The Republican National Convention was promising a mystery guest tonight—and it turned out there were two: Clint Eastwood, as expected, and... an empty chair.
The empty chair was supposed to represent President Obama, and at one point, the Hollywood legend asked the empty chair if he had anything to say to Romney and then admonished "Invisible Obama," "He can't do that to himself. You're absolutely crazy. You're getting as bad as Biden."
At one point he told the chair, "I know even people in your own party were very disappointed when you didn’t close Gitmo. And I thought, well closing Gitmo -- why close that, we spent so much money on it. But, I thought maybe as an excuse -- what do you mean shut up? OK, I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City." Eastwood also praised Mitt Romney's background, "I think it is maybe time -- what do you think -- for maybe a businessman. How about that? A stellar businessman. Quote, unquote, 'a stellar businessman.'"
You can watch the full speech below (here's the transcript), but Buzzfeed's Zeke Miller wasn't impressed: "Mitt Romney took a chance on Clint Eastwood, but the only person whose day was made was Barack Obama's... Eastwood's routine was one part failed comedy, one part red meat, and through-and-through a missed opportunity to reach out to swing voters."
And the NY Times, which called Eastwood's speech "odd, rambling," noted, "After going much longer than expected — as indicated by the urgently flashing red light at the back of the room — Mr. Eastwood gave in to urging from the crowd to say his famous line. 'Go ahead,' he said, and the crowd chanted, 'Make my day!'" Whatever—at least @InvisibleObama was born.
Eastwood spoke off-the-cuff. The Times' political reporter Adam Nagourney Tweeted, "Clint Eastwood's is riffing. (Shocked?) The only wordson the teleprompter is "Whip Team: Hand out the flags.""
Romney's spokespeople issued a statement, "Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn't work. His ad libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it. He rightly pointed out that 23 million Americans out of work or underemployed is a national disgrace and it's time for a change." In other words, people, stop being so mean on Twitter!!!