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. dirty Joe

    Screw Eastwood. I want to know if the chair has broken it's silence!

    September 7, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. labman57

    So claims the huckster and his empty chair.

    September 7, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Henry

    To paraphrase Clint in "Heartbreak Ridge:"

    The country is looking for a few good men. Unfortunately, Clint, Mitt and Paul ain't it.

    September 7, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. FedUp

    Love ya Clint. One of these days, Obama won't be able to claim this is Bush's economy.....maybe in 100 years or so. He accepted the economy in the summer of 2009 when he said the recession was over. From that point on, he is responsible for all the lost jobs, and people who are now not even eligible for unemployment any more. If he gets re-elected... this too shall pass. It will take a lot to restore America to her former greatness, after what he has done.

    September 7, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. jrl1234

    It’s perfectly fine for actors to poke fun at the GOP (it happens on a daily basis) but the one time a year someone pokes fun at a Dem everyone is all up in arms.

    September 7, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. bxgrrl

    He speaks on behalf of the Fraud ticket and calls Obama a hoax?

    September 7, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Brenda Morris

    Has my life improved since Obama took office? YES!!! He finally got Congress to approve a 3.6% raise for Social Security after being FROZEN for 5 years!!! He passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act so women could receive equal pay as men for doing the same work as men!!! I'm sure this helped any and all working women!!!! He approved GAY Marriage!!! My brother is Gay. This helped both of them and I'm HAPPY they can now be legally TOGETHER!!! Obama's team TRACKED DOWN, and KILLED Osama Bin Ladin!!! This took a hugh Strain off all AMERICAN"S!!! Yes MY life as well as millions of other AMERICAN's lives has IMPROVED since OBAMA took OFFICE!!!! Republicans OPEN YOUR EYES and YOUR EARS!!!!!!!!! I do not want any of my RIGHTS Or any of my 5 Grand daughter's RIGHTS put in jepordy because of romney & ryan, better known to me as THE TWITT TWINS. England sure did nail romney for the UNCARING TWITT that he most certainly is!!!!!!!!!!!! As for ryan he cannot keep his story's, or statistics straight. He's also a 2-FACED LIAR!!!!!!!!! Will we VOTE for OBAMS? YES WE WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 7, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Fred

    Eastwood was entertaining and quite witty when you consider an impromptu rather than scripted speech at age 82. If he would have been trashing Romney, I guarantee all you lefties would be singing his praises and saying how clever his art-form was delivered.

    September 7, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Romney cares less

    OBAMA 2012!

    September 7, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Dave

    Mr. Eastwood is correct. Obama is a complete fraud and so was Bill Clinton. Without Newt in controll of the Congressional majority, Wet Willie would have run America off the cliff just like The Lemming in Chief is doing.

    September 7, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Log Cabin

    What a sad end to a great career.

    September 7, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. emil

    @ 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."


    Is that any worse that the Dems resorting to Scarlet Johansan, or George Clooney and his smug fund raiser. Or an F'ING KARDASHIAN!!!!! It was reported right here on CNN. I don't know about you, but If that the caliber of the DEMS, Then Im going to make sure to get as many people as I can to Vote for Romney.

    Seriously, go into any black neighborhood in the US. Walk up to any group of men, and speak about how much you love Obama to them. See what happens. See how much progress has been made.

    I'll even throw you a bone. I don't even think that its Obama who let the country down. No, it's his own community, who insted of stepping up to the plate and emmulating these good people. (and I do think they ARE genuinly GOOD people), they grew a GIANT chip on their shoulder and sat back demanding more free tax payer funded stuff.

    Is that what you want? Another 4 years of racist arrogance and lazy expectation and further deepeing media fueled white guilt? I don't. I want Romeny to win, knock these people down off their high horse and the working class to stop beign afraid of BS like discrimintaion, and political correctness, and demand that hard working people be rewarded for being just that. Its time to make the lazy and the propagators of this mindset suffer. I want that equality we were promised, and If Romney is full of it, and he is. We need to band together and call him out, make him do whats best for All of us.

    That fair enough for you?

    September 7, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Duane Allen

    Clint Eastwood's aura overshadows his intellect. Fact is, he's self-absorbed and irrelevant to anyone outside Hollywood; he made his name in a bunch of B Grade spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harry movies and has had little critical acclaim on which to hang his hat... sure he's produced some okay flix but the bottom line is he's just a cowboy Stallone, Seagal, Norris, etc. – not really a stunning talent as far as his peer actors and directors go. The fact he's a right-wing loud mouth makes him fit right in with his Tea Bagger pals and cronies like the esteemed Dennis Miller and Ted Nugent. Definitely American icons.

    September 7, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Brenda Morris

    Also how can eastwood claim to be
    'just an average guy" The Average guy dose not have his MILLIONS or his INFLUENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES I know I did not capitalize romney, ryan or eastwood. They do not deserve to be CAPITALIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 7, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Dmitchell

    Why so many "progressive" fascists commenting ? Hmmmmm.....

    September 7, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. alan_turing

    Can we, at least, know what the Donald thinks on this matter? I breathlessly await.

    September 7, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Gezellig

    Romney can't even put on a convention without winging it. Put a guy on in prime time totally based on style with no idea of the substance underneath. Is this what they would look for in a Communications Director in charge of the White House message? We don't care what you say as long as "everything I would say would be nice"? Think about this. No concern with message, just that he is a famous and popular guy. We don't know where we are going, but here is a toy to play with. We have not ideas, but here, chew on this glitter. Fad over function. Unbelievable.

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

    Quite frankly, I was embarrassed for Eastwood while he was on the stage. Regardless of his political affiliations, he just made himself look foolish. Kind of sad.

    September 7, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Dan

    "Yes we can" 2008, "No we couldn't" 2012. President Obama is in over his head. I am a conservative and was always going to vote for the Republican ticket. But, let's be honest and compare Obama to Reagan. Similar problems. Both inherited a mess. Reagan didn't blame and denigrate the opposition and "cya" his whole term. He got results and was re-elected by a landslide (49/50 states). Obama's problem is that he has failed to get results and compounds that failure by blaming others. Obama is the anti-Truman (the buck starts here). I really don't think this is going to be a close election.

    September 7, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. frontgate

    Eastwood = jughead
    needs a dope slap

    September 7, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. brational

    like he says, a crazy old guy in a suit....I don't think I want him as my counselor for the complex problems of modern society. President Obama may not win but if he doesn't the crazy old guys (and gals) will have less of a support system to bank on.

    September 7, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. frontgate

    Dan, buddy, you do realize Regan was senile, don't you?

    September 7, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. Max

    The last minute sketchy switch in the Democrats platform was far more bizarre and telling than Eastwood talking to a chair.

    September 7, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Marv

    I have always respected Eastwood as an actor, then as a director. I still do. He's the greatest. But my respect for him as a person and political aficionado ends with his typically blinded (Republican) view of reality.
    Republicans today are like children who fantasize about things around them. It's a game of make believe. I can't wait until all the moms come into the room to tell these children that it's time for dinner; playtime is after dinner.

    September 7, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Eric

    I'm one of your "lefties", and I thought his bit was hilarious and well done. His jibes were quite funny. In contrast to "rightie" comments here, I don't know anyone "up in arms" about his speech, except for maybe paid political hucksters.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the RNC was also funny, but unlike with Clint it was not intentional.

    September 7, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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