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August 21, 2014

Ben Stein: An Inauguration Veteran

Ben Stein: An Inauguration Veteran

(Kris Connor/Getty Images)

D.C. native and pundit Ben Stein is no stranger to the ways of Washington.

The now-columnist cut his teeth in the communications game by helping craft the messaging operations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. But his fascination with politics can be traced back even further.

“I was at President [Dwight D.] Eisenhower’s 1953 inauguration,” he said of the special father-son outing he experienced as a youth. “Just drove down here, parked a couple of blocks away and he held me on his shoulders while we watched President Eisenhower drive by.”

Stein was also on hand at President John F. Kennedy’s swearing-in in 1961 — a historic event indelibly etched into his memory not just for the substance but also for the extreme circumstances.

“Oh god, it was so cold. It was just f—— freezing,” he recalled just as another blustery day began to nip at the extremities of those gathered for President Barack Obama’s second biggest day.

Stein has, from time to time, given himself completely over to the inauguration hoopla, signing on to host multiple balls during the 2001 and 2005 cycles. This time, he said he would honor the troops by heading to the official Commander In Chief ball. And he wanted to get there in time to indulge later in another special treat.

“If all goes well, we’re going to see a late showing of ‘Skyfall,’ my favorite movie ever of all time,” he told HOH. According to Stein, the latest installment of the James Bond franchise is “the best movie since ‘Blade Runner.’”

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