Eastwood Explains His 'Empty Chair' Speech

by 9:50 AM PDT, September 07, 2012
Photo: Getty Images

Clint Eastwood is breaking his silence on the controversial speech he gave at last week's Republican National Convention that became one of the event's most talked-about moments.  

Addressing the speech -- in which the legendary Hollywood actor/director at one point spoke to an empty chair that he explained was supposed to represent President Barack Obama -- Eastwood told his hometown newspaper The Carmel Pine Cone that he "didn't make up my mind exactly what I was going to say until I said it."

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Eastwood was personally invited to speak at the RNC in Tampa by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, but when campaign officials asked for specific information about what he would say in the speech, the star said he was reluctant to provide details. 

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"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 told the newspaper.

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Eastwood revealed that the idea to talk to the empty chair came to him while he waited in the Green Room just minutes before he took the stage. "There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down," he 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."

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While Eastwood admits the speech was "very unorthodox," he feels it got his three main points across. "That not everybody in Hollywood is on the left, that Obama has broken a lot of the promises he made when he took office, and that the people should feel free to get rid of any politician who's not doing a good job."

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But he added that no one should have been surprised by his unique delivery. "They've got this crazy actor who's 82 years old up there in a suit. I was a mayor, and they're probably thinking I know how to give a speech, but even when I was mayor I never gave speeches. I gave talks."