Eastwood delivers from the hip

Actor Clint Eastwood amused the crowd by feigning an interview with President Obama, posing questions to an empty chair.
Actor Clint Eastwood amused the crowd by feigning an interview with President Obama, posing questions to an empty chair. (LYNNE SLADKY / AP)
Posted: September 01, 2012

TAMPA - Clint Eastwood, the Hollywood filmmaker famed for his iconic Dirty Harry catchphrase, came out firing in his endorsement of Republican Mitt Romney on Thursday night.

On a night where virtually every moment was scripted, Eastwood was among the only speakers not reading from a Teleprompter.

Standing on the convention stage with an empty chair, Eastwood carried on a sometimes rambling conversation with an imaginary President Obama.

The tough-guy actor and director talked about Oprah Winfrey, Obama's unfulfilled promise to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and lawyers.

"When somebody doesn't do the job, you gotta let 'em go," Eastwood said. He drew a finger across his throat.

While the crowd cheered Eastwood's entrance, stern-faced Romney aides backstage winced at times as his remarks stretched on.

He entertained the audience with the mock interview with Obama, posing questions and pretending that Obama had told him to shut up.

"Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you made when you were running for election?" he said, jokingly addressing an empty chair next to his lectern.

"What do you mean 'shut up'?" he said, continuing to talk to his imaginary friend.

Eastwood remembered the enthusiasm surrounding Obama's nomination four years ago.

"Everybody's crying. Oprah was crying. I was even crying," he joked.

Then he quickly pivoted to the serious: "I haven't cried that hard since I found out there's 23 million unemployed people in this country. That is something to cry for. That is a disgrace, a national disgrace."

"This administration hasn't done enough to cure that," Eastwood said, and it's "time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem."

At the crowd's insistence, he ended: "Go ahead, make my day."


This article contains information from the New York Times News Service.

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