Eastwood breaks silence: Obama a 'hoax' on American people
September 7th, 2012
11:25 AM ET
11 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. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Sounds to me like Clint's feelings were hurt. Dude, you should have stayed off the stage if you can't take the heat. Barack Obama is the man and he will be re-elected Clint...Sorry.

    September 7, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. the Situation

    Fair is Fair

    Devasting economic news articles = hardly any comments.
    Clint Eastwood article = hundreds of comments.

    So nice to see where people's priorities are.

    September 7, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |

    And yet, you are here casting your comments. OKAY!

    September 7, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Specialized

    Mr Eastwood calls Obama a hoax but maybe calling him a fraud is a better fit. What is scary is Joey Biden and Nancy Peolsi. And Debbie Wasserman Schultz is just a liar and a dumb one at that. Pay attention folks. GEEZ!

    September 7, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Bill

    Even though I'm not voting to put a crooked banker in as President.
    Particularly, since they caused the Depression Disaster in the first place.
    I still love Clint Eastwood!!!!!
    I live my life by one of Clint's famous Quotations: and maybe he should too!

    September 7, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Devasting economic news articles = hardly any comments.
    Clint Eastwood article = hundreds of comments.

    So nice to see where people's priorities are."

    We won't be making any true progress on the former until people like Eastwood are rendereed powerless. THAT'S THE TRUTH.

    September 7, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. George Bush

    Convicted con man Joseph Smith Jr. was the founder of the Mormon faith. Joseph Jr. was a traveling con man and diviner who went town to town offering his “magical” services. Joseph claimed he could find buried Spanish treasure using “Peep” (Seer) stones, magic stones that gave him divining power. He conned poor farmers getting them to pay him to prospect for buried Spanish treasure on their property. Before Joseph’s marriage to Emma Hale, he was convicted of swindling farmers and the original court bill of 1826 charging him of this offense is still on record.

    After his conviction Joseph Jr., was looking for a new way to make a living and claims the angel “Moroni” (I am not making this up, it really is “Moroni”) delivered “magic golden plates” to him in 1827. From 1827 until 1829 Joseph Smith was involved in “translating” the magic Golden Tablets delivered by “Moroni” which only he could see, and which were supposedly written in “Reformed Egyptian”. Along with the Tablets Joseph received more “Seer” stones and the breastplate only he could see or wear which would allow him to translate the “Reformed Egyptian” into the book of Mormon. See also: Charles Taze Russell , Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, Marshall Applewhite, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Eddie Long, Joel Osteen, David Koresh, Jeffrey Don Lundgren, Harold Egbert Camping....

    September 7, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. frespech

    I've got news for you Clint you didn't irritate anyone, we are all just hoping you go to your family Doctor and get an EEG,
    an EKG and possibly a quick visit to the shrink, provided your apparent problem isn't of the physical nature.

    September 7, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. mttrailboss

    With all due respect for former Mayor Clint Eastwood and an excellent actor, director and producer. His performance at the Republican Party convention was embarrassing or 'awkward' to say the least. I hope this is, his last political speech or talk.. I wish Clint Eastwood the best in his retirement and becoming a member of AARP.. Enough said, that includes you too, Clint Eastwood. Enjoy retirement and good health.. Mike in Montana

    September 7, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. lbpaulina

    OM. He is becoming bitter. The actor who became famous thanks to Italian (or spaghetti) westerns, and not even for good acting, gained popularity as a cultural icon of a sort of masculinity, maybe good at that time, thanks to detective Callahan, easy cinematography, nothing special.
    I know, and I prefer, him as an art director. Fact that works very well: not all the art directors are good actors, actually it rarely works. This guy made a lot of money, he is protecting it, he doesn't want to pay more taxes.
    Clint: relax. I do not know what your friend Mormon told you, but, believe me, when we die we are alone in front of the death and our money remains here and it will be spent by who remains here. That's it. So being so angry is useless.
    By the way, although you will never read this, because you seem a sort of an arrogant-busy-man, I admire you overall for your works of the last decade, but the idea of the chair at the GOP convention was absolutely ridiculous and not a great evidence of creativity. It was long and boring, and I can tell you that you overwhelmed the Republicans in the name of your ego-centered vision of art.

    September 7, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. alan_turing

    I just love it when the old coots come out and threaten 1,000 years of darkness and civil war. Was tired of the end of the world religious angle.

    September 7, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Squigman

    This coming from a man that's made millions, playing make believe. What a hell of a world this has become, when the likes of C.E., calls the shots for all.

    September 7, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. REG in AZ

    It was a shame to see such an accomplished and wonderful individual embarass himself the way Clint did.

    September 7, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Harbormick

    Clint Eastwood has joined the ranks of Hank williams Jr. Charlie Daniels and Ted Nugent, talk about trading down

    September 7, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. on StreetWise

    Dirty Harry just shot in his own two right foot... you made my day!

    September 7, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Gary

    I thought his speech was perfect for R & R: an old enfeeble old man touting the values of old enfeeble ideas. There's NOTHING that R&R have proposed that didn't cause us to get into the mess we're in. Sadly, Clint has left his prime as a director. His WWII Iwo Jima movies were tremendous. I recently saw his J. Edgar movie and I had forgotten he'd directed it. During the movie I mentioned to my wife that the movie was flailing around due to bad and weak direction. I was actually quite surprised to see the Clint was the director. After seeing his rambling presentation, I now know why J Edgar was so bad. However, his rambling speech is a whole lot better than to leave the country in the maniacal hands of R&R.

    September 7, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. Brehon

    This is sad. I have a lot of respect for Clint Eastwood for a number of movies he made which contained very powerful messages, such as Invictus about Nelson Mandela and Gran Torino. What people need to remember here is that the original clown for this role chose by the GOP brain trust was supposed to be the fool, Donald Trump, who was going to say" You're Fired" to the empty chair. After word of that freak show act leaked the same lamebrains apparently decided to enlist Clint Eastwood in their Republican Festival of Lies and Hypocrisy – Tampa 2012.

    Neither Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan nor Donald Trump have as much class as Clint Eastwood had in his little finger. I respect Clint Eastwood and his accomplishments and right to his opinions. What I have no respect for is the GOP_WORMS who have the gall to put such a man knowing his limitations, as Clint himself would say, simply to get some cheesy and cheap political snicker out of it. The classlessness and lack of intelligence behind it symbolizes what is wrong with the GOP as a whole.

    September 7, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Just a thought

    Isn't that what makes a politician, broken promises. I mean GWB had a warehouse full of broken promises. Goes all the way back to "Vote for me and I'll set you free"

    September 7, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Evil Hollywood Liberal

    What does it say about Romney's campaign, that they would let a guy go out on stage, and yet have no idea what he was going to say? Oh, wait – makes total sense – "Trust Me". Mitt's favorite saying.

    September 7, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Liberty

    He was much more entertaining than watching a woman who believes abortion and birth control should be paid by the taxpayers; a sodomite that caused the housing crash; a vice president that is so stupid and out of touch and let's not forget an audience that boos GOD and doesn't want him put on their platform. I think that just about sums up with the DEMONCRATS are all about. Like Paul Ryan said the veil is beginning to lift.

    September 7, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. Doodlebug2222

    A strong man – is able to have a dialogue with another > face to face, not a monologue with a empty chair.

    September 7, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Duke

    Well, if he was aiming for people in the middle, he flat out lost me. He would have been credible if he would have given specifics on what he lied about and if he would given specifics on what Romney would have done better. The deal breaker for me is him calling Obama a hoax. This is a guy who walked into the worst disaster since FDR took office. Not saying it's Bush's fault but the fact is he inherited a mess. FDR didn't turn it around in four years and no human being could. Obama hasn't been perfect but he at least took action where Bush waited until the very last minute of his presidency. Obama you got the vote from the middle.

    September 7, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Annie, Atlanta

    Does he realize how sad it was for those of us who admire(d) him to go off on an empty chair like a befuddled old man who has lost touch with reality? Personally I wish he would just stop digging that hole, but hey, go for it Clint.

    September 7, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. ClarasBeau

    Eastwood's schtick backfired. It might have been funny were Obama known to have a foul mouth and a short fuse. Because he has neither of those, the "jokes" came off as crude, ill-conceived misfires. At least there's a lesson to be learned here: "Refuse the vetting process, and we'll cancel your gig!"

    September 7, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. Davey

    This reminds me of McCain forgetting to vet his VP choice...we all know how that turned out lol Will the GOP never learn.

    September 7, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. D. Lewis

    Clint reminds me of another right-wing extremist who came from Hollywood. That RWE started the massive build up of the military and the national debt; he increased the national debt by a multiple of 2.67 in eight years. He aligned himself with the immoral majority and pushed conservative ideas while going against those same principles. Ronnie "Raygun" Reagan destroyed the federal budget because he thought he was in a movie battling the invasion of the Soviet Union. All good CONservative republicans after him loved military might and bankrupting the country.

    September 7, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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