Mitt will never live this one down…

From NY Times:

Mr. Romney privately invited Mr. Eastwood, of “Dirty Harry” fame, to speak after the actor had given him a gravelly, full-throated endorsement at a star-studded fund-raiser at the Sun Valley Resort Lodge in Idaho this summer. “He just made my day. What a guy,” Mr. Romney joked with his donors that night, flanked by the fake log columns of the lodge. […]

Behind the scenes, Mr. Eastwood’s convention cameo was cleared by Mr. Romney’s top message mavens, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens, who drew up talking points that Mr. Eastwood included, in his own way. They gave him a time limit and flashed a blinking red light that told him his time was up. He ignored both. The actor’s decision to use a chair as a prop was last-minute, and his own.

“The prop person probably thought he was going to sit in it,” a baffled senior aide said on Thursday night.

But to his credit, Mitt didn’t realize what was going to happen. Neither did anybody else.

Yes, Eastwood just winged it…

Another adviser said that several top aides had reviewed the talking points given to Mr. Eastwood just a few hours before his appearance. They included a request to mention the millions of people who remain unemployed — something Mr. Eastwood did, though he misstated the number.

As actors sometimes do, he improvised.

Instead of reading off a teleprompter — something Mr. Eastwood is said to despise — he pretended to have a sarcasm-filled conversation with President Obama, seated by his side.

“What do you mean, shut up?” Mr. Eastwood said, mumbling to a befuddled audience. A moment later, he stopped again, saying, “What do you want me to tell Mr. Romney?”

“I can’t tell him that. He can’t do that to himself,” Mr. Eastwood said. “You’re getting as bad as Biden.”

All I’ve got to say…

Home Politics Romney Behind Clint Eastwood's Bizarre Apperance


  1. You missed including Obama’s tweeted rejoinder:

    This seat is taken

    Which I thought was on target and pretty funny.

    NO way to spin the Clint thing except as complete FUBAR from the perspective of the GOP convention organizers. The shots of Anne Romney scowling, of Ryan looking at his watch, the missed opportunity to show the Romney video during prime time, the late start for Mitt’s Lo-o-o-o-ng speech, the negatives go on and on.

    Truth be told, I really enjoyed it for the spontaneity and weirdness of it all. The perfectly polished, precision timed, everyone scripted, everyone on message regimentation of the whole event up to that point had my eyes glassing over and pretty much drained all interest in the proceedings. Clint’s improv brought me back, altough I suspect I am in the minority with that perspective.

    I do think there is an unintended consequence that has not yet been fully appreciated. That single image invoked by Clint Eastwood – The Empty Chair – has taken on a life of it’s own, far beyond Eastwood’s performance. An Invisible Obama Twitter account featuring The Empty Chair garnered 60,000 followers in 24 hours.

    The Empty Chair is analogous to the Empty Suit – it invokes exactly the negative connotation that the GOP would like to associate with President Obama – that of an absent, clueless incompetent leader. And by early indications – that image is going to be front and center, in the face of the electorate non-stop between now and the election. More people will see it and the connotation it carries than see both conventions combined.

    If you believe that images have the power to persuade, and that this election will be as close as it looks, it is entirely conceivable that Clint Eastwood just won the election for Mitt Romney.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the Dems respond in their convention. Any kind of response just adds legs to the meme. Their best option may be to take the high road and ignore it. Just pretend like it never happened. We’ll see.

    In any case – Thanks Clint. You made it interesting again.

  2. mw – It’s funny that you are thinking that the empty chair imagery will help Romney. I actually walked away with the exact opposite feeling. I felt it was a perfect metaphor for the empty promises and invisible plans of the Republican party. Interesting that Romney’s speech had zero details in it. The big standout was his promise to create 12 million jobs without any mention of a real plan for doing that.

    Clint Eastwood talking to an Invisible Obama just sums up the insanity of their party and lack of substance. But that’s just me and I’m fairly biased. 🙂

  3. You know Mike, I thought Clint was actually a bit funny in parts as well, but that should have gone on for a few minutes. Instead, it stretched on like a bad SNL sketch.

    As far as your empty chair, empty suit analogy…you can hope for that all you want, but it ain’t gonna happen. Clint was just too off the wall. Dems will keep pushing it as an old, rich, white guy talking to somebody who isn’t there. There’s symbolism in that as well. You know…like minorities, women, the young voters, etc. 🙂

  4. MW,

    Nice try with your spin.

    Someone, can’t remember who put it nicely, the Clint Eastwood imagery sums up the Republican base exactly; an old angry white man yelling at an imaginary black guy.

    Also, The chair incident was predicted years ago, D’Oh! Eastwood’s Convention Speech Spawns Fake ‘Simpsons’ Meme

  5. First, I am voting for Obama, but not because I think he was a particularly good president or will be significantly better in his second term (HOPE springs eternal). I just think the likely alternative to reelecting Obama is a return to Republican control of the executive and both legislature branches. I find that prospect worse.

    I was just expressing my view of how the “empty chair” image (like the example Justin posted here) is likely to be seen by a casual voter. I could be wrong, it’s just a guess.

    It is possible that your average voter will look at such an image, make the connection to the event at the GOP convention, make an additional generalization to the Republican Party as whole (“Oh yeah, the entire Republican Party are old white men yelling at chairs”), then make yet another connection to Romney/Ryan because everyone knows that Romney specifically invited Eastwood to do the bit as Justin outlines in this post. And all that happens in a glance at the image.

    – or –

    It is possible that your casual voter will see this image and just make the connection – “This represents the President”

    I was just pointing out what I think is the more likely association. Go with whatever blows your skirt up.

    To Cranky’s observation, it is also possible that the chair image meme will not last longer than the Dem convention.

    Perhaps then we all settle down and make a logical dispassionate decision based on a comparison and analysis of which ticket has a better plan to address the spending, debt, and entitlement burden that will otherwise destroy the country within 10 years or so.

    It could happen.

  6. As i watched it, my first thought was that the unscripted nature was refreshing and a net plus for the campaign untill this one…

    “You want Mitt to do what? He can’t do that to himself.”

    Oh my god. Moments before the biggest speech of Mitt Romney’s life, Mr. Eastwood dared us to imagine Mr. Romney, devote Mormon, family man, and all around stand up guy, attempting in vain to compulate with himself. How were we ever going to get that image out of our heads? With that one comment, he at once made Mitt look small, Obama look tough, and the Romney campaign look like incompetent idiots. Priceless.


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