Hollywood film legend Clint Eastwood attacked for ‘sad and pathetic’ address at Republican convention
HE WAS the straight-talking, sharp-shooting leading man who had a string of award-winning roles during a glittering career.
• Mitt Romney goes on the offensive at Republican National Convention
• Speech a chance for Romney to address the nation
• Clint Eastwood’s bizarre appearance mocked online
But actor-director Clint Eastwood, who once epitomised Hollywood cool in films such as Dirty Harry, gave a rather more shaky performance when he spoke up for United States presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in a rambling speech at the Republican National Convention.
New York magazine described it as “like watching someone mumble in their sleep”.
The veteran actor, who won Oscars as a director for the films Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven, was derided by fellow celebrities on Twitter after an unscripted speech in which he addressed an empty chair supposedly seating an invisible President Barack Obama.
Now 82, Eastwood received a standing ovation before he had even uttered a word at the party gathering in Tampa, Florida, as he was played on to the stage by the score from Sergio Leone’s classic spaghetti western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
But following the bizarre performance in which he repeatedly talked to the stool next to his lectern, fellow stars were lining up to criticise him.
Actress Mia Farrow was among those to question the point of the speech, tweeting: “But what WAS that thing Clint Eastwood just did? How could they let it happen??”
Piers Morgan, employed by TV news channel CNN in the US, said he had been getting messages from people saying Clint had “gone crackers”.
“I love Clint Eastwood,” he added. “But I just felt a little bit embarrassed for him. I think he’s been a disaster.”
Roger Ebert, the esteemed US film critic, tweeted: “Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.”
One of Eastwood’s questions to the empty stool was: “So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them? I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just… you know… I know… people were wondering… you don’t… handle that OK.”
Sounding like the angry everyman Walt Kowalski he portrayed in the 2008 film Gran Torino –his most recent outing as an actor rather than a director – Eastwood told delegates: “We own this country. Politicians are employees of ours. They’re just going to come around and beg for votes every few years.
“It’s important to realise you are the best in the world and you should not ever forget that, and when somebody does not do the job, you got to let them go.”
Signing off following shouts from the audience for him to once again air the famous line immortalised in the film Sudden Impact, he said: “OK, you want to make my day? All right, I’ll start, you finish it. Go ahead …” To which the audience replied: “Make my day.”
A statement released from Romney’s campaign said that Eastwood’s “ad libbing was a break from all the political speeches”.
Eastwood, a fiscal conservative who takes left-leaning stands on social issues such as gay marriage and environmental protection, made waves with conservatives earlier this year when he starred in a Super Bowl advert for Chrysler, a company that benefited from government support.
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