Clint Eastwood is not going to take your crap. Don't accuse him of anything. Don't even look at him the wrong way. Mr. Eastwood will not stand for it.
And so the 81-year-old Hollywood legend has spoken out following the strange — though not entirely unexpected, based on the political rancor in this election year — fallout from his Super Bowl commercial that aired on Sunday night. In an otherwise lackluster year for big-game ads, Eastwood's inspiring Chrysler spot about the rebirth of Detroit stood out from the pack of ho-hum beer and junk food ads — not only because of its utterly awesome Clint Eastwood-ness, but as a result of the hot air it generated on both sides of the political spectrum.
And that's not cool, Eastwood told a producer of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor." "I just want to say that the spin stops with you guys, and there is no spin in that ad," he said. "On this I am certain."
Eastwood, who has been politically active for decades, supporting John McCain in the 2008 presidential election and expressing admiration for Ron Paul in this year's GOP primary, went on to say, "I am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message about, just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK."
Not everyone agreed. Former George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove accused the Obama administration of having a hand in the ad following the White House's costly bailouts of the auto industry. "The leadership of auto companies feel they need to do something to repay their political patronage," Rove said, according to Reuters. "It is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising."
The Obama administration, for its part, seized on the ad as a high-profile affirmation that its auto bailouts, while controversial, were ultimately the right call made by a gusty leader. At a White House briefing, Obama press secretary Jay Carney said, "This president made decisions that were not very popular at the time that were guided by two important principles: one, that he should do what he could to ensure that 1 million jobs would not be lost, and two, that the American automobile industry should be able to thrive globally, if the right conditions were created."
That's certainly not a bad message to broadcast to the 100 million-plus people who tuned in to see the New York Giants surge past the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLVI. Eastwood, while continuing to decline to endorse a candidate, explained that anyone who embraces the ideas in the Chrysler spot is OK by him.
"I am not supporting any politician at this time," the five-time Oscar winner explained. "[But if] Obama or any other politician wants to run with the spirit of that ad, go for it."