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Clint Eastwood divides opinion over Republican speech

Invictus, UK premiere

Story by Jack Foley

HE MAY have made the day of thousands of Republicans for his endorsement of US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Thursday (August 30, 2012) but movie icon Clint Eastwood has divided general opinion over his remarks.

The veteran star, 82, may have brought the house down with his 15-minute appearance at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, but he has also set Twitter ablaze with retorts and endorsements from fellow celebrities.

Among the more polarising aspects of Eastwood’s cameo were his decision to conduct an imaginary conversation with Barack Obama in which he questioned his policies and ‘failure’ to deliver on pre-election promises.

Taking to Twitter to condemn him, respected movie critic Roger Ebert said that the actor came across as “sad and pathetic”, while Star Trek star Zachary Quinto claimed to be “legitimately scared” after his contribution.

“Is Clint Eastwood meant to instil confidence in Republicans?” he mused. “i am legitimately scared of his talking to imaginary obama.”

Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt wrote: “I love you, Clint. I always will. But you changed the theme of the RNC from “WE BUILT THIS” to “I CAN’T WATCH THIS.”

While Bill Maher said: “Wow. Who knew Clint Eastwood was such a down the line rightwing asshole?”

And British actor Simon Pegg added: “Apparently Clint Eastwood had an argument with an empty chair regarding its political standpoint. Maybe Clint is a sleeper agent for the Democrats sent in under deep cover to make the Republicans look stupid. No wait, that’s Romney.”

But some were full of praise for Eastwood.

Saturday Night Live comedian Chris Kattan Tweeted: “Clint Eastwood may be old but he’s still awesome.”

While Seth Meyers Tweeted: “Respect to Clint. 82 years old and putting Twitter over capacity.”

And Blake Shelton wrote simply: “I. Love. Clint Eastwood.”

Zach Braff, meanwhile, Tweeted somewhat comically: “Still can’t tell if Clint was hallucinating or President is really invisible now.”

In a statement released after his appearance, the Romney campaign insisted the audience had “enjoyed” his “ad libbing”.

“Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn’t work,” his spokesperson said, claiming his contribution had been “a break from all the political speeches”.