In an interview with a local newspaper from Carmel, CA, Clint Eastwood has finally explained what happened with his whole empty chair fiasco at the RNC. In the process he inadvertently managed to make a pretty convincing case for preparing speeches ahead of time and projecting them on to teleprompters like everyone else.
Here’s how he says the empty chair idea came about:
“There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down,” Eastwood said. “When I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea. I’ll just put the stool out there and I’ll talk to Mr. Obama and ask him why he didn’t keep all of the promises he made to everybody.”
That’s what happens when you don’t write a speech, have no idea how to give speeches, show up 15 minutes beforehand and wing it—all of which Eastwood says is how it went down. Here are some choice excerpts:
They vet most of the people, but I told them, ‘You can’t do that with me, because I don’t know what I’m going to say.
I got to the convention site just 15 or 20 minutes before I was scheduled to go on. That was fine, because everything was very well organized.
When you’re out there, it’s kind of hard to tell how much time is going by. that’s what happens when you don’t have a written-out speech.
They’ve got this crazy actor who’s 82 years old up there in a suit. I was a mayor, and they’re probably thinking I know how to give a speech, but even when I was mayor I never gave speeches. I gave talks.
Right. Which is why most people write out their speechs ahead of time—so if you happen to be prone to having imaginary conversations with the president in which he tells you and the Republican nominee to go fuck yourselves, you keep it on the inside.
Eastwood insists that he did get across the points he intended to: “I had three points I wanted to make: That not everybody in Hollywood is on the left, that Obama has broken a lot of the promises he made when he took office, and that the people should feel free to get rid of any politician who’s not doing a good job.”
He probably would have gotten those points across better with an actual speech and a teleprompter. But, hey—you have to hand it to him, it’s gotta take guts to get up in front of the entire nation with no idea what you’re about to say and just wing it.