Clint Eastwood said Friday that his widely panned bit at the Republican National Convention last week was conceived on the fly -- just a few minutes before going on stage -- and that he had promised Mitt Romney's campaign only that he would say "nice" things about the candidate.

In an interview with his hometown paper, the Carmel Pine Cone, Eastwood for the first time told his version about his appearance, which involved him berating an imaginary, seated President Obama. He confirmed that Romney's team did not pre-approve it. "They vet most of the people, but I told them, 'You can't do that with me, because I don't know what I'm going to say,'" he said. "They've got this crazy actor who's 82 years old up there in a suit. I was a mayor, and they're probably thinking I know how to give a speech, but even when I was mayor I never gave speeches. I gave talks."

Just hours before showtime, Eastwood didn't have a plan. He arrived at his hotel, took a nap and then sketched an outline, he said. As he waited backstage, it came to him. "There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down," he said. "When I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea."



50,000 Number of people who took part in the Republican National Convention

35,000 Number of people at the Democratic National Convention

35.7 million viewers for President Obama, according to Nielsen ratings

30.3 million viewers for Republican nominee Mitt Romney

52,756 Tweets per minute, a Twitter record, after Obama's speech

28,003 Tweets per minute for First Lady Michelle Obama

14,289 Tweets per minute for Romney

6,195 Tweets per minute for Ann Romney