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Chavez Praises Obama’s Handling of Clint Eastwood Criticism

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that U.S. President Barack Obama handled criticism from actor Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention with class as both politicians seek re-election in coming months.

Chavez, who faces voters on Oct. 7, said that he is also dealing with rising criticism from the media and Venezuela’s opposition in similar ways as Obama. The 58-year-old socialist leader said he is a fan of Eastwood’s films as well as fellow actors Sean Connery and Charles Bronson.

“Obama received harsh criticism from Clint Eastwood, who is a great actor but a man of the right, he always has been,” Chavez told a group of reporters today at a press conference in Caracas. “Obama’s response was very wise. He said ‘I admire Clint Eastwood, and whoever is offended easily should seek another profession.’”

Eastwood, 82, was a surprise speaker at the Republican convention on Aug. 30 in Tampa, Florida where he said that Obama isn’t “strong enough” in dealing with high unemployment levels and that it “may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem,” in reference to the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

‘Huge Fan’

In a USA Today interview published Sept. 2, Obama said he is a “huge fan” of the actor and said politicians who can’t take criticism should find another type of job.

Chavez and Obama met for the first time at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009, where they shook hands yet failed to resolve a diplomatic standoff. Relations between the countries remain tense, with neither having an ambassador and Chavez maintaining charges that the U.S. is undermining his rule and intent on invading the oil-rich nation.

While Obama faces a difficult election in the U.S., Chavez said it’s “mathematically” impossible for him to lose his race against former governor Henrique Capriles Radonski.

Chavez, who counts Sean Penn and director Oliver Stone as friends, described Eastwood, Connery and Bronson as “super actors.”

“One time I was given a collection of films by Clint Eastwood and I spent about a month hardly sleeping since I was watching one every night after work,” he said. “I never missed a 007 film by Sean Connery and ‘The Hunt for Red October’ was a tremendous film, even if it ends with the Yankee Empire on top.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Cancel in Caracas at dcancel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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