Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Susan Davis, USA TODAY
TAMPA - Hollywood heavyweight Clint Eastwood made an unscheduled appearance on the GOP convention stage before a welcoming audience Thursday night ahead of Mitt Romney's acceptance speech for his party's presidential nomination.
"I think it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem," said Eastwood, 82, who already endorsed Romney this month at a campaign fundraiser in Idaho. "When someone does not do the job, you have got to let them go."
Eastwood remarks were rambling at times and critical of President Obama and Vice President Biden, whom he described as "a kind of grin with a body behind it."
Eastwood has said he first became aware of Romney during the filming of Mystic River in Massachusetts, when Romney was governor.
"I said, 'God, this guy, he's too handsome to be governor, but he does look like he could be president,' " Eastwood said during the Idaho event. "As the years have gone by, I began to think even more so about that."
Eastwood has been an active Republican his entire adult life, although he has at times supported Democratic candidates and maintains liberal social views and supports abortion rights and gay marriage. During the 1980s, Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, Calif.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, a friend of Eastwood's who has joined him at Republican fundraisers, spoke of Eastwood's popularity in conservative circles.
"Nobody messes with Clint Eastwood," Boehner said. "He could make another half dozen movies before President Obama could get the unemployment rate below 8%. I'm glad he has Mitt's back."
The Academy Award winner drew headlines earlier this year when he was the voice of a high-profile Super Bowl ad for Chrysler declaring it was "half-time in America," which was perceived as being favorable to President Obama and the auto bailout his administration helped orchestrate. Eastwood pushed back and said he was not "politically affiliated" with the president.