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Eastwood says his convention appearance was 'mission accomplished'
Carmel Pine Cone ^ | Sept. 7, 2012 | PAUL MILLER

Posted on 09/07/2012 7:11:59 AM PDT by Second Amendment First

AFTER A week as topic No. 1 in American politics, former Carmel Mayor Clint Eastwood said the outpouring of criticism from left-wing reporters and liberal politicians after his appearance at the Republican National Convention last Thursday night, followed by an avalanche of support on Twitter and in the blogosphere, is all the proof anybody needs that his 12-minute discourse achieved exactly what he intended it to.

“President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” Eastwood told The Pine Cone this week. “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.”

Breaking his silence

For five days after he thrilled or horrified the nation by talking to an empty chair representing Obama on the night Mitt Romney accepted the Republican nomination for president, Eastwood remained silent while pundits and critics debated whether his remarks, and the rambling way he made them, had helped or hurt Romney’s chances of winning in November.

But in a wide-ranging interview with The Pine Cone Tuesday, he said he had conveyed the messages he wanted to convey, and that the spontaneous nature of his presentation was intentional, too.

“I had three points I wanted to make,” Eastwood said. “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. But I didn’t make up my mind exactly what I was going to say until I said it.”

Eastwood’s appearance at the convention came after a personal request from Romney in August, soon after Eastwood endorsed the former Massachusetts governor at a fundraiser in Sun Valley, Idaho. But it was finalized only in the last week before the convention, along with an agreement to build suspense by keeping it secret until the last moment.

Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign aides asked for details about what Eastwood would say to the convention.

“They vett 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 recalled.

And while the Hollywood superstar has plenty of experience being adored by crowds, he said he hasn’t given a lot of speeches and admitted that, “I really don’t know how to.” He also hates using a teleprompter, so it was settled in his mind that when he spoke to the 10,000 people in the convention hall, and the millions more watching on television, he would do it extemporaneously.

“It was supposed to be a contrast with all the scripted speeches, because I’m Joe Citizen,” Eastwood said. “I’m a movie maker, but I have the same feelings as the average guy out there.”

Eastwood is a liberal on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion, but he has strongly conservative opinions about the colossal national debt that has accumulated while Obama has been president, his failure to get unemployment below 6 percent, and a host of other economic issues.

“Even people on the liberal side are starting to worry about going off a fiscal cliff,” Eastwood said.

Last minute decisions

But what — exactly — would he say to the Republican delegates about the $16 trillion national debt and 8.3 percent unemployment rate?

Friends and associates weren’t as much help as he had hoped.

“Everybody had advice for me, except the janitor,” Eastwood said.

Early Thursday morning, when Eastwood left San Jose Airport on a private jet headed for Florida, he was still making up his mind. And even with his appearance just a few hours away, all Eastwood could tell Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, and his aides, was “to reassure them that everything I would say would be nice about Mitt Romney.”

It was only after a quick nap in his hotel room a few blocks from the convention site, Eastwood said, that he mapped out his remarks — starting with his observation about politics in Hollywood, then challenging the president about the failure of his economic policies, and wrapping up by telling the public “they don’t have to worship politicians, like they were royalty or something.”

But even then, with just an hour before he appeared on stage, it still hadn’t occurred to Eastwood to use an empty chair as a stand-in for the president.

“I got to the convention site just 15 or 20 minutes before I was scheduled to go on,” he said. “That was fine, because everything was very well organized.”

After a quick trip through airport-style security, he was taken to a Green Room, where Archbishop Dolan of New York sought him out to say hello. Then he was taken backstage to wait for his cue. And that was when inspiration struck.

“There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down,” Eastwood said. “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.”

He asked a stagehand to take it out to the lectern while he was being announced.

“The guy said, ‘You mean you want it at the podium?’ and I said, ‘No, just put it right there next to it.’”

Then, with the theme song from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” as a musical introduction, and a huge picture of him as Josey Wales as the backdrop, Eastwood walked out to tremendous applause.

“The audience was super enthusiastic, and it’s always great when they’re with you instead of against you,” he said.

‘Enjoying themselves’

Speaking without any notes, Eastwood recalled the good feelings the whole nation had when Obama was elected, but said they had been dashed as the economy stayed in the doldrums despite massive stimulus spending. He decried the “stupid idea” of closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and putting terrorists on trial in New York City, joked about Vice President Joe Biden’s intellect and quizzed empty-chair Obama about what he says to people about his failed economic policies. He pretended Obama told Romney to do something “physically impossible” to himself, said it’s time to elect a “stellar businessman” as president instead of a lawyer, and, as a final point, told the people, “You own this country.”

When an elected official doesn’t “do the job, we’ve got to let ‘em go,” he said, and the crowd ate it up.

“They really seemed to be enjoying themselves,” Eastwood said.

Originally, he was told he could speak for six or seven minutes, and right before he went on, he was asked to keep it to five, but he said, “When people are applauding so much, it takes you 10 minutes to say five minutes’ worth.”

Also, there were no signals or cues of any kind, so “when you’re out there, it’s kind of hard to tell how much time is going by.”

He also said he was aware he hesitated and stumbled a bit, but said “that’s what happens when you don’t have a written-out speech.”

As he wrapped up his remarks, he was aware his presentation was “very unorthodox,” but that was his intent from the beginning, even if some people weren’t on board.

“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.”

Backstage, it was all congratulations and glad-handing, he said. And then he returned to the Green Room, where he listened to speeches by Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney. It wasn’t possible for him to watch the media coverage of his presentation.

But the country was listening as the television reporters and commentators covering his speech reacted to it. And they hated it.

“I have to say, as a fan, a movie fan, this was exceedingly strange. It just seemed like a very strange, unscripted moment,” said a shocked Andrea Mitchell on NBC.

“That was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen at a political convention in my entire life,” said Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, barely concealing the condescension in her voice.

Bob Schieffer of CBS said it was “a big mistake to put Clint Eastwood on before Mitt Romney.” On the Washington Post website, reporter Chris Cillizza wrote that “‘awkward’ may be the kindest term we can think of” to describe Eastwood’s speech.

“He hemmed. He hawed. He mumbled. He rambled,” Cillizza wrote.

And on CNN, Piers Morgan said Eastwood was “going bonkers” on the stage and said his presentation “looked like complete chaos.” He pressured his guests with questions like, “Weren’t you in pain while he was up there?”

But Eastwood wasn’t aware of any of it, and after the speeches were over, Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, came backstage to thank him.

“They were very enthusiastic, and we were all laughing,” Eastwood said.

When he went outside to his car, a large crowd cheered and chanted lines from his speech.

An overnight rebellion

Back at his hotel, Eastwood had a room service dinner and went to bed. The next morning, he got up early and went straight to the airport, still unaware that his appearance was the No. 1 political topic in the nation.

“I read the Tampa newspaper, and every article said something negative about the convention, but there wasn’t much about me,” Eastwood said.

He had no idea that overnight, a rebellion had erupted online against the media’s condemnation of him, with thousands of bloggers, Twitterers and commentators calling him, “a genius,” “1,000 times more brilliant than the media,” and saying he’s “only gotten better with age.”

They also started posting their own versions of Eastwood’s empty chair in droves (“eastwooding”), and, on YouTube, replays of his remarks at the convention were being viewed millions of times.

Even into his 80s, Eastwood has an unprecedented record of success in Hollywood, and is still making two movies a year. He’s currently starring in “Trouble with the Curve,” and is about to direct a remake of “A Star is Born” — things he obviously couldn’t do if he were a befuddled senior citizen. To locals who know him, the idea that he is uninformed or senile is laughable.

Nevertheless, the bitter criticism has continued.

On Tuesday, Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, called Eastwood “the perfect icon of the Republican tea party: an angry old white man spewing incoherent nonsense.”

Eastwood said people, including reporters, who were shocked by his remarks “are obviously on the left,” and he maintained that, while many Americans didn’t like the way he handled his convention appearance, millions more have something else on their minds.

“A lot of people are realizing they had the wool pulled over their eyes by Obama,” Eastwood said.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 09/07/2012 7:12:02 AM PDT by Second Amendment First
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To: Second Amendment First

and Harry is still bashing the liar in chief


2 posted on 09/07/2012 7:13:24 AM PDT by The Wizard (Madam President is my President now and in the future)
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To: Second Amendment First

Wow! Clint is an ad lib genius! The Miles Davis of convention speech politics! Yeah!!!


3 posted on 09/07/2012 7:20:35 AM PDT by ConservativeDude
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To: Second Amendment First
Clint said exactly what I've been thinking: the people that really needed to hear his "talk" understood exactly what he was saying.

The people that have been ridiculing him understood it, too. That's why they are attacking him, because they can't attack what he said.

It was an unorthodox presentation, but Clint got his point across.

4 posted on 09/07/2012 7:28:04 AM PDT by justlurking (The only remedy for a bad guy with a gun is a good WOMAN (Sgt. Kimberly Munley) with a gun)
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To: Second Amendment First
the outpouring of criticism from left-wing reporters and liberal politicians after his appearance at the Republican National Convention last Thursday night, followed by an avalanche of support on Twitter and in the blogosphere, is all the proof anybody needs that his 12-minute discourse achieved exactly what he intended it to.

Precisely.

We've been blessed with some good conservative actors: Clint, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan.

5 posted on 09/07/2012 7:32:12 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Communist Party = Democrats. Socialist Party = Republicans. WE NEED A CAPITALIST FREEDOM PARTY!)
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To: Second Amendment First

The Democrats merely preached to the choir during their convention, the people who are already going to vote for Obama loved it, but in terms of converting undecideds, it was a disaster.

That’s why Eastwood was such a master stroke, he was the voice of the Centrist undecided voter. And he made the case to them with devastating effectiveness.

And that was the difference between the two conventions, the Democrats’ convention was a “Yay Us!” celebration amongst themselves, while the GOP Convention was meant more for the undecideds.


6 posted on 09/07/2012 7:34:21 AM PDT by dfwgator (I'm voting for Ryan and that other guy.)
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To: Second Amendment First
My take on Clint Esatwood’s appearance was that it was stunningly successful. Yeah, you weren't quite sure where he was going and that kept you on the edge of your seat, but the effect of what Eastwood did cannot be overstated.

Eastwood's remarks had the effect of an actor breaking the fourth wall in a movie, only in this case, Clint broke the fourth wall in politics. Eastwood made it acceptable to ridicule Obama and to acknowledge that Obama is a failure.

In all the protestations you heard about Clint Eastwood's remarks not one person — not one — called Clint Eastwood a racist.

Clint Eastwood broke the fourth wall in politics and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan ought to be ever grateful because Clint Eastwood's remarks broke the dam that will lead to the landslide in November.

7 posted on 09/07/2012 7:37:11 AM PDT by Obadiah (The Hunger Games -- Obama's vision for America)
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To: dfwgator

Is anyone selling “I (heart) Clint” tee shirts yet?? I want one.


8 posted on 09/07/2012 7:38:20 AM PDT by IM2MAD
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To: Second Amendment First

Thanks for sharing.


9 posted on 09/07/2012 7:39:06 AM PDT by angelsonmyside (Pray for our Country, we need it now more than ever.)
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To: Second Amendment First
On Tuesday, Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, called Eastwood “the perfect icon of the Republican tea party: an angry old white man spewing incoherent nonsense.”

Idiot! Not too much hatred in that statement.

10 posted on 09/07/2012 7:40:25 AM PDT by ConservativeStatement (Obama "acted stupidly.")
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To: Second Amendment First

Now, that is a real man making a real speech from the heart. Anything from a teleprompter is contrived and written by others in dark conference rooms with a thesarus.


11 posted on 09/07/2012 7:42:10 AM PDT by crusty old prospector
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To: Second Amendment First; ConservativeDude
I never thought I'd see the Pine Cone used for a source on FR. I used to think of it as an advertising sheet aimed at tourists with a screwball police report thrown in. I will have to reconsider. I also better see if I can find a copy of this issue as a collector's item.

"The Miles Davis of convention speakers." That is good. And perceptive.

12 posted on 09/07/2012 7:42:40 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson ("Every nation has the government that it deserves." - Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821))
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To: Lazamataz

I will add to that list:

John Wayne.

They have preserved the conservative ethics and mores in our popular culture during some very difficult times and have done so with grace and gentlemany behavior.

Mr Eastwood’s address at the RNC Convention was one of the truly great political addresses in our history. Positively devastating to Obama and the Democrat party.


13 posted on 09/07/2012 7:42:51 AM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: Obadiah

You put it quite well.


14 posted on 09/07/2012 7:44:42 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Communist Party = Democrats. Socialist Party = Republicans. WE NEED A CAPITALIST FREEDOM PARTY!)
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To: Obadiah

“In all the protestations you heard about Clint Eastwood’s remarks not one person — not one — called Clint Eastwood a racist.”

When people use the phrase “angry old white man” instead of saying angry old man, you can be sure there is racism. They maybe didn’t have the courage to call Eastwood a racist to his face, but the implication is still there.


15 posted on 09/07/2012 8:00:30 AM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Second Amendment First
But the country was listening as the television reporters and commentators covering his speech reacted to it. And they hated it.

Laughable, this article's sources for "reporters and commentators". Andrea Mitchell, Rachel Maddow, Bob Schieffer, Chris Cillizza and Piers Morgan, all proud supporters of the Obama Campaign.

16 posted on 09/07/2012 8:04:50 AM PDT by Rational Thought
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To: Obadiah
Even more so, for years he has been the iconic one liner guy verbally eviserating the bad guys with with the likes of "do you feel lucky punk?" So much so others do it too, Willis, Ahhhnold etc.

But with his iconic status, he could verbally gobsmack Obama and get away with it, no one else could, what we had the the duplex complexity of is this the actor talking or a conservative in his off time saying this? Either way it was so out of the box it sent the likes of Maddow for a loop... IMHO It was his metaphorical Dirty Harry calling the anointed one a punk, just like he has been telling bad guys what he thinks for years in so many ways...

17 posted on 09/07/2012 8:10:26 AM PDT by taildragger (( Palin / Mulally 2012 ))
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To: Second Amendment First
A lot of people are realizing they had the wool pulled over their eyes by Obama,” Eastwood said.

And too many never should have in the first place. But this is good news.

18 posted on 09/07/2012 8:23:42 AM PDT by nicmarlo
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To: Lazamataz
We've been blessed with some good conservative actors: Clint, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan.

Laz? You alright? You FORGOT The Duke!? And that BEAUTIFUL hunk, Tom Selleck?

*fanning myself*

19 posted on 09/07/2012 8:29:41 AM PDT by FrogMom (There is no such thing as an honest democrat!)
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To: nicmarlo
To All:

View this video...a re-mix of the Eastwood GOP speech and parts of the Superbowl advert

A gritty...Gut Wrenching 2 mins and 39 seconds...

Eastwood Reloaded (for bear)

Enjoy and propagate.

20 posted on 09/07/2012 8:33:44 AM PDT by spokeshave (The only people better off today than 4 years ago are the Prisoners at Guantanamo.)
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To: Second Amendment First
Eastwood: PR genius!

As Rush comments...people are *still* talking about it and it's been a week!

Eastwood ad-libed it all! freakin' brilliant.

“There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down,” Eastwood said. “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.”

He asked a stagehand to take it out to the lectern while he was being announced.

“The guy said, ‘You mean you want it at the podium?’ and I said, ‘No, just put it right there next to it.’”


21 posted on 09/07/2012 11:18:10 AM PDT by Daffynition (Our forefathers would be shooting by now.)
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