Clint Eastwood Yells At Chair (Video)

When the news broke that Republicans would use Clint Eastwood as a “mystery speaker” at the Republican National Convention, most observers shrugged. It wasn’t viewed as a terrible move, but neither was it seen as a game-changer. No doubt, the actor-director would say some bland things supporting Romney, and maybe plug his new movie. The morning shows would use the video of Eastwood speaking as a background visual, and soon enough, people would forget it.

After Eastwood’s speech, nobody was shrugging.

Eastwood gave a rambling, off-color and at times angry address, at one point arguing with an imaginary President Barack Obama in an empty chair placed on stage. Eastwood went over time, off-script, and overshadowed Mitt Romney on a night that was supposed to re-introduce the GOP presidential candidate to the nation.

“So I — so I’ve got Mr. Obama sitting here.  And he’s — I was going to ask him a couple of questions,” Eastwood said. “remember three and a half years ago, when Mr. Obama won the election. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles. They were saying, I just thought, this was great. Everybody is crying, Oprah was crying.”

Eastwood continued, “I was even crying.  And then finally — and I haven’t cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million
unemployed people in this country.”

Eastwood’s unemployment figure was over by 10 million, but this was not a speech that called for fact-checking; this was a speech that called for cringing, which even Republican Gov. Scott Walker admitted to doing.

Eastwood ad-libbed most of his address. Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told CNN that Eastwood had been given a script, but decided not to follow it.

Instead, Eastwood began arguing with an invisible, inaudible Obama.

“So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them?” Eastwood asked. “I mean, what do you say to people?  Do you just — you know – I know — people were wondering — you don’t — handle that OK. Well, I know even people in your own party were very disappointed when you didn’t close Gitmo.  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?”

Eastwood did not take invisible Obama’s advice, however, and continued rambling, at one point saying, “I wondered about when the — what do you want me to tell Romney?  I can’t tell him to do that.  I can’t tell him to do that to himself. You’re crazy, you’re absolutely crazy.  You’re getting as bad as Biden.”

Eastwood’s speech wandered badly off the policy reservation, when Eastwood seemed to suggest that it would be better to bring American troops home from Afghanistan now than wait for a draw-down, as Obama has proposed. Romney has opposed any timeline for bringing troops home.

Eastwood also said that he “never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to be president, anyway,” and that, “it is maybe time — what do you think — for maybe a businessman.  How about that?”

Romney has a degree from Harvard Law School, and Eastwood probably didn’t mean to reference our last businessman-president, George W. Bush.

Eastwood wasn’t just rambling. He was also threatening. At one point, he said, “When somebody doesn’t do the job, you gotta let ‘em go,” and then made a throat-slashing gesture. He also said angrily, “I would just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen. Something that I think is very important.  It is that, you, we – we own this country.”

Delivered to the invisible, inaudible Obama, the line had more than a hint of racism, an insistence that somehow, Obama had taken the country from its rightful owners.

Eastwood finished with a call-and-response, “Go ahead, make my day!”

Mockery, Condemnation, Befuddlement

Reaction to the speech was swift and overwhelming. On MSNBC, a nonplussed Rachel Maddow called the address “the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen at a political convention in my entire life, and it will be the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen if I live to be 100.”

Film critic Roger Ebert called the speech “sad,” tweeting that Eastwood “didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.”

The American Prospect’s Jamelle Bouie tweeted, “This is a perfect representation of the campaign: an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama.”

The criticism was not limited to the political left. CNN commentator Erick Erickson said Eastwood was “very entertaining, but holy hell it is weird.”

Steve Schmidt, who managed the presidential campaign of John McCain, said that coverage of Romney’s speech would “be cut into tomorrow in the coverage because of the sloppy Clint Eastwood decision.”

The Romney campaign tried to put the best face on the speech, saying it “can’t be measured through a typical political lens.” The Obama campaign declined comment, though they did get in a dig. Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said by email that they were “referring all questions on this to Salvador Dalí,” the late surrealist painter.

Perhaps the most amusing reaction came from the newly-minted Twitter feed of InvisibleObama, who wondered, “When Mitt Romney says ‘Mr. Chairman,’ do you think he’s referring to me?”

The reviews weren’t all bad. Fox News wondered if Eastwood’s appearance showed that Hollywood was becoming more accepting of conservatives. And Breitbart Editor-at-Large John Nolte decided to ignore reality, and praise Eastwood.

“Eastwood was F***ING AWESOME !!!” Nolte tweeted. “Finally someone has the sand to mock Obama. That. Sh*t. Ruled. 82 and edgier than Chris Rock.”

Watch the Video

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Michael G.
Michael T5 years ago

Yeah know pard, the best thing about Clint's bit of theater is that as there was nothing of substance from the entire RNC convention, Clint's brilliant acting is all anyone does remember of the RNC convention. At the end of the convention more than 50% of the commentary was about Eastwood's brilliant performance instead of summing up the high points of the convention.

Since neither Mitt nor Ryan said anything of substance Clint is all any of us do remember.
The next morning, when all of the talk shows should have been abuzz about all the important things (which there weren't any of) revealed about Mitt and Paul's plans to make the US better, instead it was abuzz about Clint Eastwood's fantastic theater talking to a chair.

Clint did us all a great service by burying a lackluster convention under an actor's theater macabre. Cheers pard, I think it's more points for us than your sorry excuse for a political party and all they are left with to try to pretend to elect.

Carl W.
Carl Coleman5 years ago

Year5s from now, nobody will remeber what anyone at Tampa said. But for a decade, everyone will remeber Clint and his friend, the chair !!

Mary Leon
Mary A Leon5 years ago

The problem with Clint Eastwood is that he is the epitome of what the Republican Tea Party has become. Famous and hungry for more money and power.

These people feel that since they have Inherited wealth (which is what most of them did--Romney and Ryan at the top of the heirs list--that they are more Blessed, more Intelligent and therefore should be in charge of running our country the way THEY think is right, without a thought or care about the rest of us.

They are also under the assumption that if you're not rich, famous or powerful, then what right have you to live in this country? All they care about you doing is paying for everything--for their wars and their tax cuts, then they want YOU to accept that Government won't be assisting you with anything anymore. They want to destroy Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Welfare and take the money for themselves.

Don't be Fooled! I've NEVER met a Republican who Liked any of these Social Programs. They've wanted to get rid of them since their beginnings---Social Security in 1935 and Medicare in 1965---and no amount of saying that they want to 'save' these programs will convince me that they actually care. All they care about is Money, Power and their Egos!

Spooky Cat
Spooky Cat5 years ago

Poor Clint looked like a senile old fool. Eastwooding? Does that mean get up in front of a huge crowd and look like a doddering old man who can hardly remember what he's talking about? Ok, I guess that sums up the Republicans. Can't argue there!

sheila l5 years ago

EASTWOODING Is the new expose of Barack Hussein Obama's emptiness, he is EMPTY:
intellectually, politically, philosophically. Yes, he is an empty chair, an empty suit.

He is solely capable of one thing only: narcissism. EASTWOODING IS new tribute to emptiness!
Bravo Clint for an outstanding moment!

Magyar Girl
Past Member 5 years ago

And Leanne, your comment on how "conservative white men are distasteful," is quite racist! I guess it's ok, when racial remarks are directed towards white people. Although I am neither Democrat or Republican, I know MANY conservative "white" men, who aid in animal rescue and issues of their welfare. Many of them happen to be my close friends. It just proves that EVERYONE can make biased remarks based on any race! That's what's "distasteful!"

Magyar Girl
Past Member 5 years ago

I wouldn't vote for Obama or Romney if you paid me. That goes for their VP choices as well. I am here for the animals and the environment. A HUGE fail for them all! And if you don't know those facts and you are on this site, then shame on you. I will vote for the CHAIR!

Jack Gracida
Jack G5 years ago

All the hate and attacks by the author of the article, and some comments, never took in consideration the reaction to Clint Eastwood's truthful comments and advise. We'll see how many "empty chairs" start popping around American homes lawns accross the Country. It will be an encouragement that gives voters an opportunity to fill the "empty chair" with someone capable to lead our great Country. Maybe then the problems with our economy and unemployment will be fulfilled with actions instead of empty promises.

Patricia G.
Patricia Gal5 years ago

Donna K, I liked your comment, the difference between Corporation & Country.
WE are running a COUNTRY not a Corporation. I heard the same comment last night among friends.
Romney DOES NOT offer what the majority of AMERICANS can embrace.

Donna J.
Donna J5 years ago

How embarrassing! Just like his family crying for attention with their super-fake reality drama. So much wrong with the Eastwood picture.