Clint Eastwood Tells The Carmel Pine Cone Newspaper How It Came to Pass, Just Minutes Before He Appeared on Stage, That He Would Talk to an Empty Chair

Sep 7, 2012  •  Post A Comment

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.’ "


  1. Well, that explains a lot. Especially why it was such a bad choice, and made for laughable television (not to mention lousy politics).
    It’s as if Eastwood was going to direct a movie, and showed up on set the first day, with a full crew on the clock, but without a script. “I had this idea for the story in the makeup trailer… Action!”
    Why someone with his experience would show up so completely unprepared boggles the mind. He’d never do that as a director, and he’s walk off the set if some director tried that with him.
    My guess is this’ll be the last time ANYONE shows up at a political convention where the candidate and their staff doesn’t know (and approve of) what’s going to happen.

  2. You have another guess coming.
    Truth is refreshing, especially when it’s conceived and displayed in real time by a creative genius such as Clint Eastwood. As a writer, you should be able to appreciate this. Unless, of course, your bias prevents this (of course).
    Are you responsible for any of the garbage that’s broadcast as entertainment, WriterGuy?

  3. Puh-leaze RealityGuy… Clint is a genius and I love his work but come on, it was a major fail on his part. He just came across as old and senile. I was embarrassed for him and it was painful to watch. There were so many other ways for him to get his point across.

  4. All I am going to say is this. Not everyone can be controlled as in the case of Mr. Eastwood. Do these conventions really mean anything to most people anymore other than scripted “excitement?”

  5. Personally, I think it was great. He looked like Columbo out there bumbling around and enjoying himself. He made some terrific points while providing some levity to the same thing found in all conventions no matter who puts it on – corporations or government – they all get boring. For the Democrats, they had Bill Clinton to laugh at – though he had to keep telling them it wasn’t supposed to be funny. Both sides need every vote in such a tight election. Obama has to hide his failed past and Romney is hiding what he is going to do differently (a la Nancy Pelosi and her “You have to vote on it before you can read it” speech about the healthcare bill). Eastwood’s comment that if someone doesn’t do their job, you gotta let ’em go is the best line out of both conventions.

  6. Spoken from the heart and very well done, Mr. Eastwood does not need a teleprompter to spew out useless, liberal Chicago style lies and babble. I love Clint’s honesty that most of us are in dire need of after 4 years of B.S. coming out of the White House! Now I’m ready to put my hard earned money where my vote will be. Go Clint & Robert Duvall!

  7. That’s right, Surfergirl – Clint doesn’t need a teleprompter to spew liberal lies. He’s perfectly capable of spewing the Conservative lies right off the top of his head.
    Having said that, if Eastwood & Duvall were the ones running, I might vote for them. Neither candidate is the greatest but at least Obama knows what it’s like to not be privileged his whole life. No, he hasn’t accomplished everything he said he would but who has during their first term? He made mistakes, most of them trying to actually work with a group of Republicans so partisan they would rather tank the country just to try and make a Democrat look bad than do their damn jobs. The situation has gotten so bad that I really think both sides should fire everyone in the House & Senate, then draft new Reps & Senators from the registered voters (there should be some sort of lottery system by which a random seat is given to a registered voter from all the third parties). It couldn’t be any worse than what we’ve got now.

  8. It was brilliant! People are still talking about to this day. Name one marketer that can have that much effect, positive or negative that can do what Clint did. complete Genius, no matter what side of the aisle you are on. RNC, well done!

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