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. jp

    I'm all for free speech but that was as nutty as a peanut

    September 7, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. Expat American

    At the RNC Hate/Bigotry Fest, Clint Eastwood only came across as:

    ".....a poor lonesome cowboy, a long long way from home...."

    I'm surprised he didn't open up his bumbling disaster speech with "Why did I come in this room?"

    September 7, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Mary Ann

    Eastwood needs to have his last drink,go to rehab and get on some meds.

    September 7, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. Jeffer65

    Clint's appearance and "act" at the convention might have worked better had it been done the first night rather than right before Romney's speech. In comedy, timing is everything.

    September 7, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. scranton

    For all you haters thinking Eastwood needs to be put in a nursing home shut the hell up. Biden is 69 and has made ten times more idiotic gaffes than Eastwood ever will.

    September 7, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. dotheflippin'math

    Is he for real? I have zero respect for anyone who could be as disrespectful of ANY U.S. President. The insults were ridiculous, and totally uncalled for. Neo-Tea-cons are just a bunch of spoiled rotten punks and holier-than-thou Xtians (not to leave out my own religious brethren, but rich, Israel-centric, racist Jews, too). I am disgusted and embarrassed to have ever thought Clint was a respectable person, although, to be fair, he could be suffering from Alzheimer's. Wishful thinking...I think the man is a closet racist. He and Mel Gibson apparently have a lot in common.

    September 7, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  7. slim

    The damage that has been done to our country was not created by one presidency. Obama is just a current scapegoat for a few "journalists", some degreed some not. I am still wondering when becoming a actor/radio or any other kind of journalist makes you an expert at anything but journalism much less neo-geo political science. Sorry reagan lovers, my belief is that americas problems started with his farce of a presidency. Prove me wrong.

    September 7, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. old dude

    "go ahead, make my cream of wheat"

    September 7, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. old dude

    Go Ahead , Make my pudding

    September 7, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. Michelle

    At first I wondered what Clint was doing. Then I found myself laughing out loud and agreeing with every thing he said. He knew exactly what he was doing and he was brilliant!!

    September 7, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. Tom

    Eastwood may know how to make a movie but that is about it. He does not know Obama? And that skit just before Romney was to take the floor and accept the nomination was a total misunderstanding of timing. To have him alluding to the F word as Romney was taking the podium didn't sit well with millions of Americans. He may have thought it was cool but it wasn't.

    September 7, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  12. Ricardo

    He was great, irreverent, acid, funny, direct, brave. Obviously the lefties don' like it. He made my day!!

    September 7, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. Jomama

    Obama rambles just as bad without a TelePrompter.

    September 7, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  14. tcaros

    I guess when you are a little crazy with age, it's a lot crazy.

    September 7, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Patrick

    Awesome. Clint Eastwood is a legend. ROMNEY-RYAN 2012

    September 7, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  16. Reddog9500

    In other news, Eastwood is rumored to have told President Obama: "You know...I could kick your a**", to which the President replied: "In your dreams Grandpa.....Make my day".

    September 7, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. George

    Clint is obviously ready for the retiremkent home. If he thought Obama was a hoax, why did he not say that during the "Empty Chair" routine? I guess he things a hoax is when the American People voted and elected him. Or perhaps he has some conspiracy theory about the election being stolen. He fits right in with the republicans trying to suppress the vote. I probably wouldn't see another one of his movies. Not because he makes bad movies but because seeing one would be a constant reminder of his character.

    September 7, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. Jomama

    The Republican party has become the party sick of lazy ass ,whining ,hand out wanting, socialist liberal losers.

    September 7, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  19. taylormade1967

    Clint Eastwood should be ashamed of himself & so should the republican party!!! Every time they open their mouth it turns into a complete disaster. This is one more reason why the American people should not vote for Mitt Romney He is not qualified for such a big job. He will lead this country straight to hell & were on our way to recovery. These people have been exposed....

    September 7, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  20. eiresicilia

    But the U.S. Labor Department, which puts out the official government jobs data, counts 12.8 million people as unemployed - not 23 million.

    Even if you add in unemployed people who are not counted in that total because they are not actively looking for work - a category the Labor Department terms "marginally attached" - that number rises to just over 15.3 million. Dirty Harry is misinformed...what a surprise.

    September 7, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  21. Reddog9500

    The RNC would have preferred to have Charlton Heston as their keynote speaker, but they would have had to put the mic in his "cold, dead fingers".

    September 7, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    I was shocked by the appearence of Mr.Eastwood because he looked like a cadaver. i knew he was old , but I didn't know he was that old.I was dismayed he was a Republican, and I was very upset over his remarks about our President Obama.
    I like you as an actor, but abhor your politics. I have one question for Mr. Eastwood who created this financial mess? If you are foolish enough to blame President Obama. Well then, I'll have to call you a bald faced liar.

    September 7, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. Realitybites

    Michael wrote:
    Clint Eastwood..a great American. Something obama is NOT!

    Please tell me what makes Eastwood a great American besides the chair buffoonery. What has he actually done? Oh, I know, he's white.

    September 7, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  24. 1812overture

    I was shocked by the appearence of Mr.Eastwood because he looked like a cadaver. i knew he was old , but I didn't know he was that old.I was dismayed he was a Republican, and I was very upset over his remarks about our President Obama.
    I like you as an actor, but abhor your politics. I have one question for Mr. Eastwood who created this financial mess? If you are foolish enough to blame President Obama. Well then, I'll have to call you a bald faced liar.

    September 7, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  25. fullclarity

    Old Hollywood actors should stay home.

    September 7, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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