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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

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. AE

    Maybe Clint did not want anybody to tap into his millions and pry them from his cold dead hands???? He is dead??? right....

    September 7, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Big_D

    Why was Clint Eastwood yelling at the empty chair while the guy that actually started the Afghanistan war was in the room?

    September 7, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Elmer117

    Dang! All I could think is, man, Clint is OLD.

    September 7, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. mike electrician

    His song in Paint Your wagon "I talk to the trees" parlayed the future..LOL.. "I don't know what I am going to say"...You think!!, Too bad MITT won't be able to debate an empty chair. He is going to get OWNED by Obama. MITT flip flops more than a pro wresting match.

    September 7, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. BE in TN

    clint has no clue what he said; but he didnt intentionally lie so why did they ask him to "speak"

    September 7, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. dee

    What is the big hype. Eastwood is just an actor. In the words of Harrison Ford, "It's not brain surgery!" He should never have been up there. It was not a course in stand up comedy.

    September 7, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Knowbuddy

    "...but I was aiming for people in the middle."

    The middle of the far right?

    September 7, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Nathan

    Democrats are so silly.

    September 7, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Ana

    I never liked Eastwood's Spaghetti Westerns the same as I didn't like his act at the DNC. He sounded amateurish and uninteresting. All he did was waste time and tarnish his iconic mistique?

    September 7, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. RandyKC

    Clint Eastwood aims for the middle, misses, hits two extreme right wing members of the Tea Party instead. One exclaimed as he was being carried to the ambulance, "You made my day!" He was proclaimed to be brain dead on arrival at St. Mary's hospital, later to be released and sent home.

    September 7, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Jim8

    Eastwood made himself look bad, and the rest of the Republican Party too. They should have vetted his speech (and you now they will in the future.)

    I like listening to someone I might disagree with. If they make a good point I might reconsider my stance, if they fail to make a good point I'm pretty sure I was right all along.

    If they have no point except name calling, I'm sure they are wrong.

    September 7, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. Morgan Hill

    Clint Eastwood's real colors are exposed. He is just another old rich white crazy man. I used to admire him, now I know that it's time for him to stay off stage cause he has nothing valuable to say. Maybe his RNC side show will be part of Dina's reality show. C. Eastwood could have done so much good for romney, he missed his chance.

    September 7, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Mario - OHIO

    I wasn't offended by what Clint "Make My Day" Eastwood said during the GOP convention in Tampa. I saw the video clips and thought it was amusing in a quirky way. He has as much right to voice his opinions as anyone else in this country. I don't begrudge him to be a conservative or for prefering Robo Romney/Two-face Ryan to the Democratic ticket. I disagree with his take that Obama is the greatest hoax perpetrated against the American people, because 1) it makes the assumption that we Americans are a bunch of dumb citizens who can't tell right from wrong, and 2) it falls into hyperbole, which is not helpful anyway.

    September 7, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. don in albuquerque

    Hey NoMoBama, you might want to be careful about saying who owned who. Your true self is showing.

    September 7, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. NYbywayofTexas

    Clint, you are sorely out of touch with reality. I will watch reruns of your movies on cable and admire the characters you have created. I did not know you were so adept at comedy? However, your recent RNC appearance inspires sympathetic disappointment. You talking to an empty chair only makes the RNC look desperate and you looked pathetic. You were once GOOD and then went BAD and now it's just UGLY.

    September 7, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Darryl

    Clint sure seemed to get under the skin of all the liberals looking at the world through rose colored glasses....

    September 7, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. sadcon

    Why the complains he epitomized what the rich far right always want for their leaders. Clueless,Demented and with low IQ's so they can have small government lorded by slow minded people.

    September 7, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Sasha

    I thought Clint Eastwood was hilarious and funny.
    As for all these fairy tales told by Politicians , snickering and smirking at the opposition and Bill Clinton shaking his finger at us , now that I found offensive.
    All I wanted to hear during these conventions was how they were going to deal with the national debt , create private not public sector jobs and definitely want to know how they are going to pay for all the promises.
    Sadly we heard the same rhetoric.

    September 7, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. Jarod

    I will never go see one of his movies again, either as actor or producer. Really sad, this one coming up looks like it might be a good one.

    September 7, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. commonsense

    Clint is a closet racist, that needs to stick with acting. The omly thing hes is good. at, because it sure isn't critiqing Obama.

    September 7, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. pete

    somebody should remind clint and the rest of you in denial ,bush should of checked with the russians .

    September 7, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. iceandsnow3

    I am amazed that Eastwood truly believes that Obama is a "hoax". I thought that Clint was a kind, average joe (who made it big in the movies) with a real head on his shoulders.....until this year's Republican convention. He should stick to acting and directing films and keep out of the political arena. You know what they say...."there's no fool like an old fool." He is on the verge of the 1st stages of senility.

    September 7, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. BinaryTooth

    But I don't want a job. I want Obama to may everyone PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE so I can site back all day, toss back a few cold ones, and light up a couple packs of smokes. Obama will give me welfare and foodstamps so I can head on down to the Quick-E-Mart and buy some beer and smokes with MY money!!!!!

    Obama 2012

    September 7, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. papanez

    Just another republican who cannot relate to the average American. It's too bad Clint, that the overwhelming majority of those laughing were laughing AT you not with you.

    September 7, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. matt

    Hilarious that he is speaking for the common person when he has millions in the bank and is too arrogant to even prepare a smart speech in advance or tell anybody what he wanted to talk about. He is FAR from the common man, like MANY Republicans. Arrogant.

    September 7, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32