Clint Eastwood to speak at the Republican National Convention

Chris Moody
Political Reporter
The Ticket

TAMPA—Academy Award-winning actor and director Clint Eastwood will speak at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, multiple news outlets are reporting.

Rumors about a "mystery speaker" swirled after convention organizers released a revised schedule earlier this week with a "To Be Announced" slot before a speech by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who will introduce Mitt Romney. Some speculated Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh would be the surprise guest, while others tabbed Tim Tebow, the devoutly Christian New York Jets quarterback. Former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush were also floated as possibilities.

But according to CNN, Eastwood, who endorsed Romney at a fundraiser in Sun Valley, Idaho, earlier this month, "is expected to walk through the convention floor in the afternoon for a brief rundown of the night's events." The 82-year-old actor secretly flew to Tampa, Reuters said.

Eastwood, best known for his on-screen roles as "Dirty Harry," was once a Republican mayor of Carmel, Calif., his hometown.

In February, Eastwood appeared in a controversial Super Bowl ad for Chrysler touting Detroit's resurgence. "It's halftime in America," Eastwood declared. "And our second half's about to begin."

"They almost lost everything," the "Gran Torino" star continued. "But we all pulled together. Now Motor City is fighting again."

The ad drew the ire of some Republicans—including Karl Rove—who said the spot was a thinly veiled commercial for the Obama administration and the success of the auto bailout.

"I was, frankly, offended by it," Rove said on Fox News. "I'm a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but 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."

But Eastwood dismissed the criticism, telling Fox News' Bill O'Reilly he was "certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama."

"I think the country needs a boost," Eastwood said in Sun Valley. "Now more than ever do we need Gov. Romney. I'm going to be voting for him."