“He is a great actor, and an even better director,” Barack Obama said in an interview with USA Today, on his way to campaign rallies in Iowa Saturday. “I think the last few movies that he’s made have been terrific.”
However, the President seemed not eager to comment on the actor’s latest performance on stage at the Republican National Convention Thursday.
The 82-year-old gave a rambling speech that was as disastrous as the botched bank robbery that he stopped in “Dirty Harry” while playing a jaded San Francisco cop.
Standing on the convention stage with an empty chair, Eastwood carried on a sometimes rambling conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama.
The Oscar-winning director of “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby” criticized Obama for failing to turn the economy around and for wanting to close the Guantánamo Bay prison for terror suspects.
“So Mr. President, how do you handle the promises you’ve made? What do you say?” Eastwood asked the imaginary Obama. “I know even some of the people in your party were disappointed you didn’t close Gitmo,” the Guantanamo prison.
The crowd cheered hard, perhaps out of sympathy for the famous actor, creating the awkward spectacle of a Republican convention roaring for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from the battlefield.
“One thing about being president or running for president — if you’re easily offended, you should probably choose another profession,” Obama said of the incident with a smile.
He went on adding that there would be no effort to respond with a similar performance at the Democratic National Convention, is due to open in Charlotte Tuesday. “I think we’ll be playing this pretty straight,” he said.
By the way, soon after Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican Convention, Obama’s aides responded to actor’s speech.
Obama’s team took to Twitter and posted an image, featuring the back of the seated President, saying: “this seat’s taken.”
Roger Ebert, an influential American film critic, wrote “Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.”
Joe Scarborough, the conservative host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” declared “a great night for Mitt Romney just got sidetracked by Clint Eastwood. Wow. That was bad.”
Comedian Bill Maher, vice versa, described Eastwood’s move as a brave one.
“As a performer, as a stand-up comedian for 30 years who knows how hard it is to get laughs, excuse me, (Eastwood) went up there, without a net, on a tightrope,” Maher said on his HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
The actor continued: “There was no teleprompter. He did a bit with just an empty chair and killed.”
Jon Stewart said of the performance at the Convention: “This is the most joy I’ve gotten from an old man since Dick Cheney non-fatally shot one in the face.”
Eastwood has made several forays into politics and in 1986 successfully ran as a Republican to become mayor of Carmel, the wealthy Californian beach city where he lived.