Eastwood babbles, Romney has his night, the party’s over in Tampa

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TAMPA, FL (Tell Us Miami) – Mitt Romney re-introduced himself to the nation at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, vowing to not raise country’s taxes on the middle class and tackling social issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

The GOP presidential nominee made a triumphant entrance into the convention hall, walking slowly down the aisle and shaking hands with dozens of delegates. The hall erupted in cheers when he reached the stage and he waved to his shouting, chanting supporters before beginning to speak.

‘‘I accept your nomination for president,’’ he said as the crowd roared in approval.

MSNBC pundits said Clint Eastwood’s GOP convention speech Thursday night was a “bizarre” and “embarrassing” “disaster,” and a Fox News reporter wouldn’t even touch it.
But GOP strategist Steve Schmidt was more forgiving of the Hollywood icon’s performance.

“It’s unfortunate that he was out there. I feel bad for him. It was a mistake by the campaign to put him out there,” he said on MSNBC. “He’s an 82-year-old man. We should give him a break.”

Schmidt’s colleagues at the liberal network did exactly the opposite. “Clint Eastwood was a disaster,” Lawrence O’Donnell said. 

“I thought Clint Eastwood was bizarre,” Ed Schultz said. “It was demeaning to the presidency.” 

“They did not think he would get up there and erode in front of the whole world like he did. And it was embarrassing,” Rev. Al Sharpton. “I mean you almost wanted to go out there and get him.”

Rachel Maddow said she thought she was hallucinating.

“I left the stage and went and got a cookie because I worried that my blood sugar had dropped so low that I had passed out and that something was happening in my brain that generated this thing that couldn’t possibly be real in the last hour of a Republican Convention nominating somebody,” she said.

Fox News’s Chris Wallace, meanwhile, wouldn’t even opine on the speech.

“Let me say that I get paid to review politicians,” he said. “There’s no way I’m going to touch Clint Eastwood’s performance tonight.”

The Romney campaign insisted Eastwood’s speech was a breath of fresh air for the Tampa audience.

“Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn’t work. His ad-libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it,” the campaign said in a statement.

But even some GOP politicians gave Eastwood mixed reviews.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch praised Eastwood for having the “guts” to work in Hollywood and openly support Romney, but figured the teleprompter must have been on the fritz during his speech.

“My personal belief is that the monitor must have stopped on him,” Hatch told Fox News. “But that doesn’t make any difference. Clint’s up there in age. I gotta tell you, to come out there on that stage in front of all those people whooping and yelling and so forth, and to stand up for Mitt Romney the way he did, I thought it made a lot of sense.”

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren he thought Eastwood’s bit with the empty chair was a bust, but he did praise one part of the movie legend’s rambling address.

“I think, despite the shtick that may not have worked too well with the empty chair, that one line that you just saw was powerful — if somebody’s not doing the job, you gotta let them go. And I think that was Mitt Romney’s message as well.”

On MSNBC, Schmidt worried that Mitt Romney’s “fantastic” speech would “be cut into tomorrow in the coverage because of the sloppy Clint Eastwood decision.”

“People don’t vote for Hollywood actors,” he said

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