Eastwood breaks silence: Obama a 'hoax' on American people
September 7th, 2012
11:25 AM ET
2 years ago

Eastwood breaks silence: Obama a 'hoax' on American people

(CNN) - In his first public statements since his rambling, improvised remarks at last week's Republican National Convention, Clint Eastwood told a California newspaper that Mitt Romney's campaign wasn't able to approve his speech, since he wasn't sure what he was going to say until he walked out on stage.

"They vet most of the people, but I told them, 'You can't do that with me, because I don't know what I'm going to say,'" Eastwood told the Carmel Pine Cone. Eastwood served as the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea in the 1980s.

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Eastwood said ahead of his speech, the only guidance he could offer Romney's campaign was "to reassure them that everything I would say would be nice about Mitt Romney."

During Eastwood's remarks, delivered directly ahead of Sen. Marco Rubio's introduction of Romney on the final night of the GOP convention, the legendary actor and director addressed an empty chair that he said represented President Barack Obama.

At times, Eastwood sent the crowd into laughing fits when he pretended Obama was offering colorful objections.

"What do you want me to tell Romney?" Eastwood asked the empty chair. "I can't tell him to do that to himself ... you're getting as bad as Biden ... of course we all know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party. Kind of a grin with a body behind it ..."

In the interview published online Friday, Eastwood said the chair was a last-minute decision made backstage.

"There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down," Eastwood said, according to the newspaper. "When I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea. I'll just put the stool out there and I'll talk to Mr. Obama and ask him why he didn't keep all of the promises he made to everybody."

The intention of his speech, Eastwood said, was threefold.

"That not everybody in Hollywood is on the left, that Obama has broken a lot of the promises he made when he took office, and that the people should feel free to get rid of any politician who's not doing a good job," he told the Carmel Pine Cone.

"President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," Eastwood continued. "Romney and Ryan would do a much better job running the country, and that's what everybody needs to know. I may have irritated a lot of the lefties, but I was aiming for people in the middle."

"But I didn't make up my mind exactly what I was going to say until I said it," he said.

That much seemed clear during his remarks, which were not delivered using a teleprompter and at times seemed to ramble in multiple directions.

Reaction to Eastwood's remarks was mixed but discussion of #eastwooding immediately went viral on the internet. While many observers said he overshadowed Romney's acceptance speech later than event, Romney's campaign said his remarks were "a break from all the political speeches."

"Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn't work," a Romney campaign aide said shortly after the speech.

Eastwood himself gave a similar assessment in the interview.

"They've got this crazy actor who's 82 years old up there in a suit," he said. "I was a mayor, and they're probably thinking I know how to give a speech, but even when I was mayor I never gave speeches. I gave talks."

"It was supposed to be a contrast with all the scripted speeches, because I'm Joe Citizen," Eastwood added. "I'm a movie maker, but I have the same feelings as the average guy out there."

CNN's Jim Acosta, Halimah Abdullah and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

soundoff (777 Responses)
  1. Jeff in Oregon

    Foolish man in front of a foolish crowd. Is this really the best gop has? Pathetic.

    September 7, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Veet

    Just the fact that CLINT used the term LEFTIES tells me all I need to know a bout him and his BILLION dollar BANK balance he knows as much about middle class as I KNOW HOW TO MAKE A OSCAR WINNING MOVIE !~ I DON'T !

    September 7, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. johhnystop

    I'll still vote for Obama. Thank you Mr. Eastwood for everything else!

    September 7, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. ohgran

    True colors were shown during and following the Clint Eastwood debacle. Respect is ony something the GOP expects when they are at the receiving end but cannot return it to others. "Do as I say not as I do" is there motto.

    September 7, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Mr. Eastwood: I love most of your movies. You're 'speech' was an embarrassment however. Take your lumps and move on. That's what Dirty Harry would do.

    September 7, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Bud Williams

    Clint spoke from the heart. Obama is the biggest Hoax of a President I have ever seen.

    September 7, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. PJ

    " the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"??????????????
    ********
    I walked away still liking this guy after the first speech. now I walk away in disgust. Not that Eastwood gives a
    Hoover's Dam.

    September 7, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Bill from GA

    Clint, as a Western tough-guy, you couldn't carry John Wayne's saddle.

    As a director, I once had respect for you.

    As a political commentator, you're hopeless.

    September 7, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Get_Real

    Clint Eastwood pointed out the truth that Obama is a hoax. I guess truth hurts.

    September 7, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Deardie in Texas

    He has the right to his opinion, and we have the right to disagree. I don't see what the problem is. (though I am a little disappointed that he feels the way he does)

    September 7, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Jim in PA

    With all due respect, Mr. Eastwood, I think that history will show that the Iraq War was the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. To date, anyway...

    September 7, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Dan from Tx

    " not everybody in Hollywood is on the left "
    No, but some were left long ago...

    September 7, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. Jack

    This is why actors shouldn't write their own lines. This is why there are screenwriters.

    September 7, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Johnny B

    "President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," Eastwood continued.

    Really...the GREATEST hoax...like...oh, I dont know, the Weapons of Mass Destruction that were all over Iraq? When rich people start waxing philosophic about the plight of the poor and middle class and actually try to make the them look like they care, THAT is the real hoax. All this coming from a man who thought he could sing in the 80's.

    September 7, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Romney is not My Hero

    "But I didn't make up my mind exactly what I was going to say until I said it," - Yep, this statement alone should have made Eastweird horse-Mitt's new VP.

    September 7, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Rani McBride

    Who is the Hoax?

    September 7, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Thomas

    The Good , The Bad and the Romney !

    September 7, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. v_mag

    He embarrassed all the old white guys, like me. They should have gotten George W., the Ghost of President Past, to speak. After all, he and Robmoney share the same policies, and a Robmoney presidency would be a re-run of the Bush regime.

    September 7, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. ConcernedSNCO

    Clint just get over it and go back to making movies. No matter how many fingers you point, we still won't respect or vote for Mitt.

    September 7, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. brucellosis

    It's not what he said that casts a bad light on Romney so much as the decision to put him on.
    It characterizes (fair or not) the perception of how he will make decisions as a President.

    September 7, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Sure, don't ask me Mitt Romney any questions about issues important to the American people because I don't know what I'm going to say or do until I get into office!

    And by the way, do you remember how Mitt Romney failed to pay tribute or acknowledge our troops in Afghanistan and those who served in Iraq? Well, he didn't have to because he had already done so. See, the empty chair was the Tomb of the Unknown."

    September 7, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. Independent, in Texas

    Average guy?..7 kids from 5 different women of witch 4 are born out of wedlock, anti gun, pro abortion and pro gay marriage and you are just an average guy at the RNC. Clint Eastwood you sir are the hoax.

    September 7, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Ken

    Eastwood represents a sizeable cross section of the Republicans. Women's rights, down the tubes. Eradicate the middle class, only have uber-wealthy and uber-poor. Health care out the window, any chance at a better life for the unwashed masses out the window. The GOP is done.

    September 7, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. zp

    You made our day, Clint!! Totally agree with you – thank you for appearing at the convention and delivering a show-stopper – as well as having the guts to say publicly what many of us have been thinking since 2008. Let's get this country back to working and thriving again!

    September 7, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. Say_NO_to_four_more_years

    Bottom line

    Obama's failed policies have kept unemployment rate above 8% for more than 40+ months.

    September 7, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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