In what was being billed as the biggest moment of his political career, GOP candidate Mitt Romney offered his best as a caring, presidential person and predictably hit all the right notes in his acceptance speech Thursday night.
The biggest surprise of the list of Republican National Convention speakers was Clint Eastwood’s completely befuddling, funny, and painful stage act previewing Romney, but more on that in a moment.
Romney drew a sharp contrast between himself and Obama, even mocking the president’s 2008 nomination speech: “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”
Romney also offered some poignant one-liners, such as “When the world needs something big to be done, you need an American,” or “You know there is something wrong when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for (Obama),” and the best one-liner of the night: “In America we celebrate success not apologize for success.”
Conversation online focused on how it was a good speech, but not surprising and entirely expectable. People said his speech was more about getting to work than getting people to like him.
While it was supposed to be Romney’s night, you can bet the talk around the water cooler today will be about the surprise speaker, Clint Eastwood. Even CNN’s Anderson Cooper couldn’t stop talking about it in the post speech discussion.
In what seemed like an unscripted performance, Clint Eastwood offered an odd, at times uncomfortable rambling endorsement of Mitt Romney, pretending to have off-color conversation with an imaginary President Obama sitting in an empty chair.
The Twitter-sphere went off the hook, with thousands of updates each minute and a new viral meme #eastwooding, in which people shared pictures of themselves pointing to an empty chair. In the 30 minutes after the speech, a new Twitter account called @InvisibleObama landed 50,000 followers. The Romney campaign sent out a release to diffuse the issue saying it was not an official speech, but rather a break from them.
Some of the best tweets:
I think the Republicans just locked up the rogue cop vote.
This is one of those things when thousands watching in person in Tampa are like haha?, millions on tv r saying…wtf
Was that as weird as Gore trying to dance the macarena?
That was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen at a convention. Who’s next, Bob Newhart having a pretend phone call?
I have newfound respect for the chimp that had to act opposite Clint#GOP2012 #AnyWhichWayButCoherent
Romney and Ryan families take defensive center position on stage, waiting to hear that Clint has left and it’s safe to go.
Even President Obama weighed in on Twitter, tweeting: “This seat’s taken,” with a picture of himself seated in a chair.
Gil Rudawsky is a former reporter and editor. He heads up the crisis communication and issues management practice at GroundFloor Media in Denver. Read his blog or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.