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Clint Eastwood's empty chair at RNC creates buzz

6:55 AM, Aug 31, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The reaction to Clint Eastwood's "invisible Obama" routine at the Republican National Convention last night came down hard, setting Twitter on fire and giving political pundits plenty to talk about.

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"This seat's taken," President Obama's re-election team posted on Twitter, along with a photo of Obama sitting in his chair.

For those who missed it: Eastwood talked to an empty chair as though President Obama was sitting next to him. The bit by the much-anticipated "mystery guest" at Romney's celebration seemed to play well inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum, but the twitterverse was all ablaze.

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"I heard that Clint Eastwood was channeling me at the RNC. My lawyers and I are drafting our lawsuit," deadpanned comedian Bob Newhart in a Twitter post.

Steve Schmidt, who ran John McCain's campaign, said it was a mistake for Mitt Romney's campaign to put Eastwood on the stage. "It was unfortunate he was out there," Schmidt said on MSNBC. "He's an 82-year-old man. We should give him a break."

The Romney campaign issued a statement last night saying Eastwood was "ad libbing" and the thousands of people packed into the arena "enjoyed it."

A parody Twitter account, @invisibleObama, had more than 35,000 followers some five hours after Eastwood's remarks. The scene inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum also sparked the hashtag, #eastwooding, with some people posting photos of empty chairs.

It's clear that some people watching on TV didn't know what to make of it.

"Let me just say this is entertaining but holy hell it is weird," said Erick Erickson, editor of the conservative Red State blog, said on Twitter.

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato posted on Twitter, "I'd feel better if I knew for sure that Clint doesn't see anyone in the chair."

USA Today

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