TAMPA--Clint Eastwood delivered a loopy and rambling speech--more like a stand-up act-- Thursday night at the Republican Convention--as he tried to make the case to elect Mitt Romney.
Tweeted Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert, "Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn't need to do this to himself. It's unworthy of him."
Eastwood's name leaked out earlier Thursday as the surprise "mystery guest."
When he took to the stage--at a convention where everything is highly scripted and speeches vetted--Eastwood riffed.
"Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, what's a movie tradesman doing out here? You know, they're all left-wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that's what people think, but that's not really the case. There is a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats in Hollywood. It's just that conservative people, by the nature of the word itself, are -- play it a little more close to vest. They don't go around hot- dogging it."
Click below for transcript....
Transcript courtesy Federal News Service
CLINT EASTWOOD: Thank you very much. (Sustained cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Chanting.) We want (Clint/Mitt ?)! We want (Clint/Mitt ?)! We want (Clint/Mitt ?)!
MR. EASTWOOD: (Chuckles.) Save a little for Mitt. (Laughter.)
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, what's a movie tradesman doing out here? You know, they're all left-wingers out there, left of Lenin. (Laughter.) At least that's what people think, but that's not really the case. There is a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats in Hollywood. It's just that conservative people, by the nature of the word itself, are -- play it a little more close to vest. They don't go around hot- dogging it.
So -- (cheers, applause) -- but they are there. Believe me, they are there. And I just -- I think, in fact, there's some of them around town. I saw Jon Voight. There's a lot of people around here -- (inaudible). (Cheers, applause.) Jon's here, an Academy Award winner, terrific guy. And these people are all like-minded, like all of us.
So I've got -- I've got Mr. Obama sitting here. (Laughter.) And he's -- I just was going to ask him a couple questions. But -- you know, about -- I remember 3 1/2 years ago when Mr. Obama won the election. And though I wasn't a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change, and they were talking about "Yes, we can." And it was dark and -- outdoors. And it was nice. And people were lighting candles, and they were saying, you know -- and I just thought, this is great. I mean, everybody's crying. Oprah was crying. And -- (laughter) -- I was even crying. (Laughter.)
And then finally -- I haven't cried that hard since I found out that there's 23 million unemployed people in this country. (Cheers, applause.) And now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace. And we haven't done enough, obviously. This administration hasn't done enough to cure that. And whatever interest they have is not strong enough. And I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem. (Cheers, applause.)
So, Mr. President, how do you -- how do you handle -- or how do you handle promises that you've made when you're running for election, and how do you handle -- how do you handle it? I mean, what do you say to people? Do you -- do you just -- (laughter) -- you know, I know people were wondering, you don't -- (inaudible) -- OK.
Well, I know even some of the people in your own party who were very disappointed when you didn't close Gitmo. And I thought -- well, I think closing Gitmo, why close that? We spent so much money on it.
But I thought maybe it's an excuse -- you know, what do you mean shut up? (Laughter.) (Inaudible.) OK. It just -- I thought it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City. Maybe that was it. (Laughter, applause.)
I've got a -- I've got to hand it to you. I've got to give credit where credit's due. You did overrule that finally, and that's -- so now we're moving onward.
And I know in the -- I know you were against the war in Iraq, and that's OK. But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. You know, I mean, you thought that was something that was worth doing. We didn't check with the Russians to see how they did there for the 10 years. (Laughter, applause.) But we did it. And it was -- you know, it's something to be thought about. And I think that when we get to maybe -- I think you mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home.
And you give that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question on it. He said, why are you giving the date out now? Why don't you just bring them home tomorrow morning? (Laughter, cheers, applause.) And I thought -- I thought, yeah, there's a -- I'm not going to -- shut up. It's my turn. (Laughter.) So anyway, we got -- we're going to have -- we're going to have to have a little chat about that.
And then I just wondered, these -- all these promises. And then I wondered about, you know, when the -- what? What do you want me to tell Romney? I can't tell him to do that. Can't do that to himself. (Laughter.) You're crazy. You're absolutely crazy. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) You're getting as bad as Biden. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) Of course, we all know Biden is -- Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party, so -- (inaudible) -- (laughter, cheers, applause) -- we have a -- just a kind of a -- kind of a grin with a body behind it, you know -- (inaudible) -- (laughter).
So anyway -- but I just -- I just think that there's so much to be done. And I think that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are two guys that can come along. I -- see, I never thought that it was a good idea for attorneys to be president anyway, because it's -- (laughter, cheers, applause) -- yeah.
I think -- I think attorneys are so busy -- you know, they're always taught to argue everything and always weigh everything and weigh both sides, and they're always -- you know, they're always -- Mr. Devil's advocating this and bifurcating this and bifurcating that -- you know, all of that stuff. But I think it's maybe time -- what do you think -- for maybe a businessman. How about that? (Cheers, applause.)
A stellar businessman, quote-unquote, a stellar businessman. And I think it's that time. And I think if you just kind of stepped aside and Mr. Romney can kind of take over -- you can still use the plane -- (laughter) -- though maybe a smaller one, not that big gas guzzler that you're driving around when you're going around to colleges and talking about student loans and stuff like that. I think -- (laughter) -- you're an ecological man. Now, why would you want to drive that truck around? (Laughter.) OK.
Well, anyway -- all right, I'm sorry. I can't do that to myself, either. (Laughter, applause.) Anyway, OK.
But I'd just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen, something that I think is very important. It is that you -- we own this country. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Yes, we own it. And it's not you owning it and not politicians owning it -- politicians are employees of ours, and -- (cheers, applause) -- so they're just going to come around and beg for votes every few years.
It's their same old deal. But I just think that it's important that you realize that -- and -- that you're the best in the world. And whether you're Democrat or whether you're Republican or whether you're libertarian or whatever, you're the best, and we should not ever forget that. And we -- when somebody does not do the job, we've got to let them go. (Cheers, applause.) Let them go. (Cheers, applause.) (Inaudible.)
OK. Yeah. OK. Just remember that. And I'm speaking out for everybody out there. It doesn't hurt we don't have to be --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.) (Audience murmurs.)
MR. EASTWOOD: I don't say that word anymore. (Laughter.) Well, maybe one last time. (Audience shouting.) We don't have to be -- what I'm saying is we don't have to be (mental ?) masochists and vote for somebody that we don't even really want in the -- in the -- in office. We -- just because they seem to be nice guys or maybe not so nice guys, if you look at some of the recent ads going out there. I don't know. (Audience shouting, applause.)
OK. You want to make my day, eh? All right. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) I -- all right. I'll start it. You finish it.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (We want Mitt ?)!
MR. EASTWOOD: Thank you. Thank you very much. (Cheers, applause.) END