The Romney campaign is defending Clint Eastwood’s Thursday night’s baffling endorsement of the one-time Massachusetts governor at the Republican National Convention, insisting that the actor “spoke from the heart with a classic improv sketch which everyone at the convention loved.” Eastwood has been widely criticized for talking to an empty chair with an “invisible Obama,” during his 10 minute address. (Watch ThinkProgress’ highlight reel here.)
“[It was] an honor that a great American icon would come and talk about the failure of the current president and the promise of the future one,” senior aide Stuart Stevens, one of two advisers to clear Eastwood’s appearance, insisted to the New York Times. On Friday morning, Romney’s wife Ann also came to the actor’s defense, telling CBS, “He’s a unique guy and he did a unique thing last night.”
The effort to justify Eastwood’s rantings did not stop there. During an appearance on MSNBC, Romney adviser Tara Wall even sought to connect the actor’s critique to the campaign’s official message, explaining that the empty chair that was supposed to seat Obama symbolized the president’s failed policies:
WALL: The chair emphasized, I think what many Americans are asking themselves four years later, where is President Obama relative to his promises made and promises not kept. So I think that that was pretty descriptive of the fact that president Obama four years ago said we would be at 6 percent unemployment if we enacted what he believed were his policies that would work.
The Romney campaign provided Eastwood with talking points, but did not equip him with prepared remarks. “They simply turned the podium over to an iconic superstar and expected him to stand and deliver.”
Stevens said “Mitt Romney himself didn’t seem to mind.” “I was backstage with him and he was laughing, and he enjoyed it,” Stevens said, adding that the candidate thanked him for coming.”