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What did Clint Eastwood say about Chrysler bailout?

Before Clint Eastwood did the Chrysler Super Bowl commercial, the libertarian actor criticized the Chrysler bailout.

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Clint Eastwood at the February 2012 opening of the Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington.

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

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Before he emerged in a controversial Super Bowl ad as the gravelly voice of Chrysler's resurgence, Clint Eastwood was a critic of the government bailout that saved the U.S. automaker.

"We shouldn't be bailing out the banks and car companies," actor, director and Academy Award winner Eastwood told the Los Angeles Times in November 2011. "If a CEO can't figure out how to make his company profitable, then he shouldn't be the CEO."

The two-minute Chrysler ad "Halftime in America" won attention for its focus on American resilience, but raised eyebrows for the way critics said it echoed one of the central themes of President Barack Obama's reelection bid.

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Eastwood, a longtime Republican who now describes himself as a libertarian, told Fox News on Monday he was "certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama."

The ad was meant as a message "about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it," Eastwood said, according to a transcript on Foxnews.com.

"If Obama or any other politician wants to run with the spirit of that ad, go for it," the actor added.

The White House, which said it was not involved in making the ad, did say that the message highlighted the "simple fact" that Obama had rescued the U.S. auto industry.

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