ABC News’ Lindsey Ellerson and Nitya Venkataraman Report: Political commentator and actor Ben Stein, in a starring role this week as one of the Republican National Convention’s biggest celebrities, told ABC News he has his concerns about Sen. John McCain’s, R-Ariz., vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but hopes it "works out for him."
Stein, a former speechwriter in the Nixon and Ford administrations, expressed doubt over McCain’s VP curveball. "I don’t know if she scares Obama, but she scares me — and I hope I turn out to be totally wrong — but right now, she’s scaring me. He has chosen a very oddball, strange choice and, God bless him, I hope it works out for him.
"What if he wins the election and passes into eternity and she becomes president?" wondered Stein. "I think it’s quite possible that he’ll win the election. Whether or not we will be happy if he passes into eternity and she becomes president is a very big question."
Despite Stein’s strong reaction to Palin, he did give her some credit, saying she has "some credentials," just not enough "familiarity with national policy."
Stein may have had Minnesota Gov. and former McCain VP contender Tim Pawlenty on his mind in another reference to Palin when he stated that Palin was "like 52 to pickup, where you just toss a deck of cards up in the air and somebody has to pick them all up. Now the Republicans have to pick them all up, and Mr. McCain basically threw it all up in the air by picking Sarah Pawlenty, now we’ve got to pick it all up again," Stein said.
Given the busy and newsy week in presidential politics, Stein says being a celebrity at the convention feels like, "everything has been turned upside down."
"Movie stars are not stars," Stein said. "Movie stars are paper mache stars. The real stars are in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The real stars are giving their hearts’ blood to defend this country and to suppress the terrorism."
Stein also doled out some advice for Palin in advance of her speech to the RNC Wednesday evening, suggesting she be declarative and stay true to her basic conservative values.
"Look here, I am Sarah Palin from Sandpoint, Idaho, I’m not from Harvard, I’m not from Yale, I’m not from Wellesley, I buy my clothes at Wal-Mart … I don’t have a cook, I don’t have a chauffeur, I don’t have an image consultant … I don’t have a maid, I clean up the house myself … But, I know what’s right and what’s wrong," Stein offered.
Stein recently wrote "How to Ruin the United States of America," with friend Phil DeMuth. The bottom line, he says, is "it’s great being in America."