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. contessa

    I wonder if Eastwood thinks President Clinton is a "hoax" too?

    September 7, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. RustyHinges8

    The only reason Clint Eastwood showed up at the RNC, was to take advantage of the spotlight and millions of viewers, because of his new movie coming out on September 28th. The Republicans may have thought he was being sincere, but Clint took advantage of that huge (and free) viewership. He probably figured if he came up with a witty and humorous dialogue, people would want to see more.....and check out his new movie. Way to go, Clint.

    September 7, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. John

    I am very conservative, definitely not a "liberal", and I vote. I was embarassed to see Clint make a fool of himself and am sick of the negative attacks from Romney. There is no substance to the Republican Party any more and I will not vote for someone who wants to raise MY taxes so that the wealthy will have more money. The rich are doing just fine and don't need my help or money.

    September 7, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Ambrose Smith

    Admit it Clint. Those laughs you got were only courtesy laughs. Stick to directing movies.

    September 7, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. Margo

    Pretty sad commentary for the repubs that they had resort to Eastwood, and having no idea what he was going to say. I agree with Norm, the repubs are way back in the past. There is no forward thinking with them.

    September 7, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Mitt Romney

    "That someone believes that celebrity endorsements of world leaders are important, let alone noteworthy, is terribly sad." Yeah, that's what I said when I saw the old geezer playing with his stool in front of everybody. Couldn't we have just gotten Ted Nugent?

    September 7, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. nagrom

    Duane You have been watching too many empty chair rhetoric serials. Time to open your eyes and see the world as it was before OBAMA and as it now is. We did not fall in to a depression as so many people decried OBAMA and said he would put us there. Funny thing is the economy is starting to turn around and even though at a snails pace it is far better to go forward than go backward. Pull up your boots with the rest of us and do something constructive instead of vindictive and spiteful. REPUKE! The only jobs those jokers will get you is on a slow boat to China or India.

    September 7, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Horus

    "I'm Joe Citizen......I've got the same feelings as the average guy out there" – No Clint, you don't....thank goodness. IMO you aren't really all that good an actor either...but hey, I'm just your average Joe... 😉

    September 7, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. michaelw777

    I think Clint Eastwood is a fine actor and a great director. But this was sad to watch.

    September 7, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. PV

    Sometimes I wonder If I´m the only one that remembers, Our troubles began with Bill Clinton getting caught with his pants down... When he left office he did so a disgrace to the office of the president, his family and most of all to Al Gore... Yes Clinton was the reason we never had a President Gore..........Let´s rewind the tapes......... does anyone remember................
    Clinton who started this mess ???

    September 7, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Mark Wilson

    Come on folks.... All the talk is about Eastwood instead of Romney is because the average American always focuses on the unimportant. How else could Obama ever get elected in the first place? Lets focus on Obama's broken promises. OMG he makes the average used car salesman look like a pillar of truth. Get ready for the USA to be a clone of Greece if we continue in this direction.

    September 7, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Republican

    Eastwood is one of the 1% in the US. He does not care about what has been happening to the majority of us and to "made in the USA" because of policies put in place by this Republican party.

    I have no doubt where I am going: in this election D is for forward and R is for reverse!

    September 7, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Deme Josoph

    Well Clint go back to your rocking chair. Who cares what you think. You make all your money and you are in your golden years. If you have a family go spend the rest of the life you have with them. We do not need to see you on stage without a hair do or all your idears of what this world should be like.

    September 7, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Sirned

    Republicans crack me up. They say they have no use for the hollywood types. They are constantly putting actors down as a group....Then lol. They kiss up suck up and cow tow to the demands of an aging actor on the most important hour of their candidates life. They agree to let him go on stage in front of millions without being vetted. Talk about nuts! Let's hope a terrorist doesn't become an actor if Republicans get in power....lol

    September 7, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. JUST ME

    Please guys you have got to be kidding me. You expect Obama to go in and fix in two years what Bush screwed up in 8. The same people who will go to the polls and vote for Romney would be people that would follow people like Jim Jones. I know that everyone heard Romney say that head was not concerned about the Poor, I know that everyone heard him say to let the auto companies fail, or maybe everyone that is voting for Romney is in perfect health and are not concerned about their elderly, or maybe that child with a health issue was born to rich parents and they dont need help with their medical bills. Obama has walked in the shoes of the poor and the middle class, how can you understand what the american people need if you have never been where they are at. Romney supporters are a joke and so is he. Obamma tore them a new one last night. LMBO.

    September 7, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Deme Josoph

    Because OBAMA is fixing what George BUSH left broken and his point man Chenney

    September 7, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Demigod Vadik, CA

    I like Clint, but Clint ain't no average Joe...

    ...most Americans don't have 7 kids by 5 different women...

    September 7, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. bbrooker88

    Look, I love ya Mr. Eastwood, but the only people in the "middle" you may have reached were people in their middle seventy and eighties.

    September 7, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. teej

    Poor Honey!

    September 7, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Luke

    No Clint – you are the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on America – I bought the characters you played in your movies and though of you as a patriotic rugged individualist – turns out you are just another right wing political hack – and you certainly are far from Joe citizen – what would you know about what it's like to really work for a living? – As far as I am concerned you have joined the Hollywood cuckoo fringe with Mel Gibson and your movies are going in a lock box –
    not to be watched by me again for a very long time – Harry Callahan would be ashamed of you.

    September 7, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. jv

    GOP's platform: “We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in.”

    September 7, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. Uncle Joe

    If Sean Penn had done the same thing at the DNC the media (especially MSNBC) would have thought it the most entertaining thing they ever saw.

    This is one reason I watch C-Span when it came to convention coverage. On that network nobody sits behind an anchor chair giving their opinions or offering commentary. I come to my own conclusions, thank you very much.

    September 7, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. gar

    The greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people is the Republican Party of the 21st century. No question about it.

    September 7, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. just sayin'

    what he looks like or how you think he was as an actor is immaterial! if you insist on judging him on his age..have you spoken to many of the elderly today in this country that have been stripped of dignity; who by no fault of their own cannot buy the medications needed for them to stay healthy, who are becoming a large part of our homeless popullation? I think our Mr. Eastwood at the age of 82 have a right to speak. He has a great deal of money but he also has friends and family that struggle as a part of today's elderly population. speaking of people with money..they are not all bad people but people willing to work hard for what they want. Obama and his friend the Governor of MA has decided providing young welfare recipients with a free cell phone phone makes sense! I have worked since I was 14 and am not well into my 50's..I always was able to find work and I was always able to get my own phone. I recently volunteered a MA food pantry. Often times people would pull up in their fancy cars and SUV's with beautifully manicured hands, sharp shoes and with gold dripping off of them. ONce particular person that had that description was arguing with an elderly woman that was in front of her to get some pantry staples. She had an appointment and did not want to wait until the "old lady" decided what she needed. make sense to you? not me! okay, speaking of Obama Care...do you know what this health system is doing to midsize businesses? so we want to keep unemployment down, right? let's increase the number of weeks a person can stay on unemployment, or maybe even force honest hardworking people to loose their homes without offering any type of relief to them...or a free cell phone! So if Clint Eastwood failed to make us understand why we need change then you must be thick! We need change and it is time for president Obama to recognize that!

    September 7, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. Matt

    Clint – here's some real good advice: Stick to action movies where you actually have talent. If you had to live off off your comedy or political efforts you'd be homeless! When it comes to the real world you are truly clueless.

    September 7, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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