Clint Eastwood is the former mayor of Carmel, Calif., and he spoke to that town’s newspaper this week — The Carmel Pine Cone (est. 1915) — about his unconventional address before the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30, 2012.
Reports the Pine Cone, "Eastwood’s appearance at the convention came after a personal request from Romney in August, soon after Eastwood endorsed the former Massachusetts governor at a fundraiser in Sun Valley, Idaho. But it was finalized only in the last week before the convention, along with an agreement to build suspense by keeping it secret until the last moment. Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign aides asked for details about what Eastwood would say to the convention.
“ ‘They vet most of the people, but I told them, "You can’t do that with me, because I don’t know what I’m going to say," ‘ Eastwood recalled."
The story continues, "Early Thursday morning, when Eastwood left San Jose Airport on a private jet headed for Florida, he was still making up his mind. And even with his appearance just a few hours away, all Eastwood could tell Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, and his aides was ‘to reassure them that everything I would say would be nice about Mitt Romney.’ "
"It was only after a quick nap in his hotel room a few blocks from the convention site, Eastwood said, that he mapped out his remarks — starting with his observation about politics in Hollywood, then challenging the president about the failure of his economic policies, and wrapping up by telling the public ‘they don’t have to worship politicians, like they were royalty or something.’ ”
And the idea about the empty chair? Here’s what happened, the story says:
" ‘I got to the convention site just 15 or 20 minutes before I was scheduled to go on,’ [Eastwood] said. … After a quick trip through airport-style security, he was taken to a Green Room, where Archbishop Dolan of New York sought him out to say hello. Then he was taken backstage to wait for his cue. And that was when inspiration struck.
“ ‘There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down,’ Eastwood said. ‘When I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea. I’ll just put the stool out there and I’ll talk to Mr. Obama and ask him why he didn’t keep all of the promises he made to everybody.’
"He asked a stagehand to take it out to the lectern while he was being announced. ‘The guy said, ‘You mean you want it at the podium?’ and I said, ‘No, just put it right there next to it.’ "