Clint Eastwood weighs in on the current crop of GOP contenders.
When it comes to the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, if Eastwood is enthusiastic about anyone, it’s Herman Cain. “I love Cain’s story,” he says. “He’s a guy who came from nowhere and did well, obviously against heavy odds. He’s a doer and a straight-talker, which I don’t see enough of from either party.”
He’s not as bullish on Mitt Romney. As a film icon, Eastwood has been fiercely protective of his image, but he’s not especially enamored by that attitude in a politician. When Eastwood was in Massachusetts in 2002, filming “Mystic River,” Romney was running for governor there. “I saw a lot of him and you have to admit — he looks like a president,” Eastwood recalled with a tone that you’d have to describe as being slyly sarcastic. “I mean, if you were casting a movie where you needed someone to play president, you’d definitely pick him.”
He sounded equally skeptical about Rick Perry. When I suggested that Perry, as a rugged, gun-toting Texan, would probably crave a photo op with Eastwood even more than with Donald Trump, Eastwood said with a shrug, “If he wanted to meet me, he might be a little disappointed.”
I’m here to testify that it’s awfully difficult to be disappointed when you meet Eastwood. He has a self-deprecating charm that wears well, even if you’re on the other side of the political spectrum. When I push back at his criticism of the auto company bailout, he flashes one of his trademark Eastwood squints, the kind of squint that has made hundreds of bad guys quake in their boots.