UPDATE, 7:21 PM: “Save a little for Mitt,” joked Clint Eastwood to Republicans’ enthusiastic cheers to his primetime appearance onstage in Tampa, Florida before the Presidential nominee. Right off the bat, Eastwood tackled the notion that Hollywood supports Democrats not the GOP. “What’s a movie tradesman doing here? They’re all left-wingers out there. Left of Lenin,” the Oscar winner said. Eastwood then added, “that’s what people think, but that’s not really the case. There’s a lot of conservative people, moderate people in Hollywood but, by their very nature, conservative people play it close to the chest.” After noting the presence of fellow star Jon Voight among the GOP crowd and some brief remarks about the hope that he felt when President Barack Obama was first elected, Eastwood then did a mock interview to an empty chair that represented the incumbent. The star slammed Obama, making fun of his broken promise to close Guantanamo Bay, the idea of potentially trying terrorists in New York City, his environmental polices and the war in Afghanistan. Eastwood also took a swipe at some of the verbal gaffs of Vice President Joe Biden. “We all know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party, kind of a grin with a body behind it,” he said to Republican roars. Voicing his strong support for Mitt Romney, Eastwood told the delegates, “we own this country.” He added that Romney needed to replace Obama in the White House because “when someone doesn’t do the job, we’ve got to let him go.” The crowd went wild. Eastwood then ended his 12 minute speech by leading the delegates in a chant of his catch phrase of “Go ahead, make my day.”
PREVIOUSLY, 7:03 PM: Clint Eastwood has taken the stage at the GOP Convention. Heavily rumored for the past day to be the convention’s “To Be Announced” speaker, the Oscar winner has just walked out to huge applause from the crowd of more than 20,000 in Tampa, Florida. Eastwood, a former Mayor of Carmel, California, will speak to the delegates for about 10 minutes before Senator Marco Rubio introduces Presidential nominee Mitt Romney himself. Eastwood appeared right after a biographical video about Romney was played to the crowd and just as the main networks went live with their one hour of convention coverage tonight. Though they differ over same sex marriage and abortion rights, Eastwood enthusiastically endorsed a beaming Romney earlier this month at a $25,000 a ticket Sun Valley fundraiser. “Now more than ever do we need Mitt Romney, I’m going to be voting for him,” the Oscar winner said on August 4 as the GOP nominee stood next to him.
Earlier this year Eastwood got a lot of flack from many of the people cheering him tonight. The actor/director’s appearance in a Chrysler ad shown during the Super Bowl was criticized as an endorsement of Obama because of its praise for the resurgence of the Detroit-based U.S. auto industry. The Obama administration bailed out the industry in 2009 over the objections of many Republicans, including Mitt Romney. At the time, Eastwood argued against that interpretation of the ad and denied that he was a supporter of the incumbent.
Unlike the deep support President Barack Obama has in Hollywood, the cash-rich Romney campaign doesn’t have a lot of public pals in Tinseltown. Where Obama has had multi-million dollar fundraisers with George Clooney on May 10, with Sarah Jessica Parker on June 14 and earlier this month at Harvey Weinstein’s Connecticut home with Anne Hathaway and Aaron Sorkin, among others, Romney has only had a spattering of support from the likes of Eastwood and Jon Voight. Now in Florida, to paraphrase Eastwood’s famous Dirty Harry line, the actor/director really is going to try to make the former Massachusetts Governor’s day – in a good way. MORE