Last Updated:August 20 @ 02:55 pm

Eastwood talks about the chair

By AP Staff

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Clint Eastwood said the idea to use an empty seat as a prop at the Republican National Convention was a spur-of-the-moment decision when someone backstage asked if he wanted to sit down.

In his first interview since his Aug. 30 appearance at the convention to pledge support for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Eastwood told the Carmel Pine Cone that his speech was not only unscripted, it was pretty much spontaneous.

"There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down," Eastwood told the weekly newspaper in the small California city where he once was mayor. "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."

Eastwood's peculiar, sometimes rambling conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama in an empty chair set the blogosphere and social media ablaze. Reaction to his appearance generally has split along party lines, with Republicans raving about his stinging rebuke of Obama and Democrats ridiculing him as old, angry and out of touch.

The 82-year-old Eastwood said he set out to make three points and he achieved his goal.

"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," Eastwood said in the interview, which was conducted Tuesday but not published until Friday. "But I didn't make up my mind exactly what I was going to say until I said it."

Political conventions normally are tightly scripted and Romney's campaign aides had wanted details about what Eastwood planned to say.

"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 said.

Eastwood acknowledged his presentation was "very unorthodox" but said he knew that would be the case.

"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."

Eastwood said he was told to speak for five minutes but he said it was difficult to gauge time and there weren't any signals or cues telling him to wrap up. He ended up speaking for about 12 minutes.

Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, later came backstage to thank him.

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

Eastwood, who stars in the upcoming movie "Trouble with the Curve," maintains Obama doesn't deserve a second term as president.

"President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," Eastwood said. "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."

Despite all the attention he received, Eastwood hadn't granted any interviews since his speech. Even his longtime manager, Leonard Hirshan, told The Associated Press he was unaware Eastwood had spoken to the newspaper.

"You're telling me something for the first time," Hirshan said.

Hirshan stressed that as a manager, he wouldn't necessarily know about Eastwood's dealings with the media. The actor has no publicist.

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13 Comments

  1. noveldogComment by noveldog
    September 8, 2012 @ 9:24 am

    Since Eastwood and John Voight have come out so have many others. Up Virginia way Robert Duval entertained the Romney’s at a fundraiser on his farm. And the beat goes on. More and more folks are getting fed up with BHO’s failed policies and broken promises. It is time to replace him with someone who did not fail Economy 101.

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      September 8, 2012 @ 11:34 am

      I worked with Duval in the rare and iconic, Gods & Generals. The guy drove himself to the set from his place, South of Staunton Virginia. Duval had little time for the Hollywood sycophants, who are likely Leftists, but was most gracious to the person taking care of Robert E. Lee’s, Traveler, shaking my dirty hand.

      I doubt that many will dare express what they really feel, out in Hollywood Land. If you have, A Fist Full of Oscars, you have some many decades behind you, your limitations are pretty loose, and you can dare to stare down The Machine of Hollywood. Thank you Clint!

      In this regard, Clint Eastwood’s performance seriously rattled the Left, got under their cadaver thin skin, and will be remembered long after all of the polished speeches are forgotten. The sight of Josey Wales with two huge Walker Colts drawn, will be etched in memory in this election, like NO other. The EMPTY CHAIR captured the moment perfectly, making America’s DAY! Thank you Mitt for letting Eastwood have the stage.

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    • kfrancesComment by kfrances
      September 10, 2012 @ 10:41 am

      Thank you Iwesson, that was great. In my opinion, Clint Eastwood, Jon Voight and Robert Duval are real patriots.
      This is what we need, people who care about America and not
      their own ego’s. America was founded with the purpose of
      freedom and when government takes charge of our lives, that
      is not freedom. We need to get back to the basics and we’re
      not going to have that with an Obama Administration.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      September 10, 2012 @ 11:55 am

      The only empty chair Obama is entitled to after this election is the one at San Quentin called “Old Sparky”.

      His dark smile and that which comes out of mouth is more like the movie “The Green Mile”

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  2. billwvComment by billwv
    September 8, 2012 @ 10:09 am

    “A man has to know his limitations’.

    Apparently Ozero was never officially informed that he is not qualified or fit to be POTUS.

    In November let us all give him the message.

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    • romcat5Comment by romcat5
      September 8, 2012 @ 10:25 am

      LOL! Yes indeed! That ‘clown’ will finally know his limitations even if he has to be ‘bodily removed’ from Our White House!

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  3. romcat5Comment by romcat5
    September 8, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    Clint, You are one ‘awesome’ guy! You have ‘made my day’ for many years in your movies. “Harry Callahan” truly was a ‘walking combat zone’! Thank you Clint; would have loved an opportunity to learn from you and work with you.

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  4. Connor VlakancicComment by Connor Vlakancic
    September 8, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    Mr. Eastwood should have laid an empty suit on the empty chair to be more realistic. However, his “talk” was, for him, “very unorthodox”, so no suit in the not-plan, but from Robin Williams (as Mork from Ork) it would have been typical “Shazbat”. We all would be more happy in our hearts if we spent a little more time remembering the ZANY stuff of years ago. So, thank you Mr. Eastwood! Have a nice day :-D

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  5. MorganComment by Morgan
    September 8, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    Very few people have the talent to just talk “off the top of their heads” especially at a function like the RNC Convention. Clint Eastwood proved once again what a real talent he has. He is an American Icon. I wish him many more good years and that his wish for Obama comes true.

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  6. Mike IrwinComment by Mike Irwin
    September 8, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    Not only was the chair empty, but so is the suit of the imaginary guest. How apropos.

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  7. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    September 8, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    Eastwood, an 82-year old senior, spoke for 12 minutes in a spur-of-the-moment skit that made all three of the points which he wanted to convey, and created a new icon for the Republican party.

    Barack Obama, given a similar unscripted opportunity would have mumbeled incoherently for ten minutes and left the stage with no one knowing what he said.

    Of the two, which would make the better President?

    If you chose Mr. Eastwood, you would be correct for two reasons … the most important one being that Clint Eastwood IS a ‘natural-born’ American citizen.

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  8. Jackie CoxComment by Jackie Cox
    September 8, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

    Hang um high

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  9. siquijorislandComment by siquijorisland
    September 9, 2012 @ 12:35 am

    why does Clint see what so many are blind to?
    Cut strait to the point with crystal clear clarity.
    Need more like this very impressive man.

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