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.
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.
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
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
DEVELOPING: NAACP endorses George Romney for president.
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
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.
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.
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?”
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
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.