Clint Eastwood is finally going on the record about his bizarre and much buzzed-about appearance at last week’s Republican National Convention.
In a detailed interview with the Carmel Pine Cone newspaper, he explains how he came up with the idea of having a “conversation” with an invisible Barack Obama in an empty chair, what he was trying to accomplish and his thoughts on the aftermath of the speech.
(If you’re wondering how the adorably named Pine Cone scored this scoop, Carmel is the California coastal town where Eastwood served as mayor and still resides.)
Among the details revealed in the article:
– Eastwood says he had three things he wanted to communicate in his speech: “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.”
– Although Mitt Romney personally requested Eastwood make an appearance at the convention after the actor officially endorsed the candidate at a fundraiser in August, Eastwood’s involvement wasn’t confirmed until the week before the event. Despite inquiries from Romney’s campaign aides about details of the speech, Eastwood made it clear he planned to wing it. “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 says in the article.
– Eastwood only started to nail down some remarks “after a quick nap in his hotel room a few blocks from the convention site,” shortly before he was set to take the stage.
– The empty chair was a last-minute idea Eastwood came up with backstage. “There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down,” he says. “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 then asked a stagehand to place the stool on the stage for his speech.
– After the speech, Eastwood was unaware of the critical commentary already underway on TV news networks and online. He watched the evening’s other speeches, was thanked by Romney and VP candidate Paul Ryan, and heard only positive reactions from convention attendees. According to the article, Eastwood believes those shocked by his speech “are obviously on the left.”
– Still, even Eastwood is willing to label himself “crazy,” at least in a joking way. “They’ve got this crazy actor who’s 82 years old up there in a suit,” he tells the Pine Cone. “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.”
What do you think of Eastwood’s comments? Does it change your view of his RNC speech?