Acclaimed actor and filmmaker Clint Eastwood criticized U.S. President Barack Obama while giving a lengthy, unorthodox and divisive speech at the Republican National Convention August 30, but the commander-in-chief hasn't lost respect for the Hollywood icon, 82.
"I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan," Obama, 51, told USA Today while traveling to Iowa aboard Air Force One Saturday. "He is a great actor, and an even better director. I think the last few movies that he's made have been terrific."
During Eastwood's 12-minute improvisation, the actor pretended to have a conversation with Obama by addressing an empty chair. "I've got Mr. Obama sitting here. I was going to ask him a couple of questions," Eastwood told Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's supporters. Obama's campaign staff responded by tweeting an image of the married father-of-two sitting in his presidential chair with a very clear message: "This seat's taken."
When asked point blank by USA Today if he was offended by Eastwood's "interview" at the Republican National Convention, Obama smiled and said, "One thing about being president or running for president -- if you're easily offended, you should probably choose another profession."
Eastwood's bizarre speech befuddled many stars, including Adam Levine and Olivia Munn. "Clint Eastwood has gone f---in' nutterbutters yo," The Voice's Levine, 33, tweeted. "Clint Eastwood was talking to an empty chair at the RNC," Newsroom's Munn, 32, wrote. "No, that's not the set up to a joke. It's not even a joke."
Obama assured USA Today he has no intention of pulling a similar stunt at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4. "I think we'll be playing this pretty straight," he said.