Oscar-winning director and actor Clint Eastwood, who appeared in a Chrysler ad in February leading to speculations that he might back President Barack Obama, endorsed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a fundraiser in Idaho.
"It's now more important than ever that we need Gov. Romney," the 82-year-old Hollywood legend said at a fundraiser in the Idaho resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, on Friday night. "And I'm going to be voting for him as I know most of you will be."
Eastwood said the country needed "a boost," according to a pool report. "We've got to just spread the word and get the whole country behind this."
The "Dirty Harry" star added he had long seen Romney as a presidential candidate. "I was doing a picture in early 2000s called 'Mystic River' in his home state," he said. "At that time, Gov. Romney was running for governor. I said, 'God, this guy is too handsome to be governor, but he does look like he could be president.'"
Eastwood showed confidence that Romney was "going to restore a decent tax system that we need badly so that there is a fairness and people are not pitted against one another of whose paying taxes and who isn't." He continued, "We don't want anybody taking away the Olympic medals, tax-wise, from the Olympic athletes."
Romney was thrilled. "He just made my day," he said. "What a guy."
Eastwood was sitting among the audience as the fundraiser began. "There's a guy here from the world of acting who has pursued his dreams in a very unusual way," Romney said, introducing him. "He stood up to the industry and sort of did it his own way."
About 325 people attended the event, each one paying as much as $25,000. It helped raise more than $2 million for the Victory Fund, a joint effort between the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee.
Eastwood is known for endorsing GOP candidates, but he was criticized by some Republicans after he showed up in a Chrysler ad in February during the 2012 Super Bowl that was seen as the government's bailout of the auto industry. Many thought the Hollywood legend was indicating he was going to back Obama.
"I was frankly offended by it," former George W. Bush aide Karl Rove had then told Fox News, responding to the ad. "I'm a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising."
But Eastwood insisted, "I am certainly not affiliated with Mr. Obama."