After a day filled with chatter about the political implications of his "Halftime in America" Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler, acting legend Clint Eastwood moved to quell any speculation that he was making a pitch for President Obama's economic policy.
"l am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message about job growth and the spirit of America," Eastwood, a libertarian and longtime Republican voter, said Monday evening on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" about the ad, which features him extolling the virtues of a revitalized Detroit. Chrysler was one of the companies saved in President Obama's 2009 auto bailout, which Eastwood has publicly opposed. "I think all politicians will agree with it," he continued. "I thought the spirit was OK."
Eastwood, who said he was "not supporting any politician at this time," also gave his blessing for either party to reference the spot, or at least its message.
"If Obama or any other politician wants to run with the spirit of that ad, go for it," he said.
Earlier in the day, Fox News contributor Karl Rove criticized the ad for being "a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the President of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising."
In response, Eastwood's longtime manager Leonard Hirshan told NY Magazine that the ad was never intended to be political.
"I think that Rove and everybody, if they're sensible, would wonder why a longtime Republican and Libertarian would do that," he said. "Just think about that, how silly that is: It's not like [the ad] was done by a left-winger, like Paul Newman in his day. It was done by a Republican, and he was doing it about America. There's not anything political to do with it whatsoever. I don't want him to do commercials, and as far as I'm concerned, it's a PSA [public service announcement]. Period."