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Rahm Emanuel: Weak Romney speech put focus on Eastwood

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said Mitt Romney's convention speech was "devoid and vacuous" and allowed for Clint Eastwood's appearance to claim the spotlight. 

President Obama's former chief of staff said Sunday on “Meet the Press” that there was "nothing memorable about Mitt Romney's speech" in Tampa.

"Not a memorable line, not a memorable philosophy," Emanuel said." "There was nothing there." 

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Actor and director Eastwood appeared onstage at the Republican convention Thursday, using 12 minutes of primetime for an ad-libbed rant about Obama.

Emanuel said that Romney's speech later that night could not compete with Eastwood's "bizarre" appearance. 

"People are talking about … the bizarre Clint Eastwood performance," Emanuel said. "The reason they're doing that is that Romney's speech was so devoid and vacuous." 

Republicans "didn't want a debate about Clint Eastwood," he added. 

Emanuel went on to defend Obama's record after host David Gregory said Democrats have avoided debating specifics on policy. 

"It's very simple," Emanuel said. "General Motors is alive and well, and Osama bin Laden is not. That's what got done." 

He also said that Obama has a "long record" on defending welfare-to-work policies, starting with his tenure as state senator in Illinois. 

Republicans have targeted Obama over a new policy they say would "gut" welfare's work requirement. The attack has been dismissed as false by major fact-checking organizations.

Romney’s campaign dismissed Emanuel's statements.

“Today, President Obama’s own surrogates admitted that we are not better off than we were four years ago,” said Romney spokesperson Amanda Henneberg. “As the Chief of Staff in an administration whose failed policies have now left 23 million Americans struggling for work, Rahm Emanuel has no credibility when it comes to discussing the state of our economy or the state of our country.”

This story was updated at 1:11 p.m. to include reaction from the Romney campaign.