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. Pat

    Mr. Eastwood's performance was, well, weird. Taken together with his remarks in this interview, it's the typical mean and arrogant Republican rhetoric. And how can a guy who starred in the movie "Grand Torino" favor billionnaires over ordinary people. Hopefully, he will someday learn the same lesson about compassion, acceptance, and tolerance that his character in the movie learned.

    September 7, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Max Escoria

    Clint, Clint , Clint, Would someone please advise Mr. Eastwood that he has climbed on the wrong horse, aNd to turn around cowboy your talking into its ASS......

    September 7, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Clint Eastwood

    "Clint Eastwood talk was a classic on par with Will Rogers and Mark Twain." How DARE you compare me to them?

    September 7, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Rick

    I love how all you libs freak out when some prominent figure disagrees with you. You're right, everyone who doesn't agree with you is a racist bigot, who hates old people and poor people etc. We all want to give our money to the 1% rich people. I mean how ridiculous is that? I think Clint looked his age and rambled but so what? The guy spoke his mind and although you might think he's crazy, millions of people share the same opinion. After Obama's speech, we all know he's an empty suit. "I promise to keep the promises I promised last time" nice

    September 7, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. John

    "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."

    And the republicans would be sling just as much hash. What's your point?

    September 7, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. D0ntBlvU

    I am in the middle politically. Mr. Eastwood's speech didn't sway my choice for president because I didn't take it seriously. Paul Ryan's "errors" did, however, and Mr. Clinton's statements solidified my decision.

    September 7, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. TheRealMe

    he has the same feelings as the average guy out there? ... how is that possible, he's is rich and expended most of his life being one, he doesn't have any idea how is to live check by check in fear every Friday to be called to the boss office, or go on bankruptcy to avoid living under a bridge.
    We all know he didn't what he was going to say, because even during the speech nobody could make sense of what he said, not even himself.

    September 7, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. ernesto torres

    obama is a farce just talk and talk didnt mr. clinton said in referance to bush is the economy stupid why does not say the same now that obama is in charge they all are bunch of mouth pieces i feel sorry that obama was elected america is going down with this idiots

    September 7, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Jrdz

    Will he still be screaming at a chair when Mittens loses the election?

    September 7, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Clint's next film will be "Grumpy Old Man-A Fistful of Coupons".
    Vouchers babe, A Fistful of VOUCHERS!
    Good one!

    September 7, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. jimmie Beck

    To Mr Eastwood,
    Your not like Hollywood Obama. Your real. What a paradox.
    You talk but don't give speeches.
    Mr Eastwood, your refreshing, real and not a hoax like the blow hard in the oval office.
    Thank you for exposing the chair.

    September 7, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. MrApplesauce

    Republicans hate men with multiple babies out of wedlock, men who cheat on their spouses and the Hollywood elite....

    except when one comes to speak for them.

    September 7, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Mindie in Indie

    this, coming from a senile old has been –

    September 7, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. rohug

    Steeve what a man you must be to want to strike an 82 year old man in the face.

    September 7, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Ann

    I wonder if CNN will keep the article about Clint, first on the Ticker for 2-3 days as they did last week. Hello... Clint's act is not the most important issue to discuss. Why don't you talk about the 400,000 people who dropped out of the labor market to keep the unemployment rate 'low'? There are real issues that Dems and the liberal media will simply avoid to discuss for the next 2 months to fool again some undecided voters. How can someone not see that 4 years ago Mr. Obama made promises he could not keep, but he still made them to get elected? He was either amateurish or he fooled you. Sorry, I believe what Bill Clinton said 4 years ago about Mr. Obama, not what he said 2 days ago. Forget about Clint Eastwood .. this is nothing but a distraction.

    September 7, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Outdoor Girl

    Eastwood confirms that he wasn't properly vetted prior to his schtick with the empty chair. In doing so he confirms the bad judgement of the RNC in letting him onstage. I don't care if he is a respected filmmaker and is 82 years old, he looked the fool and joined the RNC to him. They've been doing weak damage control ever since but the bad judgement stands.

    September 7, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Sorensen

    Old Eastwood has obviously totally lost it. It is always sad, when old people make themselves look so ridiculous.

    September 7, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Grant C

    Yeah, open your eyes people! The REAL Obama is invisible and sitting in a chair a few feet away from Clint at all times.

    September 7, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. Lando

    You ruined my day ....punk

    September 7, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. chiniquy

    Clint Eastwood has revealed to the world that he is just another Republican village idiot.

    September 7, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. DJ

    Uh, Clint in the future just decline to do it!!

    September 7, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. RH

    No we would have called him crazy then too if he did that at the DNC. If you listen to the speeches at the DNC ... stark contrast in tone to the name calling and childish behavior at the RNC. Proud to be a "libie"..
    Congrats President Obama...this will be an easy win. Don't listen to the talking heads !

    September 7, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. healer7

    Number 1, If you are an actor and a film maker as Mr. Eastwood says would you not know the value of good preparation for your message? Number 2. Everyone is saying he is not a politician but yet he was mayor of Carmel. is that not a political position?

    In response to "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"
    The Democrats did not have anyone up there rambling and, I'm sure, vetted everyone who spoke. Obviously, they are smart enough not to let a "loose cannon" go onstage

    September 7, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. steeler1nation

    right on, Clint! call out that phony liar Obama for what he is. Obama is straaaange man, who happens to be running this country into the ground

    September 7, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Eastwood gave a great speech. Can anyone remember what Romney talked about? Nope.

    Remember this. The Romney campaign has had a series of misteps and miscues over the most compulsory of obstacles. Most of their problems most serious bungled opportunities have been self-inflicted. The biggest is yet to come when Romney tries to weasel out of releasing his promised tax return 2-3 weeks prior to Election Day.

    I wouldn't want to do it, either. It would be a stu....most unwise thing to do. The tax return issue summarizes the political skills of the Romney campaign very well. He's approached the entire campaign as if it were some drawn out negotiation, where he's taken up a bargaining position and will stand firm until he prevails. The most gallling part of this "strong stand" is that he had no intention of releasing any returns until he was BOOED at a GOP debate.

    September 7, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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