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. KC

    Well I'm floored too Ben. She had a pretty speech tonight but I'm mad as heck, I was looking to McCain for tough experienced judgement. Sorry but I don't care how neat her speeches are, our county is at war!!! Do we want to test her aginst Putin!!!! Sorry I am getting older and I hope wiser, I do not want to hear any more about "War", Victory at all costs, make no acceptions. The death toll for Iraq is what around 10k? (including alied troops, lets not forget them) and how many thousands of Iraqis? Sorry I'm done we need another soultion.

    September 4, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  2. Obama 08: 60, white, female.

    People want someone who believes in them, has their best interests at heart and has the judgement, integrity and intelligence to get it done. That sure isn't John McCain!

    September 4, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  3. Todd for McCain

    Now Ben knows why Palin was selected. She is awesome.

    September 4, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  4. Independent Observer

    Today is the day I decided to vote democrat.

    At least their convention was not about wars and insults but the ECONOMY!!

    September 4, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  5. Tom Soppe

    This is the guy who compares people who believe in evolution to Nazis. So I guess it is unsurprising he likes the theocratic, book-banning Palin.

    September 4, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  6. JolleeDemocrat

    I am so excited about this ticket, I truly dont believe the last time I felt so energized by an election. I am a Democrat, female, 44 years old.

    I am pro-choice but respect people's pro-life stance. I even find myself being more toward pro-life just becuase I am a proud mother and just recently a proud grandmother.

    I like Sara Palin, she has more experience in Public office at city councel level, mayor level and Governership of the Oil rich state of Alaska.

    She has more experience then any of the running candidates. I like the fact that she is a reformer and fights corruptive government. She is also well verced in the oil industry, they know not to mess with her! I am voting for the Maverick who selected this great VP.

    #1. Go John McCain, we love you, from Anaheim, California

    September 4, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  7. Tom Soppe

    Oh, he doesn't like her... headline is confusing. That is surprising. They are as nuts as each other after all.

    September 4, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  8. Bob

    This is a rerun of the Harriet Miers Bush supreme court nomination!

    I can't believe the RNC would try to do an end run around competence just to execute a political ploy. It didn't work for Bush, and I can't fathom how it will work for McCain (all for the sake of keeping the religious extremists in tow).

    Not only have the Republicans abandoned their claim as the party of fiscal responsibility AND as the party who can execute a war, they have also thrown out any semblance of having someone who is running their party/campaign with the slightest iota of intelligence.

    In my book, this means that the Republican Party has nothing left but its own delusions of what they once were - hence, the fear-peddling.

    The best thing that can happen to the RNC is utter defeat, so that the Ben Steins of the Party can take back ownership of it from the NeoCons and the Religious nut-cases, and start the arduous process of rebuilding the party.

    As for running this country and restoring our constitution, give me a constitutional law professor over an oil-tainted rookie governor any day!

    September 4, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  9. SmallTownMama4Obama

    Poor Ben.
    Go ahead, vote for them. For the man who said "I don't know as much about the economy as I should"!!
    Who's going to help him on that issue, Gov. of the Reindeer???
    Who left her mayorship with her village $22 million in DEBT??
    Who'd probably fight to deny safe abortion to a 12 year old who got a gorilla.
    Yeah, it's definitely over.

    September 4, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  10. Henry

    Smart? We've just had the dumbest president on the planet for 8 years and Ben Stein wants to say Barack isn't smart? Hello, what planet is he on, and trust me McCain and Sarah are no geniuses.

    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  11. Sonny, CA

    Isn't Obama's a constitutional lawyer?

    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  12. John

    I'm realy sick of those who say McCain should have picked someone with more expierience. They ask repetively, "What would happen if something God forbid should happen to John McCain"? I ask, What would Barack Obama do if something happens, God forbid to Joe Biden? The liberal are doing thier best to belittle Sarah Palin's accomplishments.

    September 4, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  13. Len Albuq New Mexico

    Look Ben, Don't be dismayed. The truth is that Sarah Palin was not John McCains first or second pick, and possibly not even his third choice. He asked another woman and a man to be his running mate but they declined. I guess not all Republicans are stupid, greedy, and power hungry. I guess Sarah will soon find out that the joke is on her. Also Ben, the Republicans could'nt win the election if they dug up Ronald Reagan and reincarnated him.

    September 4, 2008 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  14. Democrat Abroad looking for GOP beef

    I'll take Ben's money, because he's a celeb and can afford to. Now Palin is a celeberty, because no one knew her before last week. Speaking of celebs, how much plastic surgery did you see out there when panning those geriatric, tanned, well-quaffed heads?

    September 4, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  15. Northwest Washington

    Ben, you are right. She is fantastic! She needs to be the Presidential nominee and replace McCain. You go girl. Palin, Palin, Palin, Palin! Everybody....Palin, Palin, Palin. McCain for VP!!!!

    September 4, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  16. UrbanBlog

    THANK YOU.....
    At last a conservative not afraid to admit the choice is madness.

    Obama lead grows...
    Forget what you read in the polls.
    Times have changed, pollsters can only reach people that have LAND LINES, if you use voice over IP, or have just cell service- YOU CAN NOT BE CALLED . There are millions of Americans that are now off limts to the pollsters- they cant SEE YOU.
    And it is the young voters that are using those services in the largest numbers. OBAMA VOTERS!

    September 4, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  17. Miguel G

    He's just saying what a lot of Republicans are thinking. McCain could have made a much, much better choice than he did. There are dozens of more qualified people McCain could have chosen, but he went with a gimmick, and it's going to cost the Republican party in the long run.

    September 4, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  18. Taylor


    Yes! Ben Stien must be the stupid one. After all, he can put together sentences with punctuation, form an informed opinion. He can even spell things right!

    Yes, what an idiot. Now he is a Republican, but we can just go around calling all Republicans stupid.

    It's not like they put the economy in the toilet or anything.

    September 4, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  19. Doris, Memphis,TN

    Ben, America is floored. When people in high places are incompetent
    they fight by being nasty and arrogant. This is a good cover.

    September 4, 2008 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  20. willcnnapprovethis?

    Even Ben Stein gets it!

    When Ben Stein says something that intelligent, I'm Pretty sure the apocalypse is on it's way!

    September 4, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  21. Jon Freibourn

    Obama has a lifetime of experience overcoming challenges these guys will never understand, and worse they foolishly underestimate. Debate the details of it all you want, but it's summed up for all to see in his acceptance speech. I don't know, but the guy had enough experience to draw in 80,000 people clamoring for a better tomorrow. One more experience these guys will never know and never understand.

    I want fiscal responsibility. I want business growth at home. I want investment in our country, not foreign deserts. I should be a Republican, they sacrificed these values on the cross a long time ago, proving to be worse than the scary bedtime stories they tell about Democrats.

    September 4, 2008 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  22. Aaron

    Ben Stein is one of the only Republicans left who refuses to talk from the play book. (See the recent live mic incident for proof of the disconnect between true opinion and spin.) I may disagree with him about what our country needs, but that integrity makes his good opinion worth earning.

    And mech, try a spelling and grammar check before you fire off a post in which you call someone stupid.

    September 4, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  23. SHUT UP STEIN!!!

    Well, let's see, Obama, Biden and Stein are all lawyers. Obama and Biden though are both successful U.S. Senators and Stein = A Speech Writer? Now who here is not smart enough? Palin has a B.S. in journalism and 20 months as governor of Alaska and you are comfortable with her level of experience? It sounds like you are jealous Ben Stein. Go back to acting and writing your little speeches and leave the next president and vice president alone.

    September 4, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  24. slim Seattle, Wa

    Ben, your not smart. Your slow, you talk slow and you look slow. Ben you need Visine drop in your eye.

    September 4, 2008 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  25. D.

    I'm surprised in a way that Stein doesn't support her, as his support for Intelligent Design ought to make him sympathetic to her Young Earth Creationist stance, but on the other hand, I guess if Ben Stein, who thinks still that Nixon was a great man, also thinks that McCain made a lousy political decision, that means McCain is REALLY in trouble.

    September 4, 2008 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
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