Clint On His Speech: "We Were All Laughing" | NBC Chicago
2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

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Clint Eastwood on His RNC Speech: "We Were All Laughing"

Movie star speaks to local paper



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    Everyone's had something to say about Clint Eastwood's unconventional speech at the Republican National Convention last week. Now, Eastwood himself does, too.

    "I may have irritated a lot of the lefties," Eastwood told The Carmel Pine Cone, in his home town of Carmel, Calif. "But I was aiming for people in the middle."

    The highlight of Eastwood's 11-minute speech on Aug. 30, given just before Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made his speech, was a conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama, where he asked President Obama why he failed to keep his campaign promises. Standing in for the president was an empty chair.

    While many political pundits were baffled at one of the most unconventional moments ever at a political convention, the bit quickly took off on the Internet. Photos of empty chairs swept through social media. An @InvisibleObama Twitter account quickly popped up, filling in the other side of the conversation.

    Romney and VP nominee Paul Ryan, he said, seemed happy with the speech.

    “They were very enthusiastic," he told the Pine Cone, "and we were all laughing."

    Eastwood told the Pine Cone that the chair bit was a spur-of-the-moment decision:

    “There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down,” Eastwood said. “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.”

    He asked a stagehand to take it out to the lectern while he was being announced.

    “The guy said, ‘You mean you want it at the podium?’ and I said, ‘No, just put it right there next to it.’”

    In fact, Eastwood said he didn't have much of a plan for the entire speech.

    “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 told the Pine Cone.

    He was given 6-7 minutes for the speech, he said, but took 11 minutes because people were applauding too much.

    He was aware that the speech was "very unorthodox."

    “They’ve got this crazy actor who’s 82 years old up there in a suit,” he told the Pine Cone. “I was a mayor, and they’re probably thinking I know how to give a speech, but even when I was mayor I never gave speeches. I gave talks. ...

    “It was supposed to be a contrast with all the scripted speeches, because I’m Joe Citizen. I’m a movie maker, but I have the same feelings as the average guy out there.”