Eastwood mocked over Romney speech

Actor and film director Clint Eastwood has earned plenty of bad reviews for his latest performance - a bizarre, rambling endorsement of Mitt Romney.

"Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic," tweeted film critic Roger Ebert as Eastwood ad-libbed to an audience of millions - and one empty chair - on stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. "He didn't need to do this to himself. It's unworthy of him."

Eastwood carried on a long-winded conversation with an imaginary president Barack Obama, telling him that he failed to deliver on his promises, and it is time for Mr Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, to take over.

"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?" he said at one point to the empty chair.

Twitter was instantly ablaze with comments mocking the Oscar-winning director of Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby.

"Clint has now eclipsed the total word count of his last three films," tweeted film critic Richard Roeper during the speech, which was intended to last five minutes but went on for nearly 12. Howard Kurtz, host of CNN's Reliable Sources, said "Clint's empty chair act" was the "weirdest convention moment I have ever seen".

Minutes after Eastwood began his speech, someone created an (at)InvisibleObama account on Twitter. It has already amassed 30,000 followers and counting.

The 82-year-old actor and director also talked about Oprah Winfrey, Obama's unfulfilled promise to close the US prison at Guantanamo, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and lawyers. At one point, he referenced dismissing Mr Obama and making a change. "When somebody doesn't do the job, you gotta let 'em go," Eastwood said. The tough-guy actor of Dirty Harry fame then drew a finger across his throat.

The Obama campaign shot back afterwards by tweeting a photo of the back of the president's chair, with Mr Obama's head peeking over it, along with the line: "This seat's taken."

Inside the convention, the crowd cheered Eastwood's entrance and shouted his famed catchphrase, "Go ahead, make my day." But backstage, stern-faced Romney aides winced at times as Eastwood's remarks stretched on. After his speech, Mr Romney's camp defended Eastwood. "He's an American icon," Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told CNN's Piers Morgan. "You can't look at him at through the same political lens that you would other politicians. He's Clint Eastwood."