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. Kristin

    Clint Eastwood's performance was an arrogant insult to both republicans and democrats. As Americans, we really need to rethink our veneration of celebrities, or what we consider celebrities. The Republicans are responsible for this sad debacle, and it does reflect poorly on their campaign. At the same time, it is all of our responsibility to put these people in their proper place. This is an actor who made a ton of money entertaining us with sometimes good, sometimes ridiculous films. He should not be elevated to the point of reverence in his beliefs or opinions. That is our collective failing. That he thinks he should be listened to is his ego gone awry. Put him in his proper place. An entertainer who just made an ass of himself.

    September 7, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  2. cindy

    I AM THE MIDDLE CLINT. Sorry but your diatribe was not only silly but lacked anything that made me want to vote Republican. Obama may have fell short in his 4 year tenure, but the Republican party has allowed its self to be hijacked by right wing extemism, it saddens me that one of my heros has malined my assurtions into light.

    September 7, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. rao urike

    a old white and rich guy – ah, yes, the 'average american' according to mitt the twit and ryan the tea bagger.

    September 7, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. FLMom

    Clint Eastwood – multi-millionaire is not a Joe Citizen. I am a Joe Citizen – I have worked for 30 years, was laid off a 15 year job thanks to FL Republicans and for the first time have NO health insurance – all thanks for Republicans. At least with Obama I have hope of restoring health insurance with a mild pre-existing condition. Go back to Carmel-by-the-Sea and your mansion, Mr. Eastwood....and don't insult the Joe Citizens of the USA by putting yourself in our "common middle class" category.

    September 7, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. George

    Clint Eastwood's entire life has been a hoax, just like his RNC speech. His star is already set. It is easy to be an action hero on the big screen. Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger what it feels like in real life. Eastwood is spineless. He will just as soon change his tune as soon as someone else shows up with a check and an ad script.

    September 7, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. The Unsub

    Obama is more of an American than Clint is or ever will be!

    September 7, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  7. George

    As a computer said in a Star Trek episode..."non sequitor, please coordinate your facts" Mr eastwood. I doubt that he will stick to the facts so I will re-coordinate my view of Mr eastwood. I see now that he is just a typical redneck polished up with Hollywood success. Perhaps his Dirty Harry movies were about Detective Calihan rebelling against the police establishment who were hoaxes and impostors. Remember how he used to run down those black jokers in those shows. Guess he is still trying to run down Obama since he couldn't catch him in the chair.

    September 7, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    As a Clint Eastwood fan, I was embarassed for him at the Republican convention. He appeared to be mentally out-of-it or he had been drinking. All the statements by Republicans and their supporters can not change the fact of what we saw was a once-great actor who should not have been put in that position. It was truly sad.

    September 7, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  9. The Unsub

    Being that there are over 500 posts on this story should tell you sometihing abouit the outlow Josie Wales.

    September 7, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  10. Bill in NM

    Really too bad, I lost all respect for someone I truly respected.

    September 7, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  11. Greg

    the only word you need concern yourself with in his interview is the typical hatred from a conservative. "lefties". Legitimate criticism is fine. Hate talk is what this country does not need. I'm surprised he would resort to this. Apparently his entire life an act. Another grumpy old white guy.

    September 7, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. John Q. Public

    Clint, you obviously don't share the same feelings as this average guy. ..but, of course.. I'm not a wealthy gun-toting "movie maker"..

    September 7, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. JBlack

    Clint, we were laughing at you, not with you.

    September 7, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. Vera Hill

    This is to Anne; You dear lady are so wrong. President Obama had 8 years of crap to clean up – to include a war in Iraq that should never have occured. The bills from all of this that where NEVER paid etc. If you had a grandson with Cancer or anyone elses child you would be so grateful for the insurance President Obama provided. As to Mr. Clint Eastwood quote "President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" If I might suggest Clint Eastwood is not only disgustingly rude to the President of the USA but to all the people that believe in him. I being one of them – if I were a doctor I would consider him having Alzheimers

    September 7, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. Ben

    Obama is a hoax and everyone who posted something against Clint Eastwood can't handle that simple truth. Its quite hysterical the comments I am reading about what he said but no mention of the lefty Hollwood actors like Sean Penn, George Clooney, Mary J Blige, Chris Rock and the list goes on and on and on. Oh yeah and the funniest of them all was Scarlett Johanson. Share the wealth Ms. Johanson with your friends from high school. I'm sure you have more than enough to do so.

    September 7, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. Steve

    Seven children with five women. Only two wives. Sandra Locke palimony trial. A man lecturing someone else? Check your outrage at the door, Clint. You make Bill Clinton look like a man with high moral principles.

    September 7, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  17. Luke Brown

    Where does this guy get the energy to hate America as much as he does?

    September 7, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  18. Loathstheright

    Had to change his depends.

    September 7, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  19. Valerie

    I do not believe that Mitt Romney encouraged Clint Eastwood's behavior at the Republican convention. Mitt is a good man and he would not have wanted Eastwood to appear as he did. I am not a Mitt fan but I know he would not have been a part to something as truly sad as this.

    September 7, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  20. Tony in Maine

    He personifies the difference between the Democratic convention and the Republicans gathering. Eastwood is an angry, rich, old, white guy who looked and sounded like he finally slipped his trolley.

    September 7, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  21. landon

    If he had practiced, if he had pressed his suit, if he had combed his hair, if he had put a little make up on it might have gone better. I felt sorry for him. His legacy will stay with us, but the younger generation will think of him as a joke.

    September 7, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  22. JJ

    Don't worry, punk. You made Obama's day. 🙂

    September 7, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  23. m

    Here goes again making a fool of himslef.

    September 7, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. rastafanman

    So Clint thinks he is Joe Citizen, he lives in the same la la land that Mitt does, his net worth is about 375 million dollars. He should just shut up and go back to making moves, stick with what you know.

    September 7, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  25. The Realist

    It's unfortunate that Mr. Eastwood has lost his way in a tangle of ossified synapses.

    No matter his political leanings, no sane actor appears live on a national stage and "wings it".

    An experienced stand-up comedian might take a shot at it, but Not with Improvised material.

    The stuttered sentences, appalling stumbles, & awkward pauses, were painful to watch.

    Sadly, if Mr. Eastwood appears at the 2016 Republican convention, he'll be wearing a drool-cup.

    September 7, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
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