Celebrities have courted politicians, and vice versa, since the dawn of Hollywood, but what happens when the alliance backfires, when the two worlds are suddenly speaking different languages?
The crowd Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, just ahead of Romney's "speech of a lifetime," greeted the Eastwood Moment with hearty laughter and applause, a welcome break of levity on the last day of a tightly choreographed convention.
But behind the scenes, Romney's campaign staff didn't find it so humorous. Asked about it immediately after the convention concluded, a half-dozen staffers said little. The campaign quickly went into damage control.
Unlike every other convention speaker, the teleprompter in the hall wasn't used during Eastwood's speech, which had him lampooning President Obama as if he were there. The routine from the Oscar-winning director of "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby" lasted twice as long as scheduled, cutting into the hour of prime- time coverage for Republicans.
It also sucked up Friday morning coverage of Romney's speech that had him accepting the Republican nomination for president.
On "CBS This Morning," Ann Romney cast about for words. Asked whether his contribution was a distraction or a mistake, she responded: "He's a unique guy and he did a unique thing last night." But the wife of the new nominee was quick to add that "we're grateful for everyone's support and especially grateful for what a great night it was last night."
Eastwood endorsed Romney on Aug. 3, in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he attended a fundraiser, so any money he would have contributed personally or through his company hasn't turned up yet in financial records filed with the Federal Election Commission. After the fundraiser, Eastwood let the campaign know he was interested in participating in the convention, a Romney aide said.