Forward Thinking

Clint Eastwood Makes Democrats' Day

By Seth Berkman

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Clint Eastwood’s surprise speech last night at the Republican National Convention has been described as “surreal,” “rambling,” and “sad.”

The Dirty Harry actor stole the spotlight from Mitt Romney’s nominating speech (a big no-no in the spin room) with the speech that took aim at President Barack Obama and featured an empty chair and (how could it not?) a “make my day” quote.

But what effect did Eastwood’s speech have on Jewish voters? The jury is out.

Republican political strategist Frank Luntz, talking to Charlie Rose on CBS, said the speech wouldn’t have a lasting impact, but that it may have overshadowed an important moment for Romney.

“The fact that we are talking about it now means that we’re not talking about the language and presentation that Mitt Romney put forward,” Luntz said. “It was so essential to introduce himself, his personality, his family, what he thinks, who he is.”

Obama strategist David Axelrod took a diplomatic approach when asked about Eastwood’s speech on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

“I love Clint Eastwood. He is a great filmmaker and I think he is one of the greats of our time,” Axelrod said. “I’m sure in retrospect they would have rather run the film than the filmmaker, but that is their business and we will handle ours a different way.”

Axelrod also said that he hoped the Democratic National Convention wouldn’t have any similar distractions from its supposed main event.

“My personal goal is that you guys won’t be sitting around on (next) Friday dissecting quite the way you are now,” he said. “Because that would be a bad reflection on our production.”

Comedian Seth Meyers took a lighter view at the proceedings, tweeting last night, “That was so awesome. Biden has to go shirtless for DNC to top it,” and this morning, “When Clint woke up this morning he saw that Obama was gone from the chair… Or was he still there!?!?!”

Ezra Klein, covering the convention for the Washington Post, perhaps summed it up best, tweeting, “This is the best thing that has ever happened.”

For which party, it remains to be seen.


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