After 'Halftime in America," Clint Eastwood picks Team Romney

KETCHUM Fri Aug 3, 2012 8:46pm EDT

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KETCHUM Idaho Aug 3 (Reuters) - Mitt Romney must be feeling lucky, punk.

The Republican presidential candidate got a surprise boost Friday night when the star of "Dirty Harry," Academy Award winning actor and director Clint Eastwood appeared at Romney's fundraiser here, telling reporters he endorsed Romney because "the country needs a boost somewhere."

"He just made my day," Romney said.

Romney aides said Friday that the event in Idaho's Sun Valley raised more than $2 million, a record for a fundraising event in the state of Idaho.

Eastwood was reluctantly drawn into the 2012 campaign earlier this year when an ad by Chrysler, entitled "Halftime in America," ran during halftime of the Super Bowl, narrated by Eastwood and seemingly an endorsement of President Barack Obama.

At the time, Eastwood said flatly that he was not endorsing either candidate, telling Fox News Channel he is "certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama."

"It was meant to be a message about just about job growth and the spirit of America," Eastwood said at the time. "I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK. I am not supporting any candidate at this time."

That changed Friday as Eastwood lumbered unaccompanied across the bridge to the resort where about 325 people turned out to contribute to Romney's campaign.

Eastwood took the stage after an impromptu introduction from Romney, telling the crowd that he first saw Romney when the candidate was running for governor of Massachusetts and Eastwood was directing the movie "Mystic River" in Boston.

Eastwood said he kept seeing Romney's ads and thinking, "God, this guy, he's too handsome to be governor. But it does look like he could be president."

Tax fairness was the primary reason Eastwood cited in his remarks for endorsing Romney, saying Romney will "restore a decent tax system... so there's a fairness and people are not pitted against each other."

Eastwood joked with reporters before the event. When asked why he was endorsing Romney, Eastwood, behind Ray-Ban sunglasses, said flatly: "I haven't endorsed the Governor."

As the press stood confused, Eastwood let everyone in on the joke, that he was in fact there to endorse Romney.

When asked if this was his second act of "Halftime in America," Eastwood laughed off the suggestion, saying "that's pretty good."

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