Actor Clint Eastwood is returning to the political stage, but this time he is talking directly to the camera - and not to an empty chair.
Eastwood received much derision as well as praise for his speech at the Republican National Convention this summer in Tampa where he lectured to an empty chair that was meant to represent President Barack Obama.
Now Eastwood is the star of a new ad, called "At Stake" from the Republican super PAC American Crossroads.
For much of the spot Eastwood's voice is just heard telling the audience: "For the last few years America has been knocked down. Twenty-three million people can't find full-time work," he says. "Obama's second term would be a rerun of the first, and our country just couldn't survive that. We need someone who can turn it around fast. That man is Mitt Romney."
Then Eastwood is seen talking directly to the camera as it ends saying, "There is not much time left, and the future of our country is at stake."
The commercial was taped at Eastwood's home in California, according to American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio. While Eastwood's speech was met with a lot of negative press stories, Crossroads officials think his message of how Obama has failed resonated. Crossroads President Steven Law was at the convention and thought Eastwood's words were powerful and that he connected with the crowd, Collegio said. Group officials were introduced to him, and he agreed to tape the ad.
Crossroads thinks this goes beyond a stock celebrity endorsement because, as Collegio put it, "this is Clint adding his iconic weight to a message about the country that already resonates with people and which they already believe in their hearts."
The group showed the ad to focus groups in Florida and Ohio, and "it tested off the charts," Collegio says.
The Eastwood spot is one of three new ones launching Wednesday as part of a $12.6 million buy in seven key swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.
One entitled "Survive" about small business owners will air in Colorado, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia Survive and one called "Bow" which hits Obama's record on China is set to air in Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.
Mitt Romney is getting substantial air cover this week. With this new buy, American Crossroads will be spending at least $17 million on swing state ads. On Tuesday it went up with a $4.2 million buy just in Wisconsin and Ohio highlighting the story of a young boy battling cancer in the 1970's who Mitt Romney helped. Another super PAC supporting the Republican presidential nominee, Restore Our Future, announced it was going up with almost $18 million in swing state ads on Tuesday in battleground states.