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The glow of a party’s convention is supposed to shine on its nominee for president in the days following the balloons and confetti shower, but there is at least some light being reflected away from GOP nominee Mitt Romney and on to the speaker who helped introduce him.
Clint Eastwood, who spoke before Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Romney, delivered an unconventional speech that ran overtime and involved a dialogue with an empty stool meant to represent President Obama. While the audience in Tampa enjoyed the presentation, some pundits and audiences at home were left bewildered, and the Romney campaign quickly issued a statement saying that Eastwood was “ad-libbing.”
The speech has dominated conversation ever since, and news about the backstage goings-on is trickling out slowly. Here are five new developments:
1. Romney enjoyed the speech: According to BuzzFeed, the candidate’s rep, Stuart Stevens, had praise for Eastwood’s effort.
“Listen, the guy went out and did what actors do sometimes, he did a little improv,” he told reporters. “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.” And as for Romney’s evaluation, Stevens revealed, “I was backstage with him, and he was laughing, and he enjoyed it.”
2. Eastwood never rehearsed: At 82, Eastwood has more than a half-century of practice delivering lines. But the speech that was supposed to run five minutes lasted 13 instead, so obviously there were plenty of unscripted lines in there. Stevens and another adviser, Russ Schriefer, OK’d the speech, but others in the campaign were unaware that he’d be going on unrehearsed, the New York Times reports.
3. Romney staffers winced: Not everyone involved with the campaign enjoyed the performance. According to The Associated Press, aides backstage “winced” as they watched the speech.
4. James Lipton was not a fan: The host of Inside the Actors Studio spoke to MSNBC on Friday morning and called the improvised back-and-forth with the invisible president “disrespectful.”
While praising Eastwood as a friend and a director, he said that his improvising was weak and the words given to Obama were “vulgar.”
5. Eastwooding is now a meme: Nothing is a significant pop culture moment until it’s spawned a temporary Internet meme. Enter: Eastwooding.
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