Eastwood in bizarre Romney endorsement

2012-08-31 12:24

Tampa - Hollywood tough guy Clint Eastwood made a bizarre cameo on Thursday at the Republican convention, veering into a surreal conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama represented by an empty chair.

His off-colour and at times rambling performance spawned an immediate debate on the Twittersphere between Republicans, who broadly loved it, and Democrats who said the 82-year-old multiple Oscar winner had clearly lost his marbles.

A raucous roar went up from the thousands of delegates as Eastwood, looking frailer than the gunslinging cowboys he portrayed in his spaghetti Western heyday, stood onstage and grilled the imaginary Obama for failing to revive a flagging economy.

"I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem," Eastwood said during an address in which he taunted vice president Joe Biden and talked about the detention centre at Guantanamo.

Disillusioned by Obama

The Oscar-winning director of Million-Dollar Baby and star of Spaghetti Westerns like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly looked down several times at the empty chair, as if he was listening to Obama criticise Republican presidential nominee Romney, whom Eastwood has endorsed.

"He can't do that to himself. You're absolutely crazy!" the actor/director responded.

"You're getting as bad as Biden. Biden is the intellect in the Democratic Party. It's just kind of a grin with a body behind it."

"And I thought, well closing Gitmo, why close that, we spent so much money on it. But, I thought maybe as an excuse - what do you mean shut up?" he said to laughter from the crowd.

Eastwood spoke about how he had been moved by Obama's message of hope and change in 2008, but then grew disillusioned by failed policies and Obama's inability to reduce the unemployment rate below eight percent.

"I think it may be time for, what do you think, maybe a businessman," said Eastwood, referring to Romney, who became fabulously wealthy as a successful private equity investor.

"When somebody does not do the job, you've gotta let them go," he said of Obama, as he then drew a finger sharply across his throat.

The awkwardness of Eastwood's rant seemed magnified given that he was taking up a prime spot on the climactic day of the convention that nominated Romney as the challenger against Obama in the November 6 election.

Crowd enjoyed it

But the Romney campaign insisted there was no harm, no foul.

"Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn't work," a spokesperson for the campaign said in a statement.

"His ad-libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it."

Clint's 12-minute appearance exploded Twitter and other social media, where the fad suddenly slapped with the hashtag #Eastwooding" -- in which people post photos of empty chairs - spread like wildfire.

Obama himself got into the act, tweeting "This seat's taken" to his 19 million followers and attaching a link to a fundraising web page.

The social media commentary grew so fast, with tweets from celebrities and unknowns alike, that several websites compiled best-of lists of Eastwood remarks.

"I still like Clint Eastwood," tweeted writer and comedian Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff).

"A crazy Republican talking to a chair is the least harm a crazy Republican has done in ages."

  • johanna.vandokkum - 2012-08-31 12:43

    Your article is so prejudiced that I did not recognise the description when I watched the video. I think Eastwood was charming, interesting, clever and to the point.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-08-31 13:06

      Agree completely.

      ken.rowe.509 - 2012-08-31 13:20

      I could not agree more.

      bizarro.jerri - 2012-08-31 13:31

      Wow, you are either incredibly blind or incredibly dumb...sadly, as is quite obvious from the video, he was madder than a bag of cats on tik. Such a shame that the legacy Eastwood has built himself over 50+ years is now tainted by being made to stand up for and endorse a rich buffoon with delusions of grandeur.

      mark.barker.370 - 2012-08-31 14:13

      @bizaro.jerri - only buffoon here is you , how can you accuse Romney who has built up a multi billion dollar business , organised the Olympics and run a state as Governor. Obama's only claim to fame is his race - he trades off it and if he was white he would never have been elected. The man is a light weight with zero executive experience or gravitas and it shows in his track record. The only reason he is still in the race is because he is black.

      grant.hide - 2012-08-31 15:27

      I think a few countries could learn from this. :)

      paul.lotter - 2012-08-31 17:18

      I digged this video! "make my day"

  • robbie.crouch - 2012-08-31 14:04

    I liked it... very clever satire way above the Dems heads.

  • eugene.brink.9 - 2012-08-31 15:26

    This article is bizarre. What the newsmedia won't contrive for a bit of sensation. I thougt his speech was candid en entertaining, despite some of the senior moments in it ;)

  • zaatheist - 2012-08-31 15:44

    Eastwood is a has been. The Rethuglicans are has beens. That's it.

  • marco.jomes - 2012-08-31 15:46

    The problem is with both sides. They spend more time mocking each other like kids on the playground, than actually proposing solutions. Americans needs to come together as Americans, not as Republicans and Democrats who are perpetually taking 10 second clips from speeeches where words can be taken completely out of context. Both sides are guilty. If you can, try watch Cory Booker (mayor of Newark, NJ) get interviewed by Piers Morgan a couple of weeks ago. He's a guy that "gets it", and begs the politicians to leave the childish tactics at home and get on with the job.

  • pisciotta - 2012-08-31 17:55

    Wow - why is USA politics of interest in SA? Americans don't even think about SA much less care. Why is America so intersting in SA?

      fishycraig - 2012-09-01 04:25

      I know why it is important to me. 20-30% of my business are Americans. The rest are Europeans, Asians and locals. If the American market is doing well then the rest do well. Then they have money to come to SA. Do I want someone who supports Occupy Wall Street? Who is divisive when it comes to class warfare? No. I want someone who will boost America so they can make money, come here, spend it freely so myself and my workers can be prosperous. I thought Obama would do that but frankly he has been such a weak president. Do I care if the president is a Mormon? Do I care if Americans can or can't have abortions? That doesn't impact me. SA will do well with a strong America. Whether you like them or not.

  • gerrit.volschenk - 2012-08-31 19:15

    What a pathetic attempt by an "journalist" who is too scared to show his name to insult an icon who is practicing his democratic right to support his party.

  • will.oosthuizen - 2012-08-31 19:54

    Eastwood nailed it and I think Biden is the bigger joke! Not all actors in Hollywood are Clooney and Longoria followers as the liberal media would like us to believe! Clint Eastwood is an icon who brought the truth about the Obamanation to the forefront in a funny way! Excellent!

  • johan.jacobs.5680 - 2012-08-31 21:59

    Still like you Dirty Harry.

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