Don’t kiss up to politicians, says Clint Eastwood

(Reuters) – Clint Eastwood said on Friday that the aim of his widely publicised speech to the Republican National Convention was to urge Americans to stop idolising politicians – of any party.

Speaking at a news conference promoting his upcoming movie drama “Trouble with the Curve,” the Oscar-winning actor and director said Americans should look at the records of politicians and make their own judgments.

“My only message was that I just want people to take the idolising factor out of every contestant out there and just look at the work, look at the background and make a judgment on that,” he told reporters who asked him to reflect on the rambling ’empty chair’ speech last month.

The Aug 30 speech puzzled observers and quickly become the brunt of jokes.

“I was just trying to say that, and I did it in kind of a roundabout way which took up a lot more time I suppose than they would have liked,” the “Dirty Harry” star said.

“People don’t have to kiss it up with politicians, no matter what party they’re in,” he added. “You should evaluate their work and make your judgments accordingly. That’s the way you do in life in every other subject. But sometimes in America we get gaga, you know, we look at the wrong values.”

Eastwood, 82, last week told the local paper in the Carmel, California town where he was mayor in the 1980s that he decided only minutes before going on stage to cast an empty chair as an invisible President Barack Obama.

Eastwood was speaking to a television audience of millions minutes before Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney made a keynote address. Eastwood last week termed his unscripted speech “unorthodox” and said he had been largely unaware of the headlines his performance had caused.

Eastwood, who won directing Oscars for “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby”, plays an aging baseball scout with a fractured relationship with his daughter (Amy Adams) in the movie “Trouble with the Curve.”

The film opens in US theatres on Sept 21.