VIDEO: Romney Booed at NAACP Convention When Says He’d Scuttle Obama’s Health Care Law

Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney was booed at the NAACP convention when he mentioned one of his most popular talking points for Republicans and conservative talk show hosts: he’d repeal “Obamacare.”


Conservatives and conservative cable and radio talk show hosts will play this clip over and over. Some conservatives will love this clip and suggest its Daniel going into the Lion’s Den. But that means he only will have further consolidated his already consolidated position with the choir. If the point is to gain votes, Romney fell short of his (apparent) goal. If it’s appealing to independent voters, it’s likely a wash (independent voters are not monolithic). Another problem: from this clip Romney seems to be delivering a speech that sounds quintessentially memorized and read. He needed to at least show more pizazz and at least be able to feign spontaneity.

GOper David Frum in a Tweet:
“If I were a political cynic, I’d wonder whether the Romney campaign wanted to be booed at NAACP..”

But — this clip to the contrary — his speech was not booed throughout and he did have a message. USA TODAY:

[Romney told the] NAACP today that he has the “best interest” of all Americans at heart and outlined why he believes President Obama has failed blacks on issues such as the economy and education.

“I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African-American families, you would vote for me for president,” Romney said during his remarks in Houston.

“My campaign is about helping the people who need help. The course the president has set has not done that — and will not do that,” Romney said. “My course will.”

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee was applauded at times in his remarks, which included references to Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass. The audience booed him at his mention of “Obamacare,” the national health care law Romney has vowed he will repeal.

At that point, Romney veered off script to discuss a recent Chamber of Commerce survey showing people believe the law will cost jobs. He vowed to replace the health care law with something else that would help lower costs and briefly touched on how he would make Social Security and Medicare solvent.

The Republican has an uphill battle with African Americans, who have voted Democrats into the White House for decades. In 2008, Obama won 96% of the African-American vote on his way to making history as the nation’s first black president.

Mother Jones’ Adam Srewer notes that Romney has a long “troubled” history with the NAACP:

Mitt Romney deserves a bit of credit for his decision to address the NAACP on Wednesday, given that he’s running against Barack Obama, the most visible symbol of the NAACP’s success. Conservatives generally view the group as a excessively partisan. But given Romney’s antagonistic relationship with the local NAACP chapter when he was governor of Massachusetts, he may receive a particularly unpleasant reception.

Leonard Alkins, the former head of the Boston NAACP, has few fond memories of Romney’s tenure. “There was no relationship between the NAACP in Boston and Governor Mitt Romney and his administration,” Alkins says. “The only time that the NAACP had any interaction with the administration and the governor was to protest when he eliminated the affirmative action office.”

In one of his early acts as governor, Romney dumped the state’s office of affirmative action and replaced it with the office of diversity and equal opportunity. In doing so, he invalidated half a dozen executive orders establishing affirmative action policies for women, minorities, veterans, and people with disabilities; diversity training programs; and equal opportunity standards for state contractors. Romney’s executive order replaced all of this with what was essentially a broad—and, Alkins says, “toothless”—commitment to “diversity.”

Romney didn’t inform civil rights groups about his plans before scrapping the affirmative action office, and the reaction from activists was harsh. The Massachusetts Black Caucus accused Romney of attempting to “virtually dismantle affirmative action in Massachusetts state government.”

Romney eventually appointed a diversity commission to examine his new policy. But, according to Alkins, the NAACP was excluded from the commission—until other commissioners spoke up. “He excluded the NAACP from serving on that special commission until we protested,” Alkins recalls.

A cross section of Tweets on his speech:

51m John Fugelsang John Fugelsang ?@JohnFugelsang

If you want a President who doesn’t mind Donald Trump doubting Obama’s citizenship, you’re looking at him. #Romney #NAACP

39m Eli Braden Eli Braden ?@EliBraden

“What is this, a meeting of every guy who’s ever shined my shoes in an airport??… I’m kidding, of course” – Excerpt of Romney NAACP speech
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47m Ed Schultz Ed Schultz ?@edshow

Video of Romney getting booed at NAACP speech… watch him try and SNEAK the “repeal Obamacare” line past the audience http://tpm.ly/MhSfwp

51m Andy Daly Andy Daly ?@TVsAndyDaly

“In a clear victory for the Romney campaign, the candidate did not audibly ask anyone at the NAACP who let the dogs out” – NYTimes
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DEVELOPING: NAACP endorses George Romney for president.
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1h rob delaney rob delaney ?@robdelaney

Deeply concerned that every single black person without exception will vote for Romney after his NAACP speech today.

1h Angelo Carusone Angelo Carusone ?@GoAngelo

Yesterday on Fox News, I heard that “NAACP has become a hate group,” yet today Romney is speaking to them. Curious when Fox will condemn him

1h Elon James White Elon James White ?@elonjames

Mitt Romney just said he’d repeal Obamacare and the @NAACP reminded him where he was… #mittNAACP

1h Keith Boykin Keith Boykin ?@keithboykin

Romney vows to “defend traditional marriage” moments after he said he would not discriminate based on sexual orientation. #NAACP

1h pourmecoffee pourmecoffee ?@pourmecoffee

Romney to NAACP: Hey we just met,and this is crazy, vote against your self-interest maybe? #lastone #promise
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1h LOLGOP LOLGOP ?@LOLGOP

There are things more awkward than Mitt Romney speaking to the NAACP. Newt Gingrich could speak to the First Wives Club.

2h Rex Huppke Rex Huppke ?@RexHuppke

Are we sure Mitt Romney speaking to the NAACP isn’t the plot of a new Tyler Perry movie?

17h Paul Begala Paul Begala ?@PaulBegala

Romney to speak at #NAACP tomorrow. Will pledge to ship your job overseas regardless of race, color or creed.
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2h Paul Conrad Paul Conrad ?@Paul_Conrad

NAACP will treat Romney with respect. Can’t say that about teabagger behavior when Obama speaks before Congress or gives a press conference.
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2h HowardKurtz HowardKurtz ?@HowardKurtz

Romney making case to NAACP that life is worse for blacks under Obama. Brings it back to economy

2h toddstarnes toddstarnes ?@toddstarnes

Just got an excerpt from Romney’s speech to NAACP. On the plus side, he does not use the word “homeboy” or ask “who let the dogs out?”
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2h Benjy Sarlin Benjy Sarlin ?@BenjySarlin

Shorter Romney to NAACP so far: “If there wasn’t a black president who broadly shared your politics, admit it: you’d TOTALLY vote for me.”

2h daveweigel daveweigel ?@daveweigel

Romney speaking to NAACP, House GOP holding 33rd HCR repeal vote. Happy Futility Day, everybody
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2h Alec MacGillis Alec MacGillis ?@AlecMacGillis

The irony is, Romney actually DOES have something he could tell NAACP: his health care law disproportionately helped MA’s minorities.


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  • slamfu

    I’ll give Romney props for speaking to the NAACP, which I am assuming is way out of his comfort zone. If he wants to win he’s going to have to do more of that and actually connect, which so far has not been his strong suit. I won’t give him props for his plans which he keeps insisting are going to fix things but either don’t provide details as to how, or when he does give details, are things that have been tried before and failed. Like lower taxes to create jobs and deregulating businesses clearly in need or more regulation before they drop this economy off a cliff. He actually quotes a study from the very conservative Chamber of Commerce that says most people think ACA is going to cost jobs. For starters, I think if studies recently have shown anything its that “people” don’t seem to even have a good idea what ACA does. A large chunk of conservatives seem to have been misled into thinking its a single payer system. So I’m pretty sure a study based on what people think its going to do is pretty useless. Very shaky premises like this seem to be the foundation of most of Romney’s “solutions”.

  • The_Ohioan

    After being booed about repealing “Obamacare” (not diplomatique),
    “Romney veered off script to discuss a recent Chamber of Commerce survey showing people believe the law will cost jobs.”

    That’s the same Chamber of Commerce that accepts rich people’s (corporations are people, my friends) donations for secret free speech (no oxymoron there)? That’s who I would go to for impartial advice on health care reform.

    He was Daniel in the Lions Den and did fine until he was booed and then veered off into the above quagmire. Hunter at Daily Kos had a hilarious article about the prospects of this speech and the comments were just as funny.

    I’d say Romney did as good as any Republican candidate could do and better than most would have done. He was using code for how he would, after election, become the moderate he had been in MA. Too late, too late.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com DEAN ESMAY, Guest Voice Columnist

    Romney gets points for not pandering and for sticking to his message in my book.

    (No I won’t be voting for him.)

  • StockBoyLA

    Romney really does believe the surveys he reads. He believes all Americans think like conservatives.

    Otherwise he would have tailored his message to this group and done some sort of flip flop weasel his way around the issue. He didn’t even have to bring up the fact that he would repeal healthcare. But he thought it would earn him points because he doesn’t know what all Americans want. Just conservatives.

    This will teach him to be more selective as to what he says when speaking in front of non-conservative audiences.

  • RP

    I have to give it to him that he did not change his message and fall into the trap of being called a flip flopper again.

    If you believe in something, stand by that belief. That is the problem in politics today, no one has any beliefs other than promoting a career in politics.

    As fot the ACA, please remember that there are going to be may regulations written by government agencies to enforce the 2000+ pages of legislation. That is why so much is delayed until 2014 so government agencies have time to prepare. Nancy Pelosi only got it partly right when she said we have to read the bill to know whats in it. The other part is the regulations that will be created to enforce the legislation. Then we will really know its full impact and the cost.

  • DaGoat

    I don’t know what Romney was thinking speaking to the NAACP. Their rudeness shows it was a no-win situation for him and the crowd reminded me of the far-right yahoos at the GOP debates.

    While I am reading NAACP members were disappointed he didn’t tailor his speech specifically to them, I also give credit to Romney for not waffling as he’s been wont to do so often.

  • Jim Satterfield

    So Romney deserves credit for repeating the same lies that he tells to Republicans who are foolish enough to believe him to the NAACP where people realize his policies will never work?

  • StockBoyLA

    I can’t wait for the press to start reporting on all the audiences around the country booing Romney as he speaks to them.

  • rudi

    Funny but RomneyCare is working fine in Mass. Why doesn’t mittens work to repeal his own program.

  • CStanley

    Overall i agree with DaGoat. A few other points though….

    There were a few parts of the speech that were condescending so it is understandale that the audience heard it that way. He should have approached this with a healthy dose of humility, realizing that he is in no position to know how African Americans percieve their own condition relative to Obama’s policies. He should have left out his pronouncements about them being worse off, and simply stated that he hopes they will keep an open mind and sincerely consider his policy proposals and how they will affect the economy and thus affect African American communities.

    And second, I read that J C Watts offered the criticiam of using this venue as a box checked off to show that Romney is reaching out to black voters….when really there is a lot more legwork that could and should be done.