A week after his speech to the Republican National Convention, in which he spoke to an empty chair intended to represent President Barack Obama, actor Clint Eastwood explained the stunt to the local paper in his hometown of Carmel, Calif.—a town he used to serve as mayor.
From an article in the Carmel Pine Cone:
While the Hollywood superstar has plenty of experience being adored by crowds, he said he hasn’t given a lot of speeches and admitted that, “I really don’t know how to.” He also hates using a teleprompter, so it was settled in his mind that when he spoke to the 10,000 people in the convention hall, and the millions more watching on television, he would do it extemporaneously.
“It was supposed to be a contrast with all the scripted speeches, because I’m Joe Citizen,” Eastwood said. “I’m a movie maker, but I have the same feelings as the average guy out there.”
As for what to say, Eastwood told the Pine Cone that nearly everyone had advice. But that he really didn't have a plan until he got there.
Also from the Pine Cone:
With just an hour before he appeared on stage, it still hadn’t occurred to Eastwood to use an empty chair as a stand-in for the president.
“I got to the convention site just 15 or 20 minutes before I was scheduled to go on,” he said. “That was fine, because everything was very well organized.”
After a quick trip through airport-style security, he was taken to a Green Room, where Archbishop Dolan of New York sought him out to say hello. Then he was taken backstage to wait for his cue. And that was when inspiration struck.
“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.”
Onstage, Eastwood said it was hard to keep track of time because of applause and a lack of cues saying how much time had passed.
The complete article can be read here.