Eastwood's Chair Prop: Last-Second Improv
He asked staff for it just before going on, without explaining why
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2012 8:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – Nobody knew about the chair. In post-mortems on Clint Eastwood's "unique" convention speech, the Washington Post and the New York Times say the actor asked for the prop just before going on without explaining what he was going to do. He's 82, after all, and "everyone just assumed he was going to sit in it," writes the Post. Instead, he launched his unscripted "invisible Obama" shtick—"a little improv," in the words of Romney strategist Stuart Stevens. He also went on for more than 10 minutes, double his allotted time.

It turns out that Romney himself privately invited Eastwood to speak, says the Times, after the actor did a nice job endorsing Romney at fundraiser in Idaho. On Thursday, Eastwood cleared some main talking points with Romney aides a few hours ahead of time but didn't go into detail about the speech, which he delivered without a teleprompter. On the record, the campaign is saying appreciative, if restrained, things about the appearance. But off the record, the Times says a "blame game" is under way among top advisers.