“Mystery speaker” Clint Eastwood gave something of a mysterious performance Thursday night to RNC delegates as the legendary actor and respected director was sometimes halting, other times humorous and didn’t exactly give Mitt Romney the ringing star power endorsement that many had hoped for.
But, he did make his main point in a simple, Dirty Harry kind of way: “You, we, own this country. Politicians are employees of ours.” And, “when somebody does not do the job, we got to let ’em go.”
Eastwood materialized ahead of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and the biggest act of the night, Mitt
Romney’s presidential nomination acceptance address, but his remarks were actually more directed at criticizing President Obama than supporting the candidate. And if he sounded a little half-hearted, it’s worth noting he has not yet contributed to Romney’s campaign, something he did in 2008 for Sen. John
McCain, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Eastwood, 82, took the stage, standing next to an empty chair, and gave what appeared to be a bizarre off-the-cuff address in the format of a conversation with an invisible President Barack Obama, sitting in the chair. “I’ve got Mr. Obama sitting here, and I was just going to ask him a couple questions,” Eastwood said.
He went on that he had cried with joy when Obama won his election based on hope, but was moved to tears again when he realized there were 23 million Americans unemployed under an Obama presidency. “That is something to cry for,” he said. “That is a disgrace.”
Eastwood also challenged Obama on his broken promises, though the issues he mentioned, such as closing Guantanamo Bay, were far from the red-meat policy concerns discussed at the convention all week. The actor also mentioned Obama’s decision to keep troops in Afghanistan until 2014.
“I think you mentioned something about a target date for getting everybody home,” he said. “Mitt Romney asked the sensible question. Why are you giving the date out now, why don’t you bring them home tomorrow morning?” Lately, Romney has corroborated Obama’s 2014 timeline for withdrawing the troops.
Eastwood made a few jokes at Obama’s and vice president Joe Biden’s expense, pretending that Obama cursed at him in response and expressing shock. “Joe Biden is kind of a grin with a body behind it,” Eastwood said.
But the star hit his stride as he wrapped up.
“I never thought it was a good idea for two attorneys to be president anyway,” he said. “I think it’s maybe time, what do you think, for a businessman. A star businessman. A stellar businessman.”
And to the delight of the crowd, he finished with a call-and-response.
“Go ahead,” he said.
“Make my day!” they shouted.