Clint Eastwood spoke to his local paper following his much-discussed speech last Thursday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa and revealed that he thought of talking to an imaginary President Barack Obama in an empty chair while sitting in the green room before his speech.
"There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down," he told the Carmel Pine Cone. “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."
The 82-year-old actor and director told a stagehand to put it next to the podium.
In his speech, Eastwood talked to the chair. "So Mr. President, how do you handle promises you've made?" he asked.
He attacked Obama for riding in Air Force One, which presumably Mitt Romney would also do. "You could still use a plane," he said, "Not that big gas guzzler you are going around to colleges and talking about student loans and stuff like that."
"I can't do that to myself," he said to it, apparently imagining that Obama was telling him to do something unmentionable.
The empty chair in the 12-minute rambling, unscripted speech earned widespread ridicule on Twitter, with the hashtag #eastwooding exploding with people posting pictures of themselves pointing to empty chairs. The Obama campaign responded with a tweet with a picture of Obama in a chair, "this seat's taken."
The former Carmel, Calif. mayor said he refused to be vetted by the Romney campaign because he didn't know what he was going to say beforehand. According to Eastwood, Romney and Ryan thanked him after the speech: "They were very enthusiastic, and we were all laughing." But his speech, right before Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Romney, distracted from Romney's prime-time address, as his bizarre performance drew national attention.
In his interview with the Carmel Pine Cone, Eastwood called Obama "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."