COURSEY: An unscripted moment steals the convention

The Republican National Convention was carefully designed to introduce America to the "real" Mitt Romney.

But we'll remember it primarily for two other people: The "phantom" Barack Obama and, in the role that may redefine his career, Clint Eastwood as "Crazy Harry."

Make my day, indeed.

Republican National Convention 8.30.12


For years we've pined for the old-fashioned, unscripted, bare-knuckle political conventions of yore, when anything could happen and usually did. Take the Democrats' 1968 party in Chicago, with riots outside the hall, Dan Rather getting knocked down on the convention floor and Sen. Abe Ribicoff veering off-message in his speech nominating George McGovern to instead criticize Chicago Mayor Richard Daly, who stood in the audience to shout for Ribicoff to get off the podium.

Now that's what I call a good convention.

These days, conventions are so planned and scripted and sanitized that not even the TV networks seem all that interested in what's going on inside the halls. Everything is pre-ordained, vetted, focus-grouped and polled before a single word is spoken from the podium.

Except for Clint Eastwood.

In an extraordinary moment of spontaneity and candor, the Republicans allowed the 82-year-old actor to take the stage last night without a script, and apparently without a clue as to what he was about to do. And Eastwood, looking slightly disheveled with mussed hair and an ill-fitting suit, turned in the signature performance of the GOP's three days in Tampa.

Conservatives exist in Hollywood, he told the adoring crowd, they just "play it closer to the vest. They don't go around hot-dogging it."

Then, grinning as if he was having the time of his life, Eastwood hot-dogged it.

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