By Jeff Gilbert

CARMEL, Calif. (WWJ) Actor/Director Clint Eastwood is firing back at those who criticized his “Halftime in America” Chrysler ad.

The ad was criticized by some as seeming like a political commercial. Former Bush administration aid Karl Rove said he was offended by it, and felt Chrysler was repaying political patrons for the aid the company was given.

“It’s all somebody daydreaming out there,” said Eastwood. “There are some people who make a political element out of about everything you can talk about.”

Eastwood, interviewed by CNBC, said that the ad was not meant to endorse any idea or company, that it was an “esprit de corps” message for America.

“I’m surprised that people who are supposed to be intelligent have interpreted otherwise,” he said. “It’s very disappointing when you see that. The average person seems to get it.”

The ad was a “one time deal,” according to Eastwood, who has said in the past that he was involved in the writing of it, and contributed his pay to charity. Eastwood also praised Chrysler for spending a lot of money on the ad, keeping it on message, and not “having a lot of cars floating by.”

There were only a few shots of cars in the ad, which didn’t mention Chrysler until the end.

Chrysler executives attending this week’s Chicago Auto Show were uncomfortable with the way controversy has surrounded an ad that they have promoted as a “rallying cry for America.”

“We were obviously very proud of it,” said Saad Chehab, Chrysler’s advertising director. “We’ll let it be whatever people want it to be on their own. We can’t control what people perceive it to be. But, from our standpoint, it was an obvious message of pride.”

Chrysler dealers have been very supportive of the ad.

Clint Eastwood has a political history. He was the Republican mayor of Carmel, California in the 80’s. More recently he’s described his political philosophy as libertarian.

He’s not been a supporter of aid given to banks and auto companies.

“I think if companies don’t have the ability, are not run well enough to exist they should go into bankruptcy, and work their way out of it,” Eastwood told CNBC. “That’s where the creativity comes in. People have to get creative when the pressure is on.”


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