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. Kay2012

    Clint Eastwood is a true American original and I thought he was brilliant! How sad for all of you that you would hate a man just for expressing his opinion. I thought that he gave a humorous and pointed commentary that gave voice to the thoughts of millions of Americans. He will forever be a hero to me!

    September 7, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  2. Rick in Phx


    Clint Eastwood..a great American. Something obama is NOT!

    Independent here... All I took away from reading this is that Clint Eastwood doesn't think Romney would be a great president just better than Obama. It's kinda like saying our guy stinks but the other guy is worse. At this point I would have to disagree with Clint Eastwood, it seems NO ONE on the right or even among we independents that I've talked to really like Mitt Romney. It appears the votes Mitt Romney will get in November will be anti Obama and not Pro Romney, and politically speaking... That's just sad.

    September 7, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Kathy

    I'm no longer sure about Clint Eastwood. I've seen his wife's reality show a couple of times and he looks like he hasn't got a clue what's going on half the time. I wouldn't take his recommendation on a restaurant much less a president. Apparently he can't function without a script.

    September 7, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. Richard from Tx

    Please remind this cook that it's President Obama!!! Not!! Mr. Obama!!! Damn idiot

    September 7, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. FLINT

    Poor ole Clint has lost has marbles....Oh well....loved his movies. I dont hate him, I still love him. Hes just getting old, his mind is going....I think he did us Dems a favor anyways, next day after Romney did his RNC speach there was more talk about Clint talking to a chair the Romney doing his 110th flip flop, in a RNC speech.

    September 7, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. kayla

    what an idiot

    September 7, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. learntoread

    "Go ahead, make my...make my.. make my...what the heck was it?....make my, it's something....hold on a sec i know– i have a .357...holy moly it's only a prop? i thought these things worked...make my...somebody pass me my G+T...."

    Seriously Clint, you went to the 9th grade, dug a few ditches and then basically couldn't remember your lines But you had that gleam in your eye and the little cigar...which is why you never did live stage theatre BUT you think you might understand more than Obama on the world stage....weird stuff indeed...

    It would have been funny if it wasn't so sad...you have had the sun at your back, Josey.....

    September 7, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Julie

    Clint made a fool of himself. He should have just rode off into the sunset. He is now just a rambling old idiot who talks to empty chairs. From Hero to Zero.

    September 7, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Fed Up

    Eastwood is right about one thing, Obama made numerous promises in 2008, that he had no intention of keeping. One of the worst was his promise to do something about NAFTA. Obama admitted in 2008, that NAFTA was the major reason so many Americans have lost their jobs, and he promised to do something about it. Yet in almost 4 years, he's done nothing and even had the man who signed NAFTA on the stage, making a speech for him. Neither of the conventions was worth watching, because of all the lies.

    September 7, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Ricky

    Mr. Eastwood all i can say is i am a heart broken former fan.

    September 7, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Concerned

    I like Clint allot as an actor and director, but he sure did make a fool of himslef. Not usre I am so anxious to see any more of his stuff. I don't t care about his politics, but I am taken about at how disrespectful he is to a President of the US elected by a majority of the people. I dodn;t even care who he endorses, but making those comments about any President is disgusting.

    September 7, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Penvoden

    It amazes me how much hate and intolerance is coming from the very group that supposedly speaks out against hate and intolerance. One guy said the Republican party appeals to the lowest common denominator-white trash. Why such racist, hate filled remarks? Obama is the worst president to ever fill the Oval office, even next to Jimmy Carter. At least Carter had morals. Eastwood was right, Obama is a hoax and when the curtains are closed in the voting booths, the voters will say that loud and clear.

    September 7, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  13. Lisa P

    Clint Eastwood: all hat, no cattle.

    Or maybe that should be "all chair, no Obama".

    September 7, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. JanetMermaid

    I used to admire the man. He used to be socially liberal. Now he's just sad. And embarrassing.

    September 7, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. Republican who supports President Obama

    This present-day GOP has shown us time and time again that they have no respect for the office of President. This behavior proves they are not mature or ready for the White House

    The GOP is an EPIC FAILURE!

    September 7, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. JanetMermaid

    Really CNN? What about the following comment needed to await moderation (I've spaced everything out so it gets past the censor-bot):

    "I used to a d m i r e the m a n. He used to be s o c i a l l y l i b e r a l. Now he's just s a d. And e m b a r r a s s i n g.

    September 7, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. MrDemeanor

    Apparently, I am the bearer of bad news. In the past 6-8 months I have told many Obama supporters the following....Go to the Whiteheouse website, click on the birth certificate that Obama supplied. Open it and hit zoom about a dozen times. The forgery unfolds before your eyes! To this date, I have yet to get a reply....crickets! Clint is correct, this is the biggest scam ever perpertrated on the USA!.. Romney is going to be out straight righting this wrong! Every bill this NON-AMERICAN ever signed will be null and void! This is going to take years to straighten out!!!

    September 7, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. James AL

    Has anyone stopped to count all the mind changes, misspeaks, blunders, and bad decisions Romney has made since the primaries. One would think that a guy who has had six years and a trial run to prepare would be ready and just about mistake free. That should be telling to the Republicans and undecided voters.

    September 7, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  19. Republican who supports President Obama

    The hoax is the GOP. They habitually lie and distort the facts.

    The empty chair is just another attempt to hide behind their lies. If there was a person from the Dems sitting there with a mic they would have been schooled on the facts.

    September 7, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  20. JanetMermaid

    Really CNN? What about the following comment needed to await moderation (I've spaced everything out and replaced some letters so it gets past the c e n s o r-bot). I not only want to express my sentiment but find out what the heck is so bad about the following:

    "I u s e d to a d m i r e the m a n.
    He used to be...s o c i a | | y...| i b e r a |.
    Now he's just s @ d.
    And e m b @ r r a s s i n g.

    September 7, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. Gurgyl

    Clint Eastwood is a drama idiot–I mean street drama idiot. Charisma is gone long time Ago to movie idiots– no one is caring.

    September 7, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. Steve

    How can anyone disagree with Mitt? He's pretty much got your side no matter what it happens to be. I think Clint is a great and very talented man. I also think John McCain is a great American.but that doesn't mean that I agree with their political views any more than i would expect them to agree with mine.

    September 7, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  23. AngieS

    What do Clint Eastwood and Mitt Romney have in common? Neither of them has a clue what they're going to do and but they both think they're right, everyone else is wrong and no one should vet them.

    September 7, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  24. Obama2012

    Eastwood movies for sale... 5cents each!

    September 7, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "The un-Americans now run the show and it is a sad time for those of us born and raised here."
    Your tooth just rolled under the desk there buddy.

    September 7, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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