Last Thursday Americans were stunned when Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood took to the stage at the Republican National Convention and conducted an unrehearsed interview with an empty chair representing President Obama.
The 12 minute rambling, incoherent address was the warm-up act for Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech and broadcast live on all major American television networks.
Although conceived as a way to inject a dose of star-power to the otherwise sedate convention, reaction to the speech has been negative with most pundits and commentors calling the episode "bizarre", "strange", and "baffling".
And today a new poll shows that even half of Republican voters were embarrassed by the episode - which at one point degenerated into Eastwood intimating that Obama wanted Republican candidate Mitt Romney to "fuck himself"
Million Dollar Lady
But some say that with an 82 year old winging it in front of tens of millions of viewers, it could have been worse.
The poll by TDC Opinion Research reports that 85% of Republican voters watching the speech live were afraid that Eastwood would go so far off script he would call Obama the N-word.
The same poll also found that 62% of Republicans were happy Eastwood did not do so.
One of those voters is Christine Hernandez, a 42 year old small business owner from the crucial swing state of New Mexico. She attended the convention as a delegate and says that she's a Republican because over-regulation is hurting her small wireless chip manufacturing firm:
"After Eastwood told the imaginary Obama to go fuck himself, in so many words, I thought - oh no. He's gonna say it. He's gonna call him an N-word. I could just feel it coming."
"You know he is very old and from a different generation. It was acceptable to say that word back when he was growing up."
"But I'm so happy he didn't do it. That's not my party."
The Silent Minority
Although most Republicans expressed relief that Eastwood restrained himself, a sizable minority disagreed. 38% of Republican respondents said they believed Eastwood missed an important opportunity to remind Americans about Obama's radically different racial background.
"Personally I was pretty fucking disapointed." says Travis Wallace, a 34 year old 'vending machine replenishment engineer' from Alabama, ""I was sitting there watching the TV. And I saw this very very old man talking shit to Obama like he was sitting right there in that chair."
"I said to the wife while we was watchin', please lord in heaven let this man say what I think he wants to say. Just do it Clint. Just fucking do it! Call that son-of-a-bitch what he is."
Wallace says that President Obama is a "socialist" who wants to tax whites to give money to blacks. He explains that America's embrace of Obama - despite his race - is best explained by the ignorance of left-wing voters:
"I think if liberals knew more about just how radical and Kenyan this president was, the election wouldn't even be close. But the fucking lame stream liberal media don't tell the truth. Chris Mathews. Rachel Maddow. I've never heard them once mention Obama's race in a negative light. Not once! Can you believe that? That's why we need Fox News. Fair and balanced."
Wallace insists that he's not racist, he's just standing up what he calls old-fashioned "Confederate Values":
"My mamma always said to me 'Son, America is like a box of chocolates. You best keep a close eye on it or some nig*er will come 'long and take it!' "
"And that's what Obama did. He just came up and snatched this country away from us...Its a crying shame."
The poll also reported that the number one issue for Republicans, ahead of the economy and terrorism, was "taking our country back."