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. LouisaF

    Yes, it was bad, but in all fairness Clint isn't famous because of his killer standup routine. (Full disclosure: Politically progressive.)

    September 8, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  2. ClintFan

    Extremely amusing all these democrats "exposing" Eastwood. You do know that about 90% of Hollywood are democrats who often speak out of turn?

    September 8, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  3. 2tired2care

    Old people tend to get weird. Eastwood is a perfect example of that.

    September 8, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. Jim

    I thought Eastwood;s performance was in very bad taste. It seemed to be Dirty Harry messing on both political parties. It came across as an awkward clash of theater or comedy improvisation with the nation's political life. As someone who leans towards the democratic ticket I am glad he made that mess at the Republican convention. And, I am a fan of Eastwood, the actor and director.

    September 8, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  5. skip

    How refreshing.. the GOP allowed Mr. Eastwood to exercise his right to free speech, and people listened and knew it was genuine. It was very much a very creative and impromptu speech, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Give it up.. using ridicule to silence your opposition will not work with Clint Eastwood as it might with others. God bless him.

    September 8, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. Mary

    Typical liberal responses, go see the movie "2016" – Then come back and re-post ! But, of course that won't happen, because you liberals are afraid of the truth, open your minds, see what is happening to what used to be the greatest country in the world

    September 8, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. David

    Eastwood couldn't even manage to string a few words together. Eastwood said he didn't think it was good for a lawyer to be a President (reference to Obama having graduated from Harvard Law), but Romney also is a lawyer! Can't even get his facts right!

    September 8, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  8. tullymd

    I believe he is demented. Within a year the diagnosis will be public knowledge. I believe the Republicans are purposely throwing the election. Their behavior is so consistently self destructive, there is no other plausible conclusion.

    September 8, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. PTBarnumboy

    Oh give Clint a break people. He's just your average millionaire who gave us his opinion. So what???

    September 8, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |

    i would rather watch eastwood ramble here and there on occasion than watch Barney the Frank slobber on himself anytime...

    September 8, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. jfackler1979

    Look at all these Democrats getting on here that drank the Kool-Aid. Very Sad! Very sad indeed! Just one point to make. 8.3 percent unemployment is NOT better than 4.7. Obama and Bill Clinton need to work on their arithmatic.

    September 8, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  12. alan

    more people commented on this story than actually watch cnn. reminds me of an election when dead dem's vote and community organizers "help" dementia patients vote. hahahahah!

    September 8, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. jwalk

    did it ever occur he is in the top 1% and isnt buying in to Obama's fair share.
    call it what ever you want.....but I bet Obama isn't coming for your hard earned money with both barrels drawn.

    September 8, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Mangro

    Im glad Eastwood stood up and told the truth, and it is the truth....Obama is a hoax and a fraud. You can put lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig. Worst president ever, he's an embarrassment.

    September 8, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  15. Curt

    16 trillion. That should be the focus of every discussion. If your household is deep in debt and struggling, you focus on the debt first. You dont discuss what you will give to your neighbors or favorite charity, you focus on that issue first. I like President Obama. I believe he has great ideas and a charismatic persona. But, he exacerbates the issue. I dont really like Mr. Romney. I do like Ryan however. At least they trend towards focusing in the right area. I am middle of the road, and still undecided. If either candidate can start focusing first on how to bring back jobs and rduce he debt, theres my Huckleberry. Political analysts, take note. I am not alone. I am merely tired of running full tilt with little or no gain. My give is gone.

    September 8, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. Bill in VT

    It's simple logic. The GOP promises to give the rich a tax break so the rich spend money now to get the money later. Old man Clint has money and wants to keep it. His health looked poor and his mind sounded out of touch with reality. He has claimed to favor environmentalism but the GOP sees that as a problem for business.They will decimate any regs they can to make it easier for business to make more money and if business pollutes, too bad. He has overlooked how the GOP wants to let business do what it wants while they manage our bodies, especially women. His views of foreign policy are stuck in World War 2 with those of the GOP. He certainly won't care how little his voucher is when the GOP turns Medicare into a business party. And look at that lily white audience compared to the DNC party. What a shame!

    September 8, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. Gimmeabreak!

    Clint is so right. Obama is a hoax perpetrated on the American people. Some of us knew this on Day One. Sadly, some of you won't acknowledge it until this country is in total ruin. Idiots!

    September 8, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. amy smith

    Bill Clinton said he wished he had the

    brass to take out BIN LADEN ,, HEY BILL

    you had no problem taking out DAVID KORESH

    and hundreds of innocent children.. No

    problem ordering the attack on RANDY

    WEAVER and his wife at Ruby Ridge..No

    problem taking out MONICA LEWINSKI.

    September 8, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. Diane

    In my day, when someone started talking to an empty chair it was time to put them in a home.

    September 8, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. JOE L.

    Eastwood is Hollywood-actor, director and simply wrote what seemed a hollywood project script. Unfortunitely, American views the Republican party ahd non wavering conservitives- the keel and anchor on a ship – it only goes one way and stops before it makes a turn...we expect boring rhetoric ...but at least he tried to put a new spin on it... it was a bit too abstract and unexpected-thats the real problem. He's a great actor and director and its his own hard non wavering work that got him where he is ...shame it came off that way. Charleston Heston, John Wayne, hell even Tom Selleck is more of whats expected... I didn't like it, but hell, they wanted something different.-but that was like asking Don Rickles to give communion at a Catholic Mass..LOL!

    September 8, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Joe Nanney

    It is unfortunate that an American film icon is destroying his own legacy. He doesn't know what he's talking about, and he simply looks foolish.

    September 8, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. Chuck

    Obama is an empty suit; representing him with an empty chair seems fitting.

    September 8, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  23. Rick Former Marine

    Still love Clint, but as a 200 year old man, he's not much fun. The GOP is the hoax. Their "platform" makes Hope and Change look like a detailed plan to save the world. They're going to lead. Us straight into a massive recession and being hated by all people of the world. Triple the military budget! Cut taxes which will somehow pay for it. Their economic theory has never worked and their policies on taxes were created by a 12-year old.

    September 8, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  24. Rick Former Marine

    We don't care what you're extremist politics are. Keep making good movies, though.

    September 8, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. majaha

    But isn't it natural for any joe citizen with nearly 400 million in assets to take aim at the varmint poised to tax the bejesus out of him?

    September 8, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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