Obama: No offense taken at Eastwood speech
September 2nd, 2012
09:37 AM ET
2 years ago

Obama: No offense taken at Eastwood speech

(CNN) – President Barack Obama said in an interview published Sunday he took no offense at Clint Eastwood's prime-time address at the Republican National Convention, in which the legendary actor and director posed questions to an empty chair, which he said represented the Democratic incumbent.

"One thing about being president or running for president - if you're easily offended, you should probably choose another profession," Obama told USA Today.

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Eastwood's speech came the same night Mitt Romney accepted the Republican presidential nomination in Tampa, Florida. The sprawling, off-the-cuff address drew criticism from some, who said Eastwood's unorthodox remarks overshadowed Romney. The Republican nominee's advisers wrote off the criticism, saying the crowd found Eastwood's remarks funny.

"He's a great messenger. The guy is an American treasure," Romney senior strategist Stuart Stevens said.

Obama agreed with that sentiment in the USA Today interview, calling Eastwood "a great actor, and an even better director."

"I think the last few movies that he's made have been terrific," the president added.

That appreciation, however, doesn't mean Democrats will try to mimic Eastwood's performance at their own confab, slated to begin in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday.

"I think we'll be playing this pretty straight," Obama said.

soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. GJGVT

    "The Republican nominee's advisers wrote off the criticism, saying the crowd found Eastwood's remarks funny." <<- from the make-up of that crowd (lily-white), they would have found a lynching funny too.

    September 2, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. sayer

    I would really like to see a professional comedian question empty suit Romney. Draft dodging? Tax Returns? Flip Flops? Money hidden in foreign countries? Magic underwear? Too much material there. It would be a riot.

    September 2, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. Proud American

    I'm proud to be represented by a person that exemplifies professionalism and diplomacy, this President is loved and respected outside the shores of America, his response to Clint Eastwoods portrayal of him is yet another example of truly being a "Commander in Chief"......

    For countrys foreign and abroad to be truly unified in it's admiration and respect for our President contrary to the way he is charactorized by the GOP/White America is indeed shameful and Unpatriotic to say the least.....

    I truly feel that White America has stooped to new lows when it comes to race relations in this country, the ethnic demographic is changing, and White America seems to be going off a cliff becuase of it......White supremacy is alive and well in America, the sad part is, it came to the surface with the election of the first African American President...!

    September 2, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. Dave

    What better occupant for an empty chair than an empty headed ideologue in an empty suit with empty ideas ?

    September 2, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Newmalthus

    No many people posting. Guess they all went to see "Obama 2016" today.

    September 2, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Mary

    Eastwood showed his true colors. Did he cry after 9/11? Did he cry when GWB started Iraq war based on WMD lie that killed over 1000 US soldiers and over 100000 Iraqi civilians? Did he cry when stock market crashed in Sep 2008 and housing bubble started? He only cries when he realizes that he may have to pay more taxes if Obama gets re-elected. I liked him before this goof and thought he was decent guy. His showing so much disrespect for the office of the presidency proved otherwise.
    His talking to empty chair means to me the empty political agenda of the teaparty in congress.

    September 2, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. SCAtheist

    See you at the stadium for your acceptance speech Mr. President.

    September 2, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. BJ

    I'm still trying to figure out the tale she told about when her and Mitt first got married living in a basement apartment living off macaroni and tuna for dinner who she think believed that crock of cow manure, and thats saying it nicely

    September 2, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Amir

    Obama will take US to another war...

    September 2, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. Dr.U

    The day after the GOP convention ended, Mitt Romney was in Louisiana, President Obama was in Texas, and Clint Eastwood had no idea where he was.

    September 2, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Rory

    I like Clint Eastwood (at least his persona as conveyed by everything I've heard through the press over the years), but I find this an interesting position for him to take. He is reported to be a big jazz fan. As a professional jazz musician, I know many hundreds of fellow musicians, and only one I can think of who supports Romney over Obama. Almost every jazz musician or fan I know, regardless of race or background, is very aware and sympathetic to the plight of African-Americans in the USA, and very forward-thinking in their politics (no illusion that the 1950's were the "good old days" in America, etc...). One only has to look at the polls to see how clearly African-Americans realize who would make the better president for the coming 4 years (and similarly, women and Hispanics realize this – it seems to be white men to whom Romney is primarily playing). The other side of this is that many very wealthy white men seem to be swayed by their preference for a party whose tax policy favors them so highly. In the case of Eastwood, I have heard that he is a fairly progressive guy on social policy (e.g. in favor of women's rights, against racism, etc...). So, it seems to me that his financial self-interest trumped his principles in his choice of candidates to support – which is a sad thing.. Of course, he still came off as more intelligent and with a better sense of humor than the others at the GOP – and of course, being the man that he is, Obama was able to laugh at it and appreciate the humor. But, I wish Eastwood were taking the high ground in his choice of candidates, as I believe he has in many other areas of his life.

    September 2, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Willard M. Romney

    I hope Jon and SNL have weeks and weeks of laughs, using the "empty chair."

    September 2, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. 2T

    Our president is gracious and does not lower himself to the level of his attackers. He fights for the middle class and our rights as citizens. Well done, Mr. President.

    September 2, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. John Smith

    As expected President Obama handled this incident with what one would expect from the the office. The GOP will stop at nothing to rattle his cage and sink to every level imaginable. Feel sorry for Eastwood, this is not what he should be remembered for, just another sleazy republican low life.

    September 2, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Be honest

    "He's a great messenger. The guy is an American treasure," Romney senior strategist Stuart Stevens said.
    You usually called someone who is REALLY old, and have done some good in their past a "great treasure", and yes, you are right, he is a great messager. Anyone who willing to kiss the republican bottom is a great messager to them. He is "tool" that's what he is! I had no idea what he was saying most of his speech. Sounds like a whining old man in the retirement home!

    September 2, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Everyman

    "One thing about being president or running for president – if you're easily offended, you should probably choose another profession," Obama told USA Today.

    Good point. Romney whines about every little thing. He'd make a terrible President.

    September 2, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Manny OD

    It's unfortunate that so many people get wrapped up on insignificant issues instead of focusing on the big picture which is private sector jobs. Which candidate will have the most success in enabling private sector jobs. Government cannot create productive jobs, but they can make it easier on the private sector to create jobs. When America is working, it also starts to solve the nations financial problems. My take on this is that President Obama has not had any meaningful success with the private sector. Politics has got in his way. I don't see how a second term is going to be any different. So let's give someone else a try...

    September 2, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Annie

    Unfortunately, Mr. Eastwood symbolizes the GOP: Old, out of touch and reliving their youth. Really pathetic.

    September 2, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. T'sah From Virginia

    Well, I will take offense on it because President Obama would never tell anyone to go "SCREW" themselves, putting it lightly, nor would he tell anyone to "shut up', which is not his nature!!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    September 2, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. Jonathan Burton

    The "Empty Chair," is a great metafor for our President as he is represented by the GOP. There really are two Obama's in the media. One is the real B.O. and he is very different than the one that the Republicans have tried to sell to the American people. One is a man of integrity, intellect and principle who has tried to work with Congress in fair and Bi-partisan manner for most of his term in office. The second Barack Obama is an illusion created by the right wing to frame him with ludicrous terms like socialist, communist, muslim, terrorist, and such. This image is as empty as the chair that sat on stage at the RNC and it blatantly false. There just may be a way to use this to the Dems advantage, as the GOP gives no impression that they have even a shred of respect for this Democratic president who is far more of a man and a leader than those who fill the seats in Congress to the right of the center aisle.

    September 2, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. Jim R

    and the $5.5 Trillion you added the $16 Trillion nation debt, 8.3% unemployment... apparently you're just laughing that off as well.

    September 2, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    BJ

    I'm still trying to figure out the tale she told about when her and Mitt first got married living in a basement apartment living off macaroni and tuna for dinner who she think believed that crock of cow manure, and thats saying it nicely
    ========================

    You really can;t blame her for trying. Too bad she wasn't better informed that those of us who really did start out with nothing generally ate Ramon Noodles or beans with rice. I know my wife and I did. Then again, we didn't live off our "stock evenue" either.

    September 2, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Kenny K

    @BJ

    I'm still trying to figure out the tale she told about when her and Mitt first got married living in a basement apartment living off macaroni and tuna for dinner who she think believed that crock of cow manure, and thats saying it nicely
    ______________________________________
    I wonder too. I thought Mitt's father was a president of a company and a presidential candidate before Romney got married? Well, her "basement living" story may be true if it is like the son of by ex-boss who lived in his parents' basement of $28 million house.

    September 2, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. Proud American

    Some on the right may take the Presidents response as a under handed critic of yours truly "Sarah Palin". I mean if you think about it, the Presidents words are somewhat descriptive of Sarah Palins inability to deal with CRITICISM...

    The irony is that CRITICISM and hyperbolic vitriol is what made SARAH PALIN who she is today, this is her specialty, but yet she cant handle it when she is the target of what she does for a living....

    September 2, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. Chedar

    I love Obama. You are one classy president. I salute you sir!

    September 2, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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