Clint sells himself for a few dollars more

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st eastwood REUTERS INVISIBLE OBAMA SPEAKS: Legendary actor and director, Clint Eastwood, became an internet sensation after he addressed an empty chair as if it were President Barack Obama at the final session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida last week. Picture: Reuters

The US presidential elections are in full swing. Last week, the Republican Party converged in Tampa, in the sunny state of Florida, for the Republican National Convention to officially nominate Mitt Romney as its preferred candidate to run against the incumbent leader of the Democratic Party, President Barack Obama.

The Republican Party held the bully pulpit and the attention of the American public last week, saying the country was in a bad state, while not acknowledging a single idea that Obama brought to the table.

What the Republicans didn’t mention is that he has kept more of his campaign promises than any other modern president. By October 2011, he had already accomplished more than 60 percent of his promises, despite the obstructionist practices of the Republicans.

The Republican Party’s main agenda since Obama assumed office was, and still is, to block every single one of his initiatives.

Even if the ideas were Republican ideas originally, they just didn’t want him to take credit. By blocking his initiatives, they would then paint him as a failed president.

So it was rich when Mitt Romney said in his acceptance speech: “I wish President Obama had succeeded, because I want America to succeed.”

Convention-goers stood up and applauded; it was a great line, but they also knew that it was a great lie.

The main aim of the convention was to talk about Romney and to maul Obama. However, things didn’t go according to plan.

Before Romney was due to speak, there was a surprise speaker announced, Clint Eastwood.

The convention-goers stood up and applauded wildly as he was introduced, because a few months earlier, he had made an ad touting Obama’s bailout of the car industry in Detroit.

The Republicans lambasted him for it because, as one of their own, he was not meant to admit that the president had done something good.

The bailout of the auto industry is viewed as one of Obama’s boldest decisions when he assumed office – he even fired the CEO of General Motors three months into his presidency.

At one point in the middle of his speech, Clint Eastwood was interrupted by an invisible Obama and asked him: “What do you want me to tell Romney? I can’t tell him to do that. I can’t tell him to do that to himself.”

The convention-goers laughed and applauded. The routine was good for people at the convention centre, but it was horrible to watch on TV.

One couldn’t help but cringe as this icon reduced himself to such pettiness.

Even before the speech was finished, people were lampooning him on the internet. A Twitter account called @InvisibleObama was created barely five minutes into Eastwood’s speech, and it went viral.

Soon after the speech, the Obama campaign hit back by tweeting a photo of the back of the president’s chair (the chair has a metal inscription, “The President”), with Obama’s head showing over the top of it, along with the line: “This seat’s taken.”

Other celebrities were shocked. Star Jones, a US TV personality, tweeted: “I can’t believe I just watched Clint Eastwood turn into somebody’s DRUNK UNCLE HARRY on the stage of the GOP RNC.

“He humiliated himself.”

The purpose of the convention is to get the whole country talking about the candidate, especially if one is running against an incumbent.

But everyone is talking about what Clint Eastwood did, not what Romney said.


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