Clint Eastwood calls President Obama ‘greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people’
By CNN Political Unit
(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.
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.
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