The Republican speaker everyone was talking about on the US chat shows this weekend was not Mitt Romney - but Clint Eastwood. Was his ten-minute monologue to an empty chair (twice as long as intended) a disaster or a delight? If you weren't up around 3am to catch it in the UK , here it is again. Plus some of the comments from a divided nation.
Clint Eastwood didn't exactly make the Republicans' day with his rambling contribution at the convention in Florida - but later reflection suggests that his off-the-wall contribution was better received than you might have expected .
Many thought Eastwood upstaged presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But the journalists on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” thought the audience liked the speech.
David Drucker of Roll Call, said the Republicans could have done without Eastwood, yet he added: “How did it play at home? For the 50-plus voter out in the heartland, out all over the country, I was checking with my family, checking with Twitter, they loved it.”
Drucker's verdict: .Eastwood may have helped galvanise the older vote.
Lauren Ashburn of Daily-Download.com tweeted that the Republicans would regret Eastwood's role - because he took away from Romney’s message.
“It was shocking,” she said. But she admitted one reader told her Eastwood “played so well in the fly-over states.”
Christina Bellantoni of PBS NewsHournoted that many younger people didn't ’t know Eastwood and said he " might have not been the right messenger for the Republicans’ message."
The Daily Caller said the Eastwood speech had been panned as badly delivered and condemned as disrespectful. "But it drew some of the most enthusiastic response of any speech at the three-day event."
The Daily Beast said Eastwood’s onstage exchange with the empty chair "managed to overshadow the entire RNC, and leave the whole country scratching their heads."
Ann Romney awkwardly called it “unique.”
Superstar Ben Affleck—a lifelong Democrat who campaigned for Obama—didn't understand all the hullabaloo, however.
“You see these excerpts and you think, ‘What’s going on? He’s talking to a chair? What is this?’” Affleck told The Daily Beast.
“But once you actually watch it you go, ‘Yeah, I get what he’s doing.’ Look, everyone knows Clint is a Republican. He’s 82 years old. He’s got a right to speak his mind. He didn’t kill with the speech, but I by no means thought it was a huge embarrassment.”
The New Yorker opined, "Eccentric, maybe, but not a disaster, and it will be remembered fondly as the one humanly interesting moment of the convention."
The New York Times was in no such generous mood. Wrote one commentator, " If Mr. Obama’s political team was watching the Republican National Convention last week (and they were), they could hardly have missed the Clint Eastwood mess. The actor’s odd, rambling remarks were a reminder that mistakes matter. "
So what did Obama think? He cheekily tweeted about Eastwood’s speech to an empty chair: “This seat’s taken.”
On “This Week,” Obama adviser David Plouffe told George Stephanopoulos: ”Listen, I think the president, myself, we all, I think, everyone in America thinks he’s been an amazing actor and director and an American treasure. We’re all Clint Eastwood fans here in the Obama campaign.”
Some mischievous people though Clint might even have been a Democratic plant, recalling his Chrysler TV ad in which he seemed to extol Obama's helping hand for Detroit. Just joking, of course.
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