August 31st, 2012
04:10 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney adviser: Eastwood a 'great messenger'

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) – When iconic actor and Romney supporter Clint Eastwood asked for a chair to be brought onto the convention stage Thursday night, staffers did not realize it would become an integral part of his speech, according to a senior aide.

Eastwood's performance on-stage - largely a conversation between the actor and the empty chair he used to symbolize President Obama - raised eyebrows and quickly went viral, as thousands of viewers tweeted bemused reactions to the unconventional remarks.

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Romney staffers were not privy to an advance copy of Eastwood's speech – in fact, he ad-libbed his endorsement of the Republican nominee, the adviser said.

Eastwood previously endorsed Romney at a campaign fund-raiser, but news cameras were not allowed to film the revered tough-guy movie star's appearance with Romney.

So the campaign made Eastwood a surprise guest Thursday night, on the final evening of a minutely-orchestrated convention carefully designed to introduce Romney to millions of voters.

However, Eastwood's remarks do not appear to have been subject to that level of scrutiny.

Senior strategist Stuart Stevens called Eastwood's use of the chair "improv" but shrugged off concerns the unexpected speech could distract from Romney's message.

"The crowd loved it," Stevens said, adding that Romney had been backstage laughing along with the audience. "He thought it was funny."

"For him to go out there and to say that there's a need to change presidents and that he supports Mitt Romney, and talk about 23 million people out of work as he did, and talk about when someone doesn't do their job you need to change, that's a powerful message," Stevens said. "He's a great messenger. The guy is an American treasure."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Michael

    I just hope Clint understood that the chair was empty.

    August 31, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. The Unsub

    @ Carol,

    you are just as senile as Clint!

    August 31, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. 1nsite

    Romney upstaged by a bizarre Eastwood act. Only the GOP can spin this into something positive.

    August 31, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. 1twinsfan

    Eastwood was a great messenger...for Ron Paul!

    August 31, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. manhandler

    Really??? A Great Messenger?? Talk about trying to spin your way out of a catastrophy. Wow! So they thought the little thing about "Obama the chair" telling Romney to go F himself is a great messenger? OK...Whatever. These people are delusional. The damage is done and they know it. Always liked Clint's movies but he was being astonishingly disrespecful to the office of the President.
    I think he did this on purpose in return for Rove and the Republicans screaming about his Super Bowl commercial being an add for Obama. He's probably at home chuckling to himself right now. Anybody remember what Romney's speech was about? No? All that buildup destroyed in one fell swoop.
    Being that I'm for Obama, I think I'll write Clint a thank you note.

    August 31, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. CGF

    The brain of Clint and Romney's staffers were as empty as the chair he (Clint) was talking to!!!! "He's a great messenger idiot. The guy is an American embarrassment", Romney’ adviser said

    August 31, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. janie

    What a great man that Dirty Harry. That seat has been empty for nearly four years cause Obozo has done nothing except divide this country and spend all our hard earned money. Oh yeah, golfed.

    August 31, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. will never vote Republician again

    What a night! Confirms my vote OBAMA 2012!

    August 31, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. The Unsub

    check the DOW! But the retard Repubs say the econ. is in the tank! JUST PLAIN DEVILS AND LIARS!

    August 31, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. 1twinsfan

    Oh, now I get the chair! The RNC wanted to have something more wooden than Romney on the stage. Okay, I concede that's brilliant.

    August 31, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. atlsouth56

    What a waste.

    August 31, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  12. Sally

    Of my's true. After four years of Obozo, America has lost it's sense of humor and who can blame them? 8+% unemployment, homes in foreclosure at a faster pace, health insurance costs going up due to Obamanation care (read the fine print folks) and most of it ain't funny, but Clint was. The empty chair was a perfect example; Obama voted present while in the illinois senate and he might have been present for taxpayer paid vacations and Broadway plays, but as President? Empty chair says it all.

    August 31, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. Harold

    The Liberal Media and Wolf are thick-headed. Eastwoods talk was about an ABSENT President. A do nothing CEO. Sarcasm at it's best. Wolf and other liberals cant understand unless it is drawn on a chalkboard. Romney for President to get this country moving again.

    August 31, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  14. Pete

    It's funny on CNN how after seeing it ,not in whole it was quite pathedic,a senile old man talking to an empty chair,wasn't that Bushs nickname ghost president for taking 477 days off in his first two years as president.And Clint running his finger ear to ear symbolizing cutting his throat,that's ignorent,racist but that's republicans being born with that stigma,you got to be tough because your so dumb..You can't argue with me on that,check all the losers you've voted for from Hoover on,all pathedic,really unamerican,its historic isn't it!!!

    August 31, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. Ted McD

    This advisor must be the guy that convinced the RNC to let him speak ...he's the same advisor who will be looking for a job next week. Never knew Clint was such an a–sh–e , a senile one at that.

    August 31, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. David

    Eastwood critiicized Obama as being a lawyer but Romney also is a lawyer! Eastwood criticized Obama allowing the war in Afghanistan, but President Bush started the war in Afghanistan. Eastwood was disrespectful to the office of the President of the United States. And I thought Republicans were supposed to be patriotic! Only patriotic if you like them? Hypocritical. Romney should have condemned the speech.

    August 31, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. T'sah From Virginia

    All the DNC needs to do during our convention is pick out EVERY lie the Republicans told and tell the truth. For instance, Romney stated that he will create 12,000,000 jobs during his 1st term............... BEEP-FACT CHECK!!!!!! That's a LIE!!

    All economists predicted that 12,000,000 jobs or more will be created within the next four years no matter who the president is..........PERIOD!!! Romney is once again trying to take credit for something that will happen automatically without any input from any president. This is the MAIN reason why the Republicans want to "TAKE OVER" because they know President Obama “stabilized” the economy and prevented a depression – they know damn well there’s only one way to go …. UP or FORWARD!!

    WAKE UP AMERICA – Don’t believe the flip-flopping lying hype coming from the Right!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Forward!!

    August 31, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  18. CT voter

    Are Romney's people sure Eastwood was going to support their candidate?

    -Clint believes lawyer's shouldn't be involved in government? Romney's got a law degree!
    -Clint warns that every four years politicians come around begging for votes? That's exactly what Romney is doing now!
    -Clint thinks it's okay to demean the office of the President by 'ad libbing' multiple profanities? Nice, Mitt, is that what we can expect from you?

    August 31, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  19. Pander Bear

    If they are going to the confused, incoherent and feeble minded vote, then Clint was a great messenger. Oh waot, it's the GOP never mind. Mission Accomplished!

    August 31, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. TheVoice2

    Mitt Phony's motto "make me President now, I'll give you details later"

    August 31, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. Guss

    Sincerely what a stupid act.... I hope the DNC play an etch a sketch wiil be fun...

    August 31, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  22. buzz1875

    Let's see if I can figure out Repub-speak...."great messenger" really means "old white guy who rambles" ..."powerful message" means "give a whole world of people something to Tweet about and make fun of" ....Obviously, they are so desperate to find celebs (or plain ol' voters) to support Romney....they can't be too gave Clint the stage without any questions or vetting at all! Now THAT is FUNNY! !

    August 31, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. Donkey Party

    Poor Clint, he went from Unforgiven to Unforgivable.

    August 31, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  24. Donkey Party

    janie – Is that you Mrs. Palin?

    August 31, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. Nancy

    clint eastwood a "great messenger"?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.......REALLY? REALLY? The man came across as an idiot............Only one good thing came from this......The Presidents response on Twitter! Go Barak! Canada LOVES you!!

    August 31, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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