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. Chris

    The Dems don't want anyone who isn't with them to look good, to sound good, or to be perceived as good because someday, everyone else may wake up and realize just what the Dems are doing to the lower class.

    September 7, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. linda

    This is just like the Republicans, didn't they learn anything from not vetting Palin? Just goes to show you that the GOP doesn't think things through very carefully.....they wanted a celebraty so show the Democrats that there are actors in Hollywood that support him.....I think they could have picked someone better and should have had a script that he was going to follow to see if they really wanted him to get up there and make a fool of himself......and the Republican Party....Eastwood thinks he's a power player.....I will not see another movie he is in or that he directs.....

    September 7, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Big_D

    Eastwood was really upset about Obama starting the Afghanistan war. So much for mental competence. October 7, 2001 wasn't president Obama's administration and it shows that the only way the GOP seems to able to operate is to blame the Bush and GOP problems on Obama. They are upset Obama didn't clean the GOP mess fast enough.

    September 7, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. BlkPwr817

    Ahhh....The chair speaks again!

    September 7, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. drivennail

    Romney is going to adlib just like Eastwood if he gets elected.

    September 7, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. John

    Clint Eastwood is an INCREDIBLY talented movie actor and director. However, this was clearly a mistake on Romney's behalf.

    September 7, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. stu

    Clint Eastwood, you just need to shut up already. You ruined our chance to get Mitt Romney elected with your stupidity and long winded skit that Americans didn't even get.

    September 7, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. Blackflag

    One of the biggest problems of the GOP, and the right in general, is their stubborn inability to admit when they have done something wrong. There was zero admission of the fact that Obama inherited the worst economy since the great depression, just like there was no admission from them that Clint Eastwood embarrassed himself and the part at the RNC. Anything that doesn't fit their delusional narrative is either ignored entirely or spun as something positive. They have to learn that independents and those in the center in general are not partisan ideologues but
    intelligent, thinking people who expect intelligence and thought from their elected officials. You cannot manipulate them by saying the sky is green and the grass is blue over and over. They will learn this lesson (again) in November.

    September 7, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Canada

    All the lefties down in the states is laughable. Obama is a great speaker but nothing else. He has done nothing.

    The blind leading the blind in a once great country.

    September 7, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Facts R Facts

    Clint wants another tax cut for himself. Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive. That is no hoax.

    September 7, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How old is Clint?
    So sad to see Clint reduced to incoherent ramblings and having his "lies/lines" fed to him.
    Oh well, another one bites the dust.

    September 7, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Patrick

    Clint Eastwood Did very well. He said what he wanted to say. It is still being read by Millions of people. He damaged Obama more than all the other speakers. What a brilliant man Clint is. Of course The Democrats did not like it. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it's good to hear. Think about it.

    September 7, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. Big_D

    It is sad to see Hollywood legends taken advantage of by the GOP in their fragile dementia years.

    September 7, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Brain Hertz

    "I can't tell him to do that to himself ... you're getting as bad as Biden ..."

    Of course the person who *actually* said what Eastwood was alluding to was Dick Cheney, on the Senate floor to Patrick Leahy. But, whatever...

    September 7, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. TheVoice2

    No, the biggest hoax was the Iraq war. Which points exactly to where we are today.

    September 7, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. NeoCon Joke

    A great example of poor judgement by the Romney folks. Without knowing what the result was going to be, they went down that road. I wonder how many other ill-conceived ideas they'd be willing to let fly with.

    September 7, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Sand Trap

    Old man yells at clouds.Story at 11.

    September 7, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Big_D

    Once a man twice a child, what a sad way for Dirty Harry to go.

    September 7, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," Eastwood continued
    "Mission Accomplished".
    "Mission Accomplished".
    "Mission Accomplished".
    Shut up. Sit down.

    September 7, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. indyreader

    Everybody at one time or another indulges in little fantasies where they figuratively put "on trial" someone they hate, or have some disagreement with. It's like rehearsing a conversation, thinking out in advance what to ask, what to say, etc. In these little fantasy situations, the "prosecutor" is always eloquent and dramatic (and usually sounds like Jimmy Stewart), and cuts the "defendant" to rhetorical ribbons, leaving them able to say only incriminating things about themselves, or else nothing at all. Needless to say, in the real world, with a real opponent to respond, the prosecutor can't come off with such unalloyed triumph.
    That fantasy seems to be exactly the scenario Clint Eastwood's little performance, and now the latest little RNC ad with the Obama cardboard cutout, play out. Vent spleen at the object of their abject hatred, without the risk of getting replied to till later. Maybe immediately satisfying, but ultimately more revealing of their own detachment from reality.

    September 7, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "Clint Eastwood pointed out the truth that Obama is a hoax. I guess truth hurts."

    Which is precisely why Eastwood has invented his delusions. It's called a defense mechanism.

    September 7, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. TheVoice2

    1st biggest hoax in U.S history- WMDs
    2nd- Trickle down economics
    3rd- Medicare vouchers

    September 7, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. Hap

    He became a mayor because his friend wanted to open an ice cream parlor and the town wouldn't let her, no kidding. So he ran, won and his friend got the ice cream parlor, what a guy. I love most of his movies but his politics are way out of touch. Average Joe? Only if the average Joe has a hundred million dollars or so in the bank. Nice try Clint but you left average about 40 years ago.

    September 7, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. Susan

    Having watched my father's ordeal with dementia, I wish his family would recognize what is going on with Clint and get him to a good neurologist. I recognized the early signs early in his speech....and wish someone in the Romney campaign staff had not been so star struck to fail to recognize it , too, and spared Clint this embarrassment.

    September 7, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. drivennail

    It was not lost on some that Clint's iconic "Make my Day" line is of a cop trying to goad a black man into trying something so the cop could kill him.

    September 7, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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