, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  14. Oh Come On!

    I've had a lot of respect for you Mr. Stein. However, I cannot say I agree with you here. Karl Rove has some serious explaining to do. I wish you'd tell your friend to come clean then maybe we could get to know the 'real' Karl Rove...the lovable nerd as you so fondly dub him in this article. And no we are not in a psychological recession when milk is resting around $4.00 a gallon. No we are not in a psychological recession when the food pantries have hundreds of people lining up every day because they have produce that these people cannot afford to buy at the store. No we are not in a psychological recession when so many do not have health care and gas sits at $4.00 a gallon or higher. No we are not in a psychological recession when for the first time in our history a school district has lost its accreditation, and the graduation levels are so low in the big cities because a lot of kids are having to work to help support their families. (Ask some real people what the economy is like..come to Anchorage and see the homeless problem that isn't because of people that like to camp..especially the families with children. Check out all that before you tell us what your "numbers" tell you. Yes the trains are full..because people have to get to work..sometimes two or three times a day. Yes the stores are full, because people still have to eat. The high end shops are full of people that have credit cards and that get paid more than $50,000 a year for their wages. You have no clue how the rest of us live. I don't have a car..I have two kids one of which needs constant medical care as he is diabetic. Because of the Conservative views my son will probably never get a new pancreas because they don't want to use live stem cells to create my son one..if we want that done we have to take him to China, or Russia or India, or even Mexico. Pretty bad when one of the most conservative Roman Catholic countries has a tendency to be more liberal with its politics than here. What ever happened to letting people decide for themselves instead of having to be called names for agreeing with a more liberal view point. Sarah was disrespectful to Barack Obama tonight. She has a lot of nerve saying she has responsibility when she has only been governor of this state for a little less than two years. She has help you know..she doesn't do it alone. She maybe cute as a pixie but she's all fluff and no substance and I hope people are smart enough to see that in November. Barack Obama picked the best VP candidate and made sure that his experience is solidified by having an excellant right hand man..and oh..Biden is smart enough...just because he doesn't drone when he talks doesn't mean he's not smart enough.

    September 4, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  15. Fair Game Now

    I totally agree!

    September 4, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  16. mech126l

    sorry ben you are a lier and stupid to boot you just don't get it and never will sorry and sad that a smart man can be so wrong

    September 4, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  17. Rob

    Emperor Caligula is said to have wanted his favorite horse to be elected a member of the Roman Senate. He would have succeeded if only Giuliani could have sold the idea to the people of Rome. Relative to the confines of its stable, the horse arguably had more executive experience, more responsibilities, more labor, and less time and money to waste, than all other senators combined in the world at large.

    September 4, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  18. BK

    When Solidad O'Brian played it back today she only played the part about Gov. Palin. Biased?

    September 4, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  19. mar

    McCain isn't smart enough but you will take him because he's a rep,
    sounds logical to me

    September 4, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  20. unamerican

    The world needs more Bens, instead of fake yes men. Ben, I may not agree with 99% of your ideals, but you can officially hang out with me as long as nobody sees us. Speak your mind more often.

    September 4, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  21. Shelley

    How would Palin run the White House as VP if she cannot run her own house of seven? Mom and teenage daughter pregnant at the same time. Where is her moral values? What is she going to teach young americans about raising a functional family?
    Ha, Ha!! The White House is getting ready to be lead by a senior citizen who is in the first stages of Alzheimer's disease. John McCain has problems with his short term memory: Obama lacking experience, war in Iraq, the economy, gas prices. Yeh, he knows the entire story about the war he fought-yes, that's his long term memory. That's all they talk about in nursing homes-things that happened decades ago.

    September 4, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  22. Carl from MI

    Ben Stein, a rare and beautiful thing! Direct honesty from a Republican! How many others were willing to bite their tongues and speak the talking points memo they received instead? Obviously, THE REST OF THEM!!!

    Ben... I may not always agree with you... but today I take my hat off to you and give you the respect an honest man has truly earned. Kudos!!


    September 4, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  23. Jared

    Well said Ben. I have to admit that the slection of Palin peeked my interest in the election though. I had been hearing a buzz about her for the last year or so. I look forward to hearing more from and about her. And on a side note, your movie was great!

    September 4, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  24. Nick

    Did he also write "I'm not a crook" for Nixon?

    Just asking!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 4, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  25. Independentandlovingit

    How about McCain the Adulterer, who's been on just about every VA/Arms Committee for the Last 26 year, but continues to vote against those GI's and Veterans he supposedly supports. Please check the record before writing.
    ALSO, He/Bush sent me and my fellow Brother/Sister in arms into a War that was over in 2003 (Regime Change) Taking us away from the true Mission of getting Osama Bin Ladden, and has us in a Civil War that we started off poorly equiped (ARMOREDHUMVEES/Body Armor) for the first 3 years. Please... Besides how do you Win a Civil War you don't belong to??..Hot Mic..Hot Mic..anyone....

    September 4, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
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