Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood brought his star power and trademark gravelly voice to the stage of the convention hall in Tampa on Thursday, jetting in as a surprise last-minute speaker to warm up the crowd for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech.
Eastwood’s cameo appearance included an ad-libbed monologue where he addressed an imaginary U.S. President Barack Obama. The speech, where Eastwood spoke to an empty chair, seemed to thrill many in the audience, but was widely panned by observers across the political spectrum.
The 82-year-old Academy Award-winning director and actor, who endorsed Romney earlier this month, strode to the podium serenaded by the theme music from his classic western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Eastwood delivered an off-the-cuff, deadpan discourse, at times biting in its criticism of Obama, at times supportive of Romney’s candidacy, whom he lauded for a “sterling” business record.
“You see I never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to be president anyway. I think attorneys are so busy. You know, they are always taught to argue everything and always weigh everything and weigh both sides. And you know they are always devil’s advocating this and by forgetting this and by forgetting that, you know all that stuff.
“But I think it’s maybe time, what do you think for maybe a businessman–How about that? 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 could takeover, ” Eastwood said.
“You could still use the plane, though maybe a smaller one not that big gas guzzler that you are driving around when you are going around to colleges talking about student loans and stuff like that,” Eastwood added.
Eastwood, a long-time Republican, has himself dabbled in politics. He served as mayor of his small upscale hometown, Carmel, California, in the 1980s.