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. Mitts Rommel

    This old goat is never, ever going to get another penny from me.. not at the theater, dvds... nothing... which is a shame, he made some damn fine movies. He should have stuck to his day job.

    September 7, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Dave

    Mr.Clint doesn't even know what he had for breakfast, please leave the chair for the young and intelectual President Obama,your time is up.

    September 7, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Adam

    What a pathetic, sad, old man. He is a hoax of an actor. He fits right in with the repukelican party.

    September 7, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Kingy

    Ask the people of Carmel what they think of Clint.

    September 7, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    $10 says Clint Eastwood would yell at his manpampers as if it's their fault he pooped himself.

    One word, Eastwood: Namenda.

    September 7, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. FlotsamJetsam

    Clint I have been a fan for a long time, that being said your last movie really sucked. How you think that somehow it qualifies you (or any other celebrity) to think we care about your politics is beyond. Your incomprehensible rant during the RNC was just bizarre and just showed you to be out of touch. Enjoy your retirement years.

    September 7, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. B.

    Make our day and crawl back into the woodwork.

    The icon for the GOP, just another White, old, angry, redneck..

    September 7, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. david

    Nice try liberal CNN- "Rambling speech". More free press from the Obama express liberal media.

    September 7, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. Bootstomper

    Drool cup Harry.

    September 7, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Make my day? Pffffffff.....I should think it far more likely that Eastwood and the rest fo the Teatrolls think the way the world is supposed to work is that they get to tell Obama (and the rest fo "them") to "make my bed."

    September 7, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. Rick in Phx

    As an Independent I still like watching Clint's old westerns but, Why any one on the right or the left would care what Clint Eastwood has to say on politics confuses me. Might as well start talking about what Sylvester Stallone thinks too. I do take issue with the right thinking Eastwood did such a great job at the republican convention though. Clint Eastwood looked just plain SAD, and I'm sure if someone would have told him 45 years ago that he would be at any political parties convention rambling on to an empty chair he would have punched them in the face.

    September 7, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  12. cbt

    I used to love "all thing Clint eastwood" Now I wouldn't watch him in a dog fight. He's not the gentleman I thought he was.

    September 7, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. SomeNameHere

    Clint Quote "President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,”.

    Clint just lost any credibility with that dumb statement. You may not agree the the president but he is in no way a hoax. His statement doesn't even make sense. Playing to the birther nutcase types are you clint? Or have you just become a crazy old coot?

    September 7, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. enuftrashtalk

    'Romney and Ryan would do a much better job running the country..' ??

    I'm in the "middle" and I still don't believe it. Complaints about Obama do not a candidacy make. That's all I've heard.

    I did think the empty chair was a nice metaphor for the audience of the Romney campaign. That or a dining room table. You can say anything to it and never have to deal with a single rebuttal.

    September 7, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The un-Americans now run the show and it is a sad time for those of us born and raised here."

    Interesting talk ... coming from a self professed ... um ... "in the middle". You might want to read up on how "moderates" actually think. It might surprise you.

    September 7, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. I AM The Fence

    Eastwood's speech was just brilliant. To think he did all of that without teleprompters, while EVERY OTHER convention speaker for GOP and DEM used teleprompters, is amazing. It was genuine and certainly pin-pointed concerns every middle-of-the-road American feels toward Obama's leadership. Results are impossible to shy away from.

    Clinton takes second place as a convention speaker as he had the most substance. Of course the substance was slanted and selective, but it was masterful. Considering the source, it was a gutsy move by the DNC to put lying Bill at the mic with his questionable integrity ... the GOP was wise enough to have Bush stay at home.

    Moderates/undecideds control presidential elections. Moderate America wants new leadership in the top position. Obama has done too little for the economy. No way this country is going to give him another 4 years, because in the back of our minds we all know the next 4 years will be more of the same, which amounts to 8 wasted years. Time for new leadership.

    September 7, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. bigfoot

    I wonder if Clint knows just hoe stupid he appeared out there and how much he has damaged his legacy?

    September 7, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. Joe

    Hey Clint, you are retarded !

    September 7, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Emmittkitty

    Who cares anymore about Eastwood's rambling. Obama and the DNC rocked their convention by offering the American people actual content over empty rhetoric, distortion, and outright lies.

    September 7, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. DENNA

    @ – Sniffit

    "What was the GOP thinking when they sanctioned Eastwood's appearance?"

    Let's play word association to show what they were thinking: white elder man former-mayor crotchety cowboy type with chip on his shoulder who will talk mean and tough about the uppity n......... that none of the right wing extremists and bigots want to have to call "Mr. President."
    LOL You nailed it Sniffit. If Romney had done this schtick, he would have been roasted by the American public. But put the same act in the hands of a crotchy, once great actor, and Boo-Yah! The GOP gets its message across without dirtying their little hands. Well Played.

    September 7, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. KK

    Now I know why Eastwood movies have no dialogue but only gunslinging. Truth doesn't count for him!!

    September 7, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Adam

    My wife was laid off due to outsourcing, but I'm not dumb enough to blame it on the President. People like to conveniently forget just how close we came to a full blown Depression. Yes, lets of people have lost their jobs, my wife did. Lots of people have lost their savings, we did. Lots of people have lost their homes, we did. We haven't given up on ourselves and i won't buy into all the Republican lies. President Obama didn't get us into this big mess. You can thank your dear old Republican party and Mr. Bush for that. Just like all the other "I want it fixed now people" you want to blame President Obama for all the problems. The "fix" won't happen in 1 year, 4 years, maybe not for another 6 years. It will take time, it will be difficult, and Mitt Romney and his millionaire buddies are only looking out for themselves. I'm ashamed i was ever a Rebublican and glad i switched parties.

    September 7, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. Hypocrites

    Such HATEFUL remarks from liberals here. I guess if someone doesn't agree with your views you just simply call them names!

    September 7, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. chechi

    Excuse and excuses even if you are Clint Eastwood. To me it does not mean a thing, you looked like a drunk guy bubbling about nonsense stuff, and now you are still bubblingg about stuff you do not care about. You only want your money to be guarded and not pay your share, with such large family who can blame you?
    But outside your tiny circle there are real people with real problems and only Presidents like Barak Obama can help them out.
    Enjoy your riches with the tin man Mit Romney !!!!!!!

    September 7, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. Pete

    Can someone please escort Mr Eastwood to the nursing home he's overdue on his meds..Romney ,Ryan still searching for answers,the multiple choice candidates surrogate even today on CNN couldn't give a straight answer,why not,Romney doesn't have a plan,never did,never will,plain and simple,run the country on what,empty promises,Bush did!!

    September 7, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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