Clint Eastwood Breaks Silence on Empty Chair, Told Romney Camp 'You Can't [Vet] Me'
The Oscar winner offers insight on how he ended up giving an unorthodox speech at the Republican National Convention and how the candidates received it.
After Clint Eastwood spent much of his speech at last week's Republican National Convention conversing with an empty chair meant to represent President Obama, the Mitt Romney campaign was quick to point out that he was ad-libbing and his speech could not be compared with those of traditional politicians. The Republican candidate for president himself, however, really enjoyed the off-the-cuff display -- at least according to Eastwood.
"They really seemed to be enjoying themselves," Eastwood told his local paper, The Carmel Pine Cone, about Romney and vp candidate Paul Ryan's reaction following the end of his speech. Last week, Stuart Stevens, a Romney spokesman, backed that up, saying, "I was backstage with him, and he was laughing, and he enjoyed it."
And the fact that his talk was ad-libbed wasn't an exaggeration by a panicked campaign: Eastwood wouldn't have had it any other way.
"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 he told the convention organizers.
Eastwood's appearance at the convention was supposed to be kept secret but leaked earlier that day, and his speech was so unrehearsed, he came up with the chair bit just before he went onstage.
"There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down,” he told the paper. "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."
Though the AP reported that some aides winced, Stevens told reporters last week that he welcomed the acting flair.
"Listen, the guy went out and did what actors do sometimes, he did a little improv," he reasoned. "If someone wants to say this wasn't Clint Eastwood's greatest performance, have at it. ... Some people didn't like Dirty Harry, some people didn't like Gran Torino. That's OK."