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. Thomas

    @Say_NO_to_four_more_years
    Bottom line

    Obama's failed policies have kept unemployment rate above 8% for more than 40+ months.
    ------
    Bottom Line , it only took GW Bush 8 years to trash the place !

    September 7, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. RenegadeFL

    I used to think Clint was cool.

    September 7, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. Dan

    Mr Eastwood, I am the person in the middle that you were talking at. Guess what you did help me make up my mind,I will be voting as a democrat this year. I was not impressed with an 82 tear old rich white guy talking to a chair. I am sure if the congress would have worked in a bipartisan way many of Obama's promises would have been kept. I seem to remember the 2010 election for congress when every republican running for office campaigned on jobs, jobs and jobs. Just one jobs bill from them would have been nice, talk about not keeping promises!!!!!

    September 7, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Big_D

    You think an old man yelling at an empty chair is a positive moment for the GOP? Clint isn't the only one that should be checked for dementia. This makes me sad because I like his films but now I only get to remember a scary vacant looking old man yelling at an empty chair about a war started by the folks in the very room he was in. Yell at the guy from Texas, He actually started the Afghanistan war. Heck tell his brother, he was in the audience too.

    September 7, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Antaes

    I think Clint Eastwood was brilliant !! His idea of speaking to an invisible Obama was creative and the dialog was brilliant. I only wish he had concluded by saying that Obama should stay the way he is at his best – invisible !!

    September 7, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. yogi

    I don't know why the GOP came up with another clown, they have too many already in their own ranks. Who cares what Eastwood thinks, says or does. Integrity, dignity, wisdom and vision are the important qualities and I will listen to a person who reflects those. The only serious candidate in the GOP primaries was Huntsman and he polled only in the single digits, it tells you all you need to know about the GOP. Very sad.

    September 7, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. JR of White Bear Lake MN

    Clint looks in the mirror and see's Sir Lawrence Olivier. You were Dirty Harry and Gunny Hightower. Still.... Eastwood is a good man and a good American.

    September 7, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. jaimie

    Romneyhood ........... Give to the Rich take from the poor

    September 7, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Tim Moore

    I've fallen and can't get up! Somebody help Mr. Eastwood up please ;-)

    September 7, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. LMC

    Clint Eastwood is just a simple "Joe Citizen?" Now that's a hoax!

    September 7, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. james New Jersey

    Eastwood is just a old ignorant gezzer who is afraid that won't get his tax cut from Robme.

    September 7, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. jaimie

    Romney and Ryan ............ Laurel and Hardy of the 21st century

    September 7, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. Richard Miller

    I had a lot of respect for this man until this event. It gave all senior citizens a look at what not to do when your mind is beginning to go as is this case. Sorry Clint, but Rowdy Yates just quit the cattle drive-you embarrassed him too much this time.

    September 7, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I'm having a really good laugh at Clint's and the GOP's expense recalling his outstanding Super Bowl commercial supporting the American auto industry, which regardless of what the Rethugs choose to believe sure as hell came across as him supporting Obama's decision to save the industry. BUT when the Rethugs try to have him deliver on his star quality for them he CRUMBLES LIKE A STALE COOKIE!!!
    Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 7, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Sheri Meckler

    "Obama's a hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"? After your "speech" at the Republican Convention, your credibility is lost with me. I love your movies, but you need to take a long nap, wake up on 11/7 and deal with the fact Obama will still be your President.

    September 7, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. JG

    He's made some great movies. If he were 30 years younger and a lot wiser, he wouldn't have made a fool of himself. The young can shrug it off. It's too late for a geezer. Instead of an outlaw, he's just a goof and crank like so many others. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

    September 7, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Margo

    At 82 he probably be dead before the election:) Unfortunatly he'll go down in history not for his films but his ignorance and his true colors. I'm not going to have anything to do with his films or his family.

    September 7, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. airbornevet

    I am a huge Clint movie fan. I was disheartened when he supported Romney but respected it....but serioulsy he bombed that speech, and now I see why he supported Romney, he is losing his mind.
    That was a bad speech no matter what the republicans try and say.
    Hats off to him for taking the blame and not throwing it on Romney.

    September 7, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. The Other Dale

    I'm still not sure where Republicans are getting this idea that Liberals or "lefties" or anything else they want to call them are upset over Eastwood's speech. Is laughing at something supposed to be being upset these days? I know Republicans want the sky to be green and the grass blue in their reality, but I iddn't know it went as far as having to laugh when sad and cry when happy now.

    September 7, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Olaf Big

    I like Clint, even though I don't care for his politics. I am not sure he did a great service to Romney's campaign with his speech at the convention. This photo of him where he looks like a looney grey owl spreading his wings is not a great visual. In the mind of the voters it associates republicans with old geezers who walk on the crazy side and speak to empty chairs, whereas what he should be going after the younger crowd.

    September 7, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. joseywails

    Clint "spoke" what the silent majority was thinking.

    He didn't get the job done....period!

    September 7, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. TK Tummala

    Sub: Clint Eastwood's Performance on Republican Convention:
    This a free country. Every one can have Ten Minute Fame, some times, and can make a Fool of themselves. Eastwood
    used his right.
    Good Day

    September 7, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Quit The Hate

    Mr. Eastwood is no comedian, with the possible exception of those 2 movies with the orangutan in the 80's. Did he think this was an appropriate place to start his Improv career? But you have to admit he summed up the GOP belief system pretty well. Most of the stuff they believe is totally make believe and they actually believe those imaginary voices in their heads are real.

    September 7, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. HistoryGeek

    I'm always amazed at how Republicans scream about Hollywood elites, until one of those elites is a Republican. Then it's a great idea for them to voice their own opinions, they're citizens after all. Whereas Democrat Hollywood elites are ordered to stay out of politics and just make movies.

    September 7, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Rosslaw

    Good actor, great director, knows nothing about politics. CLint made the comment, cheered wildly by the delegates about how stupid it would be for Obama to try terrorists in NYC rather than water board them in Gitmo. Breaking news to Clint and all republicans. Leading terrorists like Times Square bomber, shoe bomber, underwear bomber (certain pattern here) routinely tried in federal courts, sentenced to life in Supermax, among several others. Democrats do not ask Al Queda for permission to use the American judicial process. Republicans can now uncurl from their fetal positions under their beds.

    September 7, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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