Clint Eastwood's Super Bowl "halftime in America"

Director, actor and producer Clint Eastwood poses for a portrait during an interview Monday, Oct. 11, 2010, in New York. AP Photo/Victoria Will

Director, actor and producer Clint Eastwood poses for a portrait during an interview Monday, Oct. 11, 2010, in New York.
AP Photo/Victoria Will

(Commentary) One of the biggest surprises of the Super Bowl was Clint Eastwood surfacing at halftime in an ad for Chrysler, although he never had to utter the car maker's name. 

It was the the Clint Eastwood of his movie "Gran Torino," in which he played a Motor City retired Ford factory worker, not the Clint from "Every Which Way but Loose," in which he played a truck driver with a pet orangutan named Clyde.

In the Chrysler ad, Eastwood offers a message in his "Dirty Harry," "Unforgiven," "Gran Torino," "Million Dollar Baby" gruff voice about the gritty, tough America, embodied in Detroit's car comeback, an industry that "finds a way through tough times."

In 2008, Chrysler was bailed out with $12.5 billion from the U.S. government, and following bankruptcy restructuring is majority owned by Fiat SpA. In 2011, Chrysler earned $183 million, compared with a loss of $652 million in 2010.

Eastwood seems to also be sending a political message in the ad, saying the "fog, division, discord and blame make it hard to see what lies ahead," but America (and presumably Chrysler with the help of the U.S. government) "knows how to come from behind to win."

"This country can't be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again, and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines. Ya, it's halftime in America, and our second half is about to begin," Eastwood says as he drifts off camera and the Chyrsler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram logos appear.

Those are some good lines for the politicians vying for the presidency. Obama will certainly use the success of the auto company bailouts as he campaigns this year. If Mitt Romney is the GOP nominee, he won't be able to crow about the bailouts much since he was not in favor of lending money from U.S. citizens to Detroit.

Watch the ad below:

  • Dan Farber On Twitter»

    Dan has more than 20 years of journalism experience. He has served as editor in chief of CBSNews.com, CNET News, ZDNet, PC Week, and MacWeek.

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