July 28th, 2008
10:38 AM ET

Politics: Bueller? Bueller?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/07/27/preston.mccain/art.stein.cnn.jpg caption="Ben Stein tells CNN's Mark Preston that John McCain is running the "most pathetic campaign" he's ever seen."]

Mark Preston
CNN Political Editor

Ben Stein says he knows how Sen. John McCain can win in November: Karl Rove.
That's right, that Karl Rove.

At a time when McCain is seeking to distance himself from President Bush, Stein argues McCain needs to enlist Bush's chief political guru in order to defeat Sen. Barack Obama.

"I don't discount the possibility that some really smart person at the McCain campaign might go over to Karl Rove, and say 'We will offer you all the kingdoms of the world if you will come and guide our campaign,' " a hopeful-sounding Stein said in a recent interview, during which he also discussed Al Franken's Senate bid and his thoughts on a sequel to the 1986 box office smash "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," which launched Stein's film career.

Stein is not unlike many Hollywood types in that he speaks his mind when it comes to politics. But what separates him from the pack is his professional background and party affiliation.


Filed under: Raw Politics
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. N. Shele

    Rove would be just great, MCcain can't get any more crooked than he already is. This is utterly ridiculous, and apparently, his lies, and incompetence, is just what his supporters want out of him. On a daily basis, I watch, what appears to be well educated, articulate people, talk right past the trash McCain puts on the world stage for us to rumage thru, and the worst part is that most don't even realize, it stinks.

    McCain has the nerve to use injured troops as a fighting point?
    Just look at McCains voting record, McCain voted against at least 5, diffrent issues, that would represent a much stronger support of our troops, than a visit from Barack...and this is his plan of attack?

    Wake up! K. Please. Thanx.

    As for his campaign, I encourage him to do what it takes to win. He is running a great race, just not the type of person I would want to run the White House

    The only thing I hope, is that there are more logical, honest, respectful, decent, voters in the US, than not, If so, its a clear win for Obama. Show your intellect.

    Go Obama! Ms. N. Shele

    July 29, 2008 at 2:49 am |
  2. J.V.hodgson

    Karl Rove is the epitomy of the Bush style of government and politics.
    If Mccain "publicly recruits" him ( I think he is being advised by him already) that would damage Mccain in the popular vote.

    July 29, 2008 at 2:42 am |
  3. GAIL Centre,Al;

    The democrates need to get this right,we'll have to see at the DNC.
    Hillary has 18 million voters, If she's not nominated at the convention, or on the ticket, they can kiss the whitehouse goodbye. Mccain will be the next president. I'm like Mr. Cole ALL ROADS LEAD TO BILL AND HILLARY. DON'T EVER UNDERESTIAMATE A CLINTON.

    July 29, 2008 at 12:45 am |
  4. Trasa, Texas

    There's no doubt McCain campaign needs help, but from who, I don't know. True, Rove worked wonders for Bush, but considering he's trying not to be a 3rd term Bush, if he uses Rove in some form of fashion it won't look good. But once again, I have felt his campaign lacking and needs some juice to pull voters in, although I won't be voting for him, but still those who are undecided, he needs to get to work.

    July 29, 2008 at 12:42 am |
  5. GAIL Centre,Al;

    Mr. Cole I agree with you, without the Clintons, OBAMA IS HISTORY HE'LL LOSE ALL THE SOUTHERN RED STATES TO MCCAIN. By the way, where are the Clintons, everything is to quiet, I quess we'll have to wait till the convention. IT'S TOO QUIET, SOMETHING'S UP.

    July 29, 2008 at 12:30 am |
  6. jake Utah

    I think the very talented, smart, and funny Mr. Stein is correct. Karl was smart enough to get the most incompetent president of my six decade lifetime, and arguably ever, elected. He ought to be able to get an old, middle of the pack journeyman senator elected.

    Oh, except that Karl and the his crowd put us into a foolish war, took us off track from attacking our real enemies, and, in so doing, may have brought about the next great depression. That just might make it a little harder. But you never know. Trick us once, shame on you. Trick us twice, shame on us.

    July 29, 2008 at 12:20 am |
  7. JC- Los Angeles

    Ari, with all due respect, spend a little more time in the public sector where you can learn about reality, rather than waxing poetic about some convoluted drivel you absorbed on an ivy league, leagcy influenced campus.

    You didn't need to put the year you graudated on your post, your prose showed us you are a neophyte and not surprisingly, a McCain supporter.

    You "my friend" are symptomatic of why McCain trails by such a vast margin; since you have limited experience and are greener than ivy, you have no idea what issues are of paramount concern to today's hard working Americans.

    I am one of the undecided voters that you, in your infinite wisdom, claims will vote for McCain; stunning to say the least.

    I approach all situations and people with an open mind; although I have deep suspicions about Obama, I can't point to one single reason why McCain has earned my vote.

    There's still time Ari.

    July 28, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  8. Alex

    As a Republican, I believe our nation had enough of Karl Rove. Rove and his crew have done enough damage to this nation for an entire lifetime. No question McCain's campaign is a miserable attempt, but there are plenty of people out there who could correct many flaws that exist in the McCain campaign. Overall however, this situation could be an example of McCain ability (or inability) to lead and gives me great concern for this and other issues and could easily prevent me from pulling the lever for McCain. To be sure, that doesn't mean I'd vote for the Obama because that ain't gonna happen regardless.

    July 28, 2008 at 11:31 pm |
  9. Dwight in San Bernardino, CA

    I think McCain learned to lie from G.W. Bush!

    July 28, 2008 at 8:23 pm |
  10. Dwight in San Bernardino, CA

    There are already enough dishonest people in the GOP. McCain diesn't need Karl.
    As a combat veteran myself, eight years ago I had so much respect for John McCain, but after hearing him bashing Obama, having to use so many liesto do it over and over again, especially after saying he was going to run a clean campaign, not only makes me sick, but except for his military service as a POW, I have lost all respect for him. Shame on you, McCain!

    July 28, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  11. penny

    "McCain should stop stalking Obama, right now' he is acting like an "out of touch Vietnam veteran". He could go back to his old job as a POW, and be happy about his generation of the "60's"!!!!!! He is an old man.

    July 28, 2008 at 8:12 pm |
  12. Ari Cole

    Dear Readers,

    I know my former Harvard professor, David Gergen, usually agrees with Ben Stein. But, I must disagree with Ben Stein on Karl Rove.....

    Karl is brillant. But with all the Congressional jocking over hearings and all plus threats on arrest, Karl is a HOT POTATO. Oy vey.

    Senator McCain has a nice strategy already based on the Electoral College map- it could be re-invigorated with newer folks albeit colleagues.

    It appears that Senator Obama may be poised to win a slim Popular vote but lose the election based on the GOP Electoral College mapping and ownership of the RED Southern States. Fimiliar to Gore' defeat???

    Obama will lose almost ALL if not ALL the Southern RED States to Senator McCain along with PA. OH and MI (with or without fmr Gov. Mitt).

    The Electoral College map is the one to watch. The South is Locked in McCain's Corner for sure (Rep Ford learned this this clearly in TN), and Obama's only real chance at winning Any of the South from McCain will mean adding Hilliary (& Bill- the ComeBack Kid) to the Blue Ticket....All Roads lead to Bill & Hilliary...

    Furthermore, there are so many undecided folks at this point: Today's CNN Polls compliations: Obama 45%, McCain 39% with ~15 % undecided. Most are being polite but will definitely go to McCain...Come on Folks...Snap out of it! Just calling a Spade a Spade!

    I do believe Senator McCain will be the next US President, unless the Comback kids can set up a Obama-Clinton upset of Team McCain...

    But, I could be wrong....Ben Karl isn't needed by McCain.....Ben Stein, Hilliary is needed by Team Obama....Focus Focus Focus...

    But I could be wrong & ShALOHA,

    Ari Cole
    Harvard University -Kennedy School of Government Alumnus '08
    Team McCain in NH & SC

    July 28, 2008 at 8:08 pm |
  13. Cynthia

    Someone needs to hire Karl Rove to go before the Congressional delegation and testify. Senator McCain supposedly runs the Straight Talk Express and it is already dangerously teetering and will be in the gutter with the addition of Rove.

    July 28, 2008 at 8:05 pm |
  14. lampe

    McCain's campaign doesn't need all the glitz and show-boating that The Obama campaign seems so set on having for him. McCain is a man of his word, and come Nov. people will see who that the only way to vote is for him. Obama, is all about the show,Hell he wouldn't even visit with injured soliders on his vacation, Why you may ask? Because he couldn't get any television time. What does that really tell you, maybe that he's a big FAKE. McCain is THE REAL DEAL, and he needs no help from ROVE.

    July 28, 2008 at 7:58 pm |
  15. Charles L . Morse Sr

    Obama is a classic Social Path . Please don't believe me . Ask a expert . They will tell you the same .

    July 28, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  16. Larry

    Dunno why the media still bothers covering McCain, he hasn't got a hope in heck of winning.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  17. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    Karl Rove is a monster...........but from a competitive standpoint I would have to agree..............McCain's campaign is lackluster at best. Rove does know politics.......he is a crook, but he knows politics. As a supporter of Obama I don't want Rove on McCain's side...........But, Rove may not even have the chance. He has screwed up royally and will be in jail shortly after Bush leaves. Adding Rove to McCains campaign would only bring controversy. Add Cheney and it would mean defeat for McCain.

    July 28, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  18. Mike P

    How could Rove be called great when all he did was manipulate the public with fear. That's not a great person. In their play book, he himself would be branded a terrorist or a WMD. Give me a break, stop kissing up to this guy.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  19. Lesley

    Well, Ben Stein appeared as a commentator on one of the cable news shows over the weekend and said that he is in favor of taxing the rich. I don't think that would go over well with the Repubs. When he was asked about that comment, that it didn't fit with McCain's policies, he said I don't work for John McCain, and I just tell the truth.

    July 28, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  20. Dee

    Great let him hire Karl Rove. There is no way that McCain will have a
    chance to win. Karl Rove to me is a very sneaky politician. I feel he has lied numerous times. So come on hire him.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  21. JC- Los Angeles

    Although I agree with Ben Stein that Rove would benefit the hapless McCain campaign, the mere thought of living through 4-8 more years of yet another pathetic Rove disciple would be unfathomable.

    After eight horrid years of the first Rove experiment, it should be deemed criminal to expose the American public to round two.

    It's true that Rove is quite the architect, but one only has to take a look at how he lays the foundation to become flabbergasted:

    Bush, Cheney, Rummey, Rice, Brownie, Wolfowitz, Greenspan, Gonzales, Ebbers, Lay, Rigas, Prince, O'Neil, Mozillo, Cayne, Wall Street, Mortgage banks, federal reserve, gas, oil; enough is enough.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  22. Norah, West Chester, PA

    Luke...come to the Dark Side.

    McCain could no longer claim to be at all different from Bush if he (officially) used Rove (which is already pretty hard for him to claim given how often he has voted the party line).

    Rove used fear of gays and lesbians for his hate-filled get-out-the-vote campaign last time around. Hmm... one can only wonder how he would run a race against the first (half-) black candidate.

    July 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  23. Kim in NY

    Yeah – that's what McCain needs.... Some one as lively as Ben Stein to say he needs to liven up the campaign. Now that's the pot calling the kettle black....

    July 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  24. nerakami, Miami

    That's all they know... dirty, despicable, negative, attack style politics. McSame like you Ben have not caught on to the fact that most Americans will no longer accept this type of behavior from a Potential leader of our country. We don't accept such deceitful behavior in our everyday lives why then should we tolerate it from our leaders.

    It is a sick joke to think that they need a criminal to get the Republican campaign back on track. What does that say about the party?

    July 28, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  25. Teresa, OH

    I'm sure I must be wrong but if I wanted to sink McCains campaign, I would mention the name Rove in association with it.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  26. Susan


    I would have to agree that Senator John McCain is running a lackluster champaign and his message 's have been getting lost in the process.

    I have a lot of respect for Ben Stein's wisdom and all of his accomplishments, however I do not agree that Senator McCain should seek out the advise of Karl Rove. Senator McCain has tried to distance himself from the current administration and any appearance of contact would be counter productive.


    July 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  27. Mindy Chatsworth, Ca.

    I guess Stein is desperate even this early in the game, if he is already calling on McCain to get help from the expert in slash and burn politics. Or maybe Rove can find a way to inject gay marriage into the campaign again, as he did successfully in 2004. There's nothing like fear and playing on people's basest fears when it comes to Republicans stooping to any level to win a presidential campaign.

    Since the Republicans don't have any real accomplishments to run on after eight horrendous years of the Bush administration, I assume that Karl Rove would be just the solution to their dilemma of how to fool the American people into electing them again. Hopefully, the American public has learned their lession and will turn a deaf ear to the repugnant and vitriolic tactics of Rove and company.

    July 28, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  28. Michelle Fonthill Ont,Canada

    Another of George Bush's advisers at John McCain's right hand.This is not the most logical choice considering McCain's claiming he's not George Bush part deux!
    Ben Stien should be Vp !
    Stein ?, Stein ,anyone,anyone?

    July 28, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  29. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Is there any proof McCain isn't using Karl Rove, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? It is clear to me that McCain uses other people to speak for him except when it comes to the Iraq war. Just like reporters have been embedded with troops, Karl Rove and the rest of those criminals are embedded with McCain. Don't be fooled.

    July 28, 2008 at 1:35 pm |
  30. Annie Kate

    I'm impressed with Stein's credentials – but I hope that McCain won't take his advice on Karl Rove – 8 years of Rove was too much already.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 28, 2008 at 11:08 am |
  31. Cindy

    I totally agree with Ben. McCain has run a very lackluster campaign and needs some major help! While I don't care for Rove I do think that he would put some juice back into McCain and help him out a lot.

    Maybe McCain ought to hire Ben to help him!! He really knows his stuff! Hey...he needs to stop giving out advice for free!LOL


    July 28, 2008 at 11:04 am |
  32. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    lol. That’s perfect; John McCain can hire crooked Karl Rove to boost his campaign. McCain’s campaign will no longer put America to sleep but instead use every unethical and illegal trick in Roves playbook to win. lol.

    July 28, 2008 at 10:52 am |