Clint Eastwood is setting the record straight on the Chrysler Super Bowl ad and claims in the liberal blogosphere and elsewhere that it was an implicit endorsement of President Obama and his decision to support the bailout of the U.S. auto industry.
"I am certainly not affiliated with Mr. Obama," Mr. Eastwood told a Fox News producer for "The O'Reilly Factor" on Monday. "It was meant to be a message just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK."
The gripping spot heralded the car industry's comeback — for which Mr. Obama increasingly has sought to claim credit in recent weeks — and rallied Americans to work together to help rebuild the entire economy, using Mr. Eastwood's trademark no-nonsense language.
"This country can't be knocked out with one punch. … Yeah, it's halftime in America, and our second half is about to begin," Mr. Eastwood intoned in the ad.
Mr. Obama's supporters started laying claim to the "Halftime in America" ad after David Axelrod, the president's chief political strategist, tweeted about it Sunday night, deeming it a "powerful spot."
Karl Rove, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, then said the ad "offended" him and accused Mr. Obama's "political minions" of "using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising." White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday said the Obama administration had absolutely no involvement in ad and didn't even know about it until it aired.
Trying to clear the air, Mr. Eastwood said that he's not supporting any politician at this time and that any money Chrysler paid him went to charity.
"If Obama or any other politician wants to run with the spirit of the ad, go for it," he told Fox News.
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