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. Nancy

    Dear long does it take to "moderate" my comment?

    August 31, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. Nancy

    still waiting to be moderated.....what – have you all left for the long weekend?

    August 31, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. Rshan

    Great messenger!? Then let's see you trot Clint out on the campaign trail. Yeah, that will work real well for you.

    August 31, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. Diamond

    you fools that got sucked into the repub/demo thing are fools. What team are you even on? Not the American team. Your as devisive as catholic preists! Get together ane realize your leaders are playing you for fools. How stupid can you get??

    August 31, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    just wonder what the right and Limbaugh lovers would say if Oprah Winfrey or maybe Alec Baldwin both Obama supporters would have done something like this at the DNC convention. Me thinks the right wing critics would be overflowing the airwaves. I like Clint Eastwood and most of his movies....he was even at one time given an NAACP award so race is NOT an issue with him to my knowledge,,,,but COME ON..........

    August 31, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  6. Argle Bargle

    How sad.

    August 31, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Julie

    If Romney/Ryan end Medicare, and the vouchers for insurance aren't enough to cover the care for our senile elderly, will we have enough chairs for them all to talk to?

    August 31, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. Lisa P


    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
    Or, not so hard earned, in Romney's case. But then he doesn't pay taxes like we little people do. Now, get back to your two $9.50/hr jobs! Under Romney/Ryan you'll have to have three!

    August 31, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. Sigrid

    Wow, a majority of these remarks claim that Mr. Eastwood is senile, embarrassing and a disgrase to our country and yet the people that made the remarks support Joe Biden, go figure... talk about embarrassing, disgrasful and senile!

    August 31, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. Squigman

    Obama, 2012. The song remains the same.

    August 31, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  11. Faxon

    The liberals are spending a lot of time saying how awful Clint was. That is great because it shows it really upset them. Today, everyone is thinking of Obama as an empty chair. CNN reports it was bad for Romney. I guess they didn't listen to a word Clint said. Everything he said was about getting rid of Obama. How can that be bad for Romney? I am loving this election, and can hardly wait to see the Obamas pack up and go on a permanent vacation.

    August 31, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  12. AZWarrior

    I seem to remember a former Texas democrat governor saying at a convention, "George can't help it – he was born with a silver foot in his mouth!". Come on people, get the political corn cob out and have a laugh. You know, the left is starting to sound like the party of the past and the Repubs are sounding like the party of today. I'm an independent and voted for Obama, but he failed, and is too lazy to be our employee anymore. I don't have time for stupid, and I don't have time for failure. Bush failed, and we fired him. Obama failed nd we will fire him. If Romney fails, we will fire his ass. Deal with it fanboys.

    August 31, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  13. jdc

    I just loved the comments that Clint made and I am sure that at least 23,000,000 other americans did also.

    August 31, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney has surrounded himself with incompetent mangaers and aides. Eastwood's bizarre presentation upstaged and distracted from Romney's big moment on the stage. The fact that everyone is talking about Eastwood's speech and not Romney's good...but dull speech speaks for itself. The Romney campaign shot itself in the foot again!

    September 1, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  15. USA

    Obama has divided this country worse than any other human being EVER. He has incited class warfare, race warfare, and he is pitting the young against the old. If someone doesn't agree with a policy of his, then they are automatically racists, yet the left can say nasty things about Condoleeza Rice or Herman Cain and that's not racially motivated???? Why is ok for the left to spew hatred, like what Ellen Barkin said about Issac, but if the right says anything about Obama they are racist?? JFK and Clinton were exceptional examples of a president and Obama could learn a lot from true democrats. Obama is the lapdog for the far left extremist, he is no way a true Democrat. I am a democrat and always have been, I voted for Al Gore and I voted for John Kerry, and Yes I voted for Obama because I believed him to be a true democrat. This country has always been able to debate, the democrats and the republicans, but I have never seen such HATRED and its coming from the far left. It is embarrassing to the democratic party and it is embarrassing to this country.

    September 1, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  16. DENNA

    @ Ancient Texan – But...the Libs love Alex Baldwin, Sean Penn, and the radical Left side of the entertainment world when they bash Bush and the GOP.
    None of these people have held a 12 minute-one conversation with an empty chair. I'm sorry, Mr. Eastwood was not at his best. He just looked sad and bizarre. It was painful to watch.

    September 1, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  17. Thomas

    Clint must use the same accounting firm as Romney when it comes to facts.

    Ride , rope and brand um , don't try and understand um !
    Rawhide !

    September 1, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  18. warriorgal

    Anyone who concerns them self with lipstick INSTEAD OF DEBT, LACK OF RESPECT FOR GOD, LIFE, AND MARRIAGE IS CRAZY.

    September 1, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  19. FedUp

    Love ya Clint. It was great! I loved the line "We own America." It is about time some politicians are reminded of that fact. As soon as we take America back by voting all the bozos out, we will be able to go back to being the greatest country in the world.

    September 1, 2012 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
  20. Willie Floyd

    The president went to ALA. after the tornadoes and did everything possible to have FEMA on hand immediately. At least he isn't "flying" over in Air Force 1!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    September 1, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  21. Gurgyl


    September 1, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  22. julie

    pitiful..................almost felt sorry for times he seemed like he was spacing out for a second or two
    he fits right in with romney/ryan

    OMITT MITT 2012

    September 1, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  23. GI Joe

    Get back on your meds, eastwood. He made a big fool of himself. Not even a good "performance".

    September 1, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. Yonni

    Yes he is a great mesangar for the message out dated in the 1950s. Clint was current by then but not in this DNA age.

    September 1, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  25. Marie MD

    He can't fire the four members of his staff because he would look like the fool he really is. Allowing what passed for comedy of an aging star (who believes in pro choice even if he is a repuglikkklan) and an empty chair.
    One of them even said that the flip flopper was laughing along with the crowd. Not sure if this is true or not because they have to keep up appearances but if it had been me I would have used a hook to reel in eastwood.

    September 1, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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