An actor and an empty chair: Clint Eastwood makes GOP convention's day
82-year-old action star has them rolling in the aisles by addressing a presumed Obama
It was perhaps action star Clint Eastwood's supreme moment as an actor. With nothing more than an empty chair, the Hollywood icon addressed what was presumed to be an invisible U.S. President Barack Obama for a series of pointed questions. Members of the GOP convention were rolling on the ground in fits of laughter, with Eastwood "making their day."
'Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party,' actor Clint Eastwood said at the GOP convention. 'Kind of a grin with a body behind it.'
"It's a national disgrace," Eastwood said. "It may be time for someone else to come along and solve the problem.
"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 .
"I think if you just step aside and Mr. Romney can kind of take over. You can maybe still use a plane," Eastwood said.
The public response on the Internet was good, bad and ugly. Openly gay "Star Trek" actor George Takei vowed he could use the Eastwood tactic at next week's Democratic National Convention. "I'm drafting a DNC speech to imaginary Romney in an empty factory," Takei's tweet said.
Going viral, the speech birthed a new trend with people posting photos of themselves pointing at empty chairs with the hashtag "eastwooding."
"Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn't work," a Romney campaign aide said, addressing Romney's later appearance. "His ad-libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it. He rightly pointed out that 23 million Americans out of work or underemployed is a national disgrace and it's time for a change."
A longtime Republican, Eastwood had endorsed Romney at an Idaho fundraiser at the beginning of August, where he told reporters that he was backing the GOP presidential candidate "because I think the country needs a boost somewhere."
The full text of the speech appears below:
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Save a little for Mitt.
I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, what's a movie tradesman doing out here? You know they are all left wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that is what people think. That is not really the case. There are a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats, in Hollywood. It is just that the conservative people by the nature of the word itself play closer to the vest. They do not go around hot dogging it.
So -- but they are there, believe me, they are there. I just think, in fact, some of them around town, I saw Jon Voight, a lot of people around.
Jon's here, an academy award winner. A terrific guy. These people are all like-minded, like all of us.
So I -- so I've got Mr. Obama sitting here. And he's -- I was going to ask him a couple of questions. But -- you know about -- I 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 trying, Oprah was crying.
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.
Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven't done enough, obviously -- this administration hasn't done enough to cure that. Whenever interest they have is not strong enough, and I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem.
So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them?
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?
OK, I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City.
I've got to to hand it to you. I have to give credit where credit is due. You did finally overrule that finally. And that's -- now we are moving onward. I know you were against the war in Iraq, and that's okay. But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. You know, I mean -- you thought that was something worth doing. We didn't check with the Russians to see how did it -- they did there for 10 years.
But we did it, and it is something to be thought about, and I think that, when we get to maybe -- I think you've mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home. You gave that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible ...
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