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. John Hix

    As far as what the GOP hates about Obama? Follow the money. As far as director Eastwood. My respect has gone South as he joins the likes of Hank Junior.

    September 7, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Orso

    They had to ask Eastwood to speak at their convention even when they did not know what was he going to say because they are running out of celebrities to agree with them. I like him, he makes good movies, and he was my cowboy hero when I was young, but he should concentrate on movie making, because politics is not his strenght.

    September 7, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Gilbert David

    Clint whom I regarded as man has graduated himself by removing the "n" from his name. Good bye and my advise for you – Think of the nether world rather than this at your age. GROW UP!!

    September 7, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Billy in NYC

    GOP does not want Clint to speak any more. Can someone give him a chair to SIT and just breathe til November 7, 2012?

    September 7, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Bob

    I believe Clint Eastwood and Chuck Norris have both gone off the deep end. Especially Chuck with his "1,000 years of darkness will come if President Obama is re-elected" video.

    September 7, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. U.S. Citizen

    I like Eastwood's movies and while his delivery was a bit bizarre, I thought it was funny and he got a lot of Repub talking points in. However, he seemed to be at odds with Romney on Iraq and with both candidates on Afghanistan. Nevertheless, I'm really disappointed with his joining in on the Repub vitriol by calling Obama a hoax.

    Obama, despite his newly found populist rhetoric, is still a corporatist if you look at his actions and Romney is a regressive, uber corporatist. It's too bad that Eastwood doesn't see this. Obama isn't great but he's better than Romney. Since voting Reub is not an option for me and the other alternatives to voting for Obama are not viable, I will hold my nose, keep my eyes open and vote for Obama.

    September 7, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Rbnlegnd101

    Arguing with an empty chair is taking the straw man to an extreme. He made the RNC crowd laugh, yes. But the moderates? No, it just looked like another republican bashing the President for being on the other team. Did he say anything meaningful? No. Give us new information? No. A new viewpoint? No. He didn't say a single word intended to convince. He entertained his audience very effectively, but then he did have an easy room. Everyone in the room was republican, except the hired help, 99% of the room was white, and the vast majority of them were over 40. That's an easy crowd to get a laugh out of, especially when you are Clint Eastwood. He could have done a slide show of old garfield and charlie brown comics and gotten a laugh.

    September 7, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. fastrack1

    Ol' Clint just might have been a better choice over having Dubya speak. Neither one can make my day.

    September 7, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. hot air warrior

    When the talk is all about Clint and not about Romney, we know there are deep problems with the Republican ticket. The Republican Ryan/ Romney( Oh sorry, it's Romney/ Ryan ) ticket is as emplty as that chair. Mitt show your taxes!!!

    September 7, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Uncle Joe

    Interesting how the left-wing media and their fellow travelers keeps on bringing up Clint Eastwood's skit at the RNC and his age (82)yet fails to point out how many gaffes Vice President Biden has made over the past few months; or more importantly how President Obama's comments are carbon copies of remarks he made four years ago when running for office.

    Let's get off Eastwood's case and instead concentrate on the important issue impacting Americans: Like unemployment, health care, college loans and the economy.

    September 7, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Mark

    Dude doesn't care what anybody, left or right, thinks. Just spoke his mind and walked off. Probably the smartest person to speak at either of the conventions....

    September 7, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. bear79

    you know what the real joke on the american people is? Convincing the poor and middle class that tax cuts for the wealthy will benefit them.

    September 7, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. travisgentry

    This pretty much sums up the Romney campaign. An out of touch old man talking to an empty chair.

    September 7, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. SS in VA

    I believe that everyone has lost sight of the fact that ALL politicians lie. I don't care what side you are on. They look at the people that they are supposed to work for and think we are all idiots. The best hope we can have is to pick the one that will most possibly help us and go for it and hope you guessed correctly. Nothing is ever going to suit everyone. This country got into trouble when working class people couldn't get a job or get a raise while out elected officials could vote themselves a raise whenever they wanted. Right now this country is being run by a bunch of crooks who want things their way or no way and there will never be an end to it.

    September 7, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Do you know what a hoax is? Webster Dictionary describes a hoax as something that is "FICTION" and we all know that Clint Eastwood made a career out of fiction or in other words, a big old hoax!!!

    September 7, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. flowersunshineandgymsocks

    Mr. Eastwood may be suffering from early dementia and it is sad to watch it when it makes a spectacle in public gatherings. Romney/Ryan should not use a person who is having trouble mentally just because that person is an American Icon.
    Ryan lies so much he has to get someone else to call his dog....Jed Clampet from The Beverely Hillbillies.

    September 7, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. edog

    Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction is the biggest Hoax on the American People!!!

    Thousands of American soldiers died, and 1 Trillion dollars later, this actor thinks Obama is the biggest Hoax on America???

    September 7, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. clarke

    So don't blame GOP, they didn't vet him.

    September 7, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. serdich

    Debating an empty chair and he lost.. pathetic.

    September 7, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    All that was lacking was Eastwood calling Obama "boy" during his condescending, borderline disorder tyrade.

    September 7, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Norm

    This is the problem with the right wing fanatics that have taken over the republican party.
    They live in a time when Clint Eastwood was a big movie star.
    Also why they worship Reagan.
    It's time to put this old nonesense behind us and look to the future.
    The future always scares republicans because they can't control it and they can't accept the fact that they are now the minority.

    September 7, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Devasting economic news articles = hardly any comments.
    Clint Eastwood article = hundreds of comments.

    So nice to see where people's priorities are.

    September 7, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. HEHE

    "This pretty much sums up the Romney campaign. An out of touch old man talking to an empty chair."


    September 7, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. jinx88

    This guy looks crazy, a perfect fit for the Repugs.

    September 7, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Nate68


    September 7, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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