Clint Eastwood borrows a page from Lawrence O'Donnell and Piers Morgan in his address to the Republican National Convention
It's halftime, America. And your Uncle Clint sounds a little drunk.
Clint Eastwood borrowed a page from Lawrence O'Donnell and Piers Morgan's playbook by talking with what he said was Barack Obama's empty chair during his speech to the Republican National Convention on Thursday. (O'Donnell and Morgan recently pulled the same move when scheduled guests bailed on their shows at the last minute.)
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In rambling, sometimes confusing remarks, the Republican former mayor of Carmel, Calif., pretended that Obama was cursing Mitt Romney and him as he critiqued Obama's policies. His trademark, deadpan delivery sometimes worked for him — but at other times his dialogue with the missing president was hard to follow.
After the speech, the Romney campaign issued a statement saying Eastwood's "ad-libbing was a break from the political speech-making."
Eastwood began by saying there are plenty of conservatives in Hollywood — but in keeping with their conservative natures, they "don't go around hotdogging it."
Ironically, some conservatives believed Eastwood's "halftime" Super Bowl ad for Chrysler was a tacit endorsement of Obama. That was before he endorsed Romney — and outdebated Obama's chair.
The speech was well received in the convention hall — but Democrats, predictably, found it baffling.
"Clint Eastwood is 82 years old. And I don't know if that's what was going on there," said MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who predicted it would be the weirdest thing she ever saw in a convention speech.
Eastwood started off by saying even he was caught up in Obama's 2008 promises of hope and change.
"Oprah was crying. I was even crying. I haven't cried that hard since I found out that there's 23 million unemployed people in this country. That is something to cry for," Eastwood said. "It may be time for someone else to come along and solve the problem."
He then turned to the chair and imagined Obama answering him.
"So, Mr. President: How do you handle promises that you've made when you were running for election? … I know some of the people in your own party were very disappointed that you didn't close Gitmo. … What do you mean shut up? … I thought it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City."
He continued: "I've got to give credit where credit is due. You did overrule that finally."
But he questioned why Obama favored the war in Afghanistan: "We didn't check with the Russians to see how they did there for the 10 years," he said. "It's something to be thought about."
"You mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home," he continued. "Why are you giving the date out now? Why don't you just bring them home tomorrow morning?"
He imagined an Obama retort.
"I'm not gonna shut up," he replied to the chair.
Then he imagined more insults: "What? What do you want me to tell Romney? I can't tell him to do that. He can't do that to himself. You're absolutely crazy. … You're getting as bad as Biden. … Of course, we all know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party."
He also criticized Obama for riding in gas guzzlers to appearances.
"You're an ecological man — why would you want to drive that truck around?" he said. Imagining another retort, he said: "I can't do that to myself either."
Then he said "Go ahead," and the audience replied, "make my day." But you knew that would happen.
Watch the speech: