Clint Eastwood took himself and his new film Changeling to its US premiere last weekend at the New York Film Festival. Just like we had for our audience with Mickey Rourke, we sneaked in via a film canister to check out the scene and lob a question his way; still, as lovely and reliably austere as Changeling is, we had more pressing issues on our mind than how little Eastwood rehearsed with Angelina Jolie (answer: hardly at all). To wit: How is a long-time conservative, former elected official and John McCain supporter like Eastwood getting his head around the Celebrity Election of '08 — Sarah Palin's candidacy in particular? Was this a circus anyone could have foreseen 57 years ago when he joined the GOP? He wasn't really going there, we soon learned (he was only slightly more candid at the recent New Yorker Festival, vaguely alluding to Palin's truthfulness in her debate with Joe Biden). But as reformed Republicans go, Eastwood still packs a robust skepticism alongside his tux when he travels."My mortgage is in the toilet, too," he replied. "I haven't been very active in politics. Yes, I started out as a Republican in 1951; I was a young 21-year-old in the Army, and I wanted to vote for Dwight Eisenhower. He, like all politicians, was always promising something, and he promised he would go to Korea and end the Korean War. But the Republican Party, as has the Democratic Party, has changed dramatically in the 50-some years that I've been involved with it, so I've sort of drifted to a more Libertarian point of view. The Libertarian Party never got going as a party — just leave everybody alone. It was very appealing to a guy like myself who came up in the '30s and watched my parents struggle through the Depression and [who] nowadays is wanting for nothing. "Now, of course, everybody is promising everything," Eastwood continued. "That's the only way to get elected: You have to promise to give people all kinds of stuff. You have to give away new cars like on Oprah or something. We'll give you anything to go down and vote. It's kind of perverted politics as far as I'm concerned. Whether Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama... Whatever happens there, who knows? There are a lot of promises going on there, too. It's a very confusing era." We couldn't agree more — we'll be so much happier when no one has to worry any longer about distinguishing Palin from Tina Fey. [Photo: Getty Images]
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