On Friday's "Real Time With Bill Maher," Howard Dean said there was maybe "a lot of intersection" between people seeing Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" and members of the Tea Party.
"There's a lot of anger in this country. And the people who go see this movie are people who are very angry," Dean said about the film, which focuses on the life of Chris Kyle, a deceased Navy SEAL who has been called the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. "This guy basically says, 'I'm going to fight on your side.' They bite for it."
Dean's comments didn't sit well with many conservatives, including Gary Sinise. On Monday, the actor posted a rebuttal to Dean that called out the former governor for making "stupid blanket statements."
"I saw 'American Sniper' and would not consider myself to be an angry person. You certainly have a right to make stupid blanket statements, suggesting that all people who see this film are angry, but how is that helpful sir?" Sinise wrote on his WhoSay page. "Do you also suggest that everyone at Warner Brothers is angry because they released the film? That Clint Eastwood, Jason Hall, Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and the rest of the cast and crew are angry because they made the film? Chris Kyle's story deserved to be told. It tells a story of the stress that multiple deployments have on one military family, a family representative of thousands of military families. It helps to communicate the toll that the war on terror has taken on our defenders. Defenders and families who need our support. I will admit that perhaps somewhere among the masses of people who are going to see the film there may be a few that might have some anger or have been angry at some point in their lives, but, with all due respect, what the hell are you talking about?"
The battle over "American Sniper" has raged on in the wake of the film's record-breaking box office, with cultural figures like Sinise, Kid Rock and Sarah Palin attacking Dean, Seth Rogen and Michael Moore for their comments on the drama.
Eastwood has stayed at a distance from the debate, but he did discuss the film during an event this past weekend. The director noted that "American Sniper" had "anti-war" values at its core because of how it depicts Kyle's struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. Eastwood had earlier said the film wasn't political in nature.