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. Ron

    "I'm a movie maker, but I have the same feelings as the average guy out there."

    Why do Republicans operate from the premise that their ideas are representative of the majority? I'm an average guy who thinks Eastwood is an average crackpot. Oh, and a below-average actor.

    September 7, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. LeeBG

    The hate and disrespect being slung by the republicans is disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. Too many potty mouths spewing hate and instigating violence. If this kind of crap is indicative of America's future under republican rule, I fear for future generations. This country seems to be going to hell in a hand basket and those being carried away are just laughing because they think it is funny. I wonder what historians will say 200 years from now? That is, if this country survives another 200 years.

    September 7, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. Indie in MA

    For all you blaming the Repubs for this, you forget that the Dems controlled both House and Senate leading up to the recession and the first 2 years of BO's administration. Then during those 2 years while the economy was tanking , what was the focus? Health Care and Climate Change. – Now some of you are trying to say gaining 96,000 jobs while 368,000 give up all hope and leave the workforce is a positive result??? This is the 2nd time in recent months more people have left the workforce than were hired. Nice improvement.

    September 7, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. geneticroadkill

    I'm in the middle; the people Clint was aiming for. I voted for Obama and he missed the mark completely. While I'm no fan of Romney, how much more worse can it get? I have no hope for Obama; he can keep his DREAM Act. The un-Americans now run the show and it is a sad time for those of us born and raised here.

    By the way, we're not out of Iraq yet and we're knee deep in Afghanistan so the comments on Obama getting us out of war are silly and dumb. In the meantime, Iran is looming ahead while we have a hands-off president in this area.

    I'm no psychic but something tells me we're in for some excitement and mayhem in the coming months.................................

    September 7, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. hal

    Ron.....you're a jerk!

    September 7, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. John

    Careful now; a lot of people voted for george dubya and he became the most id-iotic president the u.s. has ever seen. So anyone can make a mistake.

    September 7, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Tom Arnold

    Finally someone who has balls to say it!

    September 7, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Gigi

    Lech Walesa endorses Romney , Putin endorses Obama , that should tell you a lot.
    Obama has not built alliances internationally , he has been a no show.
    As for calling England his biggest ally , was that before he removed Churchill's bust from the White House , definitely not after.
    Obama is like a cult leader , nobody really listens just follows blindly.

    September 7, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Shaolin Sword

    Eastwood and Cheney in 2016. Fiscal plan: go from country to country turning in Cheney as a war criminal. Then, collect the bounty. At the last minute shoot the rope above Cheney. Repeat as needed and watch out for Tuco.

    September 7, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. adinp

    Lighten up people, I voted for Obama but Clint was funny. I enjoyed his performance and do not think he is loosing it at all. If you didn't get it, maybe your the one loosing it.

    September 7, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. The Unsub

    Ask Osama Bin Laden if he is better off today than four years ago!

    September 7, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. Snooky Lanson From the 12th street gang

    Ron.....then you should know action stars aren't supposed to be good actors. Just hold your interest. Anthony Hopkins and Gene Hackman are actors. And I take the speaker from either party with a grain of salt. I don't ever feel any one of them is speaking for me. They project to loaded audiences and say what that group wants to hear. Most of us can think for ourselves.

    September 7, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Dave

    You could just play videos of Romney endorsing any Obama policy; of course before he flip flopped to another stance. What a joke?

    I am much better off then 4 years ago. My portfolio is making money today, four years ago it was in the tank and headed further south. Maybe if you are still struggling, then Obama is not the problem, maybe it is you...?!?!?!?!?!

    September 7, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    I guess he has a good idea of what its been like for the President to try and talk with the House GOP: " Oh, for God's sake, John, grow a spine and stop crying! You're the leader, act like one! What, Cantor's been threatening to beat you up again and take your job if you don't listen to Tea Party? Are you worried about being primaried? Seriously? You do realize that the base of your party depend more on the Federal Government-yes, that includes Alaska and Palin. She doesn't even have a real job, you know that. Here's a tissue, stop bawling".

    September 7, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Milton K. Wiah

    I bet he was democrat when he was younger. Now old, turned racist republican.

    September 7, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. cgb

    The fact is, he was drunk.
    ,

    September 7, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. E in MO

    I get the feeling that Clint thinks his performance was good in some way simply because he did it on the fly. That only works in speeches if you are really good, like Bill Clinton. But if you are not one for speeches, you are going to sound at least a little silly when trying to improvise. Most people like Clint and his movies, but I didn't realize his politics were that insane. I thought maybe he was a moderate Republican, but no, he's got the crazy bug, too. And it showed in his recent performance–a rambling, sometimes funny, and always nonsensical series of feelings with no ideas attached.

    September 7, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. geneticroadkill

    I'm in the middle; the people Clint was aiming for. I don't see Clint as a conservative either. I will always adore Clint; he's the dude.

    While I don't want government in my home or school, the amount of unemployed plus the TWO wars we are still in is a shame.
    I voted for Obama once and it won't happen again; he can keep his DREAM Act.

    How much worse can it get with Romney? While Paul Ryan is a scary one, I'm voting for Romney.

    September 7, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Dave

    If businesses are making record profits and executive compensation is at an all time high, then why is it Obama's fault that they are not hiring? The capitalist always milk the company for their own benefit. Look at the numbers people!

    September 7, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. God WIthout God

    Clint Eastwood is a senile old man. He was drunk!

    September 7, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. Laurie in Spokane

    I've always liked Eastwood as an actor, but I'm afraid he's gone the way of Charleton Heston, and John Wayne – ultraconservative, rigid, my way or the highway, dogmatic, fanatical........
    I'm sorry to have to say I think he's a little nutso.

    September 7, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    -Gigi

    Lech Walesa endorses Romney , Putin endorses Obama , that should tell you a lot.
    Obama has not built alliances internationally , he has been a no show.
    As for calling England his biggest ally , was that before he removed Churchill's bust from the White House , definitely not after.
    Obama is like a cult leader , nobody really listens just follows blindly.
    *********************************************
    Gigi, the Churchill bust was on loan. As for following blindly, well, your comments prove who is a follower of whatever intellectual babyfood the Right serves up.

    September 7, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. wealthcoaches

    I'll bet the Romney camp wishes they had taken the time to vet him NOW...

    September 7, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "I'm in the middle; the people Clint was aiming for. I voted for Obama and he missed the mark completely. While I'm no fan of Romney, how much more worse can it get? I have no hope for Obama; he can keep his DREAM Act. The un-Americans now run the show and it is a sad time for those of us born and raised here.

    By the way, we're not out of Iraq yet and we're knee deep in Afghanistan so the comments on Obama getting us out of war are silly and dumb. In the meantime, Iran is looming ahead while we have a hands-off president in this area. "

    Truly, people should stop trying to pretend to be from one side or the other or have voted one way or the other and now had some magic epiphany that has them doing the opposite for this election (or any election), then following that claim with the talking points generated by the other side in the first place. Obama has the strictest sanctions on Iran yet. Just because he's not running around like a cowboy shooting his 6-shooter in the air and beating his chest like a big-talking warmongering GOPer doesn't mean he's not actively doing something about it. Moreover, there's not a real moderate out there who thinks "the un-Americans are running the show." That's bullsnit straight from the GOP/Teatroll party-line talking point factory that has been ginning up race resentment ever since the election of the first black POTUS brought it home for conservative white America that demographic shifts are going to completely hose the GOP in the next couple decades, causing them to throw a massive freakout hissy fit and revisit the Jim Crow era with respect to redistricting and voting laws. Grow up. Don't pretend to be what you're clearly not. It's not onnly dishonest, but cowardly.

    September 7, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. HomersSon

    Ok, now whats Lyin Ryan's excuse???

    September 7, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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