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. Jeannie

    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.

    And you think ryan/romney are honest. What rock have you been under? Pretty much everything that comes out of the mouth of these two is a lie. Romney said I will create 12million job during my first term. What a hugh whooper? That he would sure of medicare, yeah, by turning it into a voucher program. The 716billion$ lie, that by now everyone knows its a lie. If by some miracle romney got elected and led us into depression, because that is exactly what would happen, people like you would support him no matter what. I wonder why that is.

    September 7, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Steevo

    Eastwood has been a bore for many years. Same old tough guy actor, in fact, I don't think he's ever done anything different. I'd like to punch him in the mouth once and see just how tough he is.

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

    The irony here is that had Eastwood put on the same shtick at the DNC, directed at a Republican candidate, the liberals here would be calling him brilliant and singing his praises

    September 7, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. Sam

    He himself is a hoax and the GOP is fully of illeterate Cowboys some real and some from Silver screen. If Mitt Romney comes the jobs will vanish and will be outsourced, What US needs to come out of the financial depression/recession is to tax those who earn over $500,000. Wealth does not trickle down like idiotic Bush said but is sucked up. Bring back the tax levels to Clionton's era. It is not Obama to create jobs but as per Republicans the Pvt. sector has to create it and not Government. So the Private sector is sitting on huge reserves of cash and doing nothing. The only way Obama/Govt sector can create jobs is to tax these reserves and craete Govt jobs in schooling and other programs. GOP is against it. Tax cuts do not boost local ecnomy when the economy is hoplessly dependent on all consumers. Tax cuts will boost China's economy and the economy of rich business men who import from there and sell here. Special interest groups and corporation will not allow production to move to US as they will make less profits. Power should move from Walstreet to Mainstreet people. VOTE OBAMA with clear majority in bothe the houses and see how we come out of this financial recession that the GOPs put us into

    September 7, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. dondijon

    "They vet most of the people" That I do believe is the BIG underlying point Here, The RNC DOES VETT. Just wait for the other shoe to drop, You see the Birther issue is still very much alive and well, much to MR.WHERES YOUR PAPER'S OBAMA...
    BrietBart was right, What do we realy know about MR.MY RECORDS ARE SEALED AND YOU CAN'T LOOK AT THEM???

    Alot of people got this, (They are sharp individuals) then there are those whom the logic is lost on due to it going over their heads (This group is call Darwinians just to be polite)... Last but certainly not the least there are those who it is slowly sinking in on (We all know the type, He's the Guy who get's the joke in a day or two) This third group os the most important, because, in the end, AT LEAST THEY DO FINALLY GET IT!!!

    September 7, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Chainbark

    Time for jello, Grampy. I might have given Clint the benefit of the doubt after his "Old Man Yells At Chair" performance piece, but anybody who thinks Mittens B Howell III and Lyin' Ryan would do a good job running the country is definitely in the later stages of dementia...

    September 7, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. LucidOne

    I used to like him so much, but he had to go and show us all that he's not smart like I thought. He just another one of them who lacks empathy, compassion, and common sense. And a hoax? Come on, Obama has such a great heart and he's so damn intelligent it's crazy!

    September 7, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Tony from Oakland, Ca.

    Clint is begging for the Business sector to take over the presidency offering an "empty" chair logic from his skit at the GOP Convention.

    Clint's long term memory seems to have amnesia about AIG, S&L Savings and Loan scandal, Enron, Goldman Sachs, Berine Madhoff, and all others who were talented Ivy League follks with MBA's in business who severely damaged a US economy at various times within the last 30 years. What did their talents do to help the National US economy??? If anything, we have learned a superior knowledge of business, if a Member of Government, informs individuals of how to avoid rules for extra profit at an enttire US National economy dertriment engaging in corruption. And Clint himself is just another businessman from Hollywood with an "empty" suit political argument within his "empty" chair skit.......

    September 7, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Realistic85

    Eastwood: Huh? I was at a convention? The nurse said we were all going out to get ice cream. Have you seen my bedpan?

    September 7, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Paul

    The headline should actually read, "Clint Eastwood Breaks Wind," which is a heck of a lot more substantive than anything that came out of the RNC convention.

    September 7, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Bob

    Sad when the conservatives take a once great man clearly suffering from Alzheimer's and use him to their corporate agenda. They did it with Reagan, Charlton Heston, and now with Eastwood. Have they no shame.

    September 7, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. ldbtexas

    Clint Eastwood talk was a classic on par with Will Rogers and Mark Twain.

    September 7, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. Wow

    Both parties are a joke. Both options are a waste. Who cares what Clint said both sides lie and fail at understanding what the US once stood for its nothing but words and no action. Obama spends more time trying to get elected instead of doing his job. Romney is clueless. To put trust in either party is a joke. As for the war in Iraq or any other country you can argue they were all a waste with the exception of WWII. Our whole political system is a failure.

    September 7, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. Cathy

    Awwww.....he made every Democrat's day....thanks....looney's like him belong in the Republican Party

    September 7, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  15. parnell in canada

    I haven't heard anyone up in arms. I thought some of hte speech was funny but much of it was kind of flat. But that's what happens when you don't have anything prepared. It's one thing to have some spontanaiety to a speech but it was all kind of embarrassing for a seasoned actor to come unprepared.

    September 7, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Benjamin

    Forgive what Dirty Harry said on that night. He has become senile and on the verge of developing Alzheimer. The guy is a die hard Republican and Romney should have known the old man could not deliver a decent speech. He only belongs in the movies and that's it.

    September 7, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. donna rochester

    He didn't know what he was going to say until he walked out? Really? Really? I'm not sure he even knew where he was, much less what he was saying.

    September 7, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Kenny K


    Clint was correct on all accounts...Obama is an empty suit who has done nothing (even when he had a super majority for two full years). Never takes any reasonability for the economy and is a pres that has driven us further apart. We need Romney and Ryan in to get us some jobs…..
    To you he did nothing, to us he accomplished a lot.

    September 7, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. Peter

    Oh stop it, you team zombies.

    Imagine if Barbra Streisand appeared at the Democrat Convention and talked to an empty Romney chair, accusing him of saying things like "shut up" and "go f- yourself". Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would be having a stroke!

    Eastwood's shtick was OK for a late night talk show, but completely inappropriate and disrespectful on stage at the Republican Convention broadcast in prime time. The President telling someone to "go f- yourself"? Really?

    Bottom feeder crap for morons.

    September 7, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Andrew

    It's interesting that many of the posts seem to convey outrage at the notion that a private citizen chooses to express his opinion. Wether or not you agree with Clint, he has a right to express an opinion. I for one thought he did a great job and expressed a valid concern that Obama has not delivered as promised. Republican or Democrat the real concern is our recovery from a serious and extended period of financial turmoil. Obama has done his best but is it good enough and should he get four more years. If he worked for a private company he would be shown the door, simply for his disregard for the level of debt he is imposing on future generations.

    September 7, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. Ed

    Good acting job Mr. Eastwood. Most people don't know what to think of your schtick. If people would just remember that you are an "actor" they would realize how funny the bit really was.

    September 7, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. idecomp

    Hey Klint Eastwood, I was a fan of yours since childhood; I looked up to you...

    You did a great job at parodies, but never offered any solutions. It’s easy to criticize but takes much more to be a man and try to fix the problems with this society. How about giving us some solutions that YOU have thought up to improve our society…..? Obama, I’m sorry to say that I was a devout republican, but I have seen how parties make their decisions along party line and NOT in the best interest of the people that put them in office. I however feel you have done a GOOD job with what you were afforded at the start of your term. GREAT JOB Sir! Job well done.

    September 7, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Clint Eastwood

    " Obama and his friend the Governor of MA has decided providing young welfare recipients with a free cell phone phone makes sense!"

    I am proud to say that the half-price cellphone program was put in place by my personal dear friend, George Dubya Bush, in order to help Sarah Palin and her grampaw win the election. And it would have worked, too, if it weren't for those ding dang kids and their scroungy dog.

    September 7, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Pelegrim

    What an old fool.

    September 7, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. kate

    Calling people names, i.e. kinda like a grin with a suit behind it, is not "funny" unless you're Don Rickles and it's part of the act. Pretending the President and a father of two nice young girls is using filthy language and cursing his opponents, is not "funny" in any context. If he feels like Obama broke his promises, then that's all he needed to say. The rest of it simply revealed the mean-spirited, ugly truth of the right-wing – which is that they don't care about promises or progress – they just hate, hate, hate the notion of a person of color in the White House and the idea of a country that seeks a more perfect union and to promote the "general" welfare and not just those at the top of the food chain. Unlike Ayn Rand, this country is not about social Darwinism and survival of the fittest.

    September 7, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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