Clint Eastwood's empty chair bit baffles, amuses RNC viewers

Posted By KATE STANTON,  |  Aug. 31, 2012 at 1:55 PM
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Legendary actor Clint Eastwood made quite an impression as the GOP's "mystery guest" at last night's Republican National Convention, thanks to his nutty, rambling conversation with an invisible Barack Obama represented by an empty chair. (You can watch the speech in full here.)

"Mr President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them? I mean, what do you say to people?" the 82-year-old asked the imaginary president.

“What do you mean, shut up?” Eastwood said to the chair at one point.

Baffled by the bizarre bit, social media users lit up Twitter and Facebook with commentary ridiculing the famous actor and director, known for classics like "Dirty Harry," "Million Dollar Baby" and "Gran Torino."

It wasn't long after his speech that Eastwood's "invisible Obama" gimic became a parody Twitter account, now boasting more than 49,000 followers.

Even the real President Obama joined in on the fun:

Eastwood's act quickly gave birth to a new meme, "Eastwooding," in which people post photos of themselves talking to empty chairs.

(Via @delrayser)

With Romney aides now distancing themselves from Eastwood's poorly received convention speech, political observers are left to wonder whether the octogenarian's unscripted television snafu ruined Romney's moment in the spotlight.

"Unfortunately for [Romney]," The New Yorker's John Cassidy wrote, "the only thing that most people will remember about it is the jarring picture of a frail-looking American screen legend, his hair askew, standing and talking in a halting voice to an empty chair."

In an interview with "CBS This Morning," Ann Romney had only kind words for Eastwood, but admitted that she "didn't know it was coming."

"He's a unique guy and he did a unique thing last night," she said.

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