Last Updated:November 29 @ 05:55 pm

Romney promises Obamacare repeal to NAACP crowd; draws boos

By Kasie Hunt

HOUSTON (AP) = Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney drew jeers from black voters Wednesday as he criticized President Barack Obama and pledged to repeal the Democrats' health care overhaul.

Romney told the annual meeting of the NAACP that backing him over the Democratic incumbent, who won their overwhelming support in 2008, is in the best interest of their families. He acknowledged his Republican Party doesn't have a perfect record on race relations, but pledged during a sometimes rocky speech that, if elected, he would work with black leaders to put the country back to work.

"I am going to eliminate every non-essential, expensive program that I can find - and that includes Obamacare," Romney said, drawing his first boos of the day.

Romney stood motionless with a reserved expression for 15 seconds before noting a survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as support for his position. His rebuttal was greeted with silence.

Indeed, Romney at times found himself adjusting his prepared remarks - with its typically business-oriented language - for his audience and sounded like an like an instructor explaining policy. Once he noted the slow growth of the GDP, the Gross Domestic Product, only to quickly adjust by adding "the economy."

Romney received polite applause at several points during the speech. But he was interrupted again when he flatly accused Obama of failing to spark a more robust economic recovery.

"I know the president has said he will do those things. But he has not. He cannot. He will not. And his last four years in the White House prove it definitively," Romney said as the crowd's murmurs turned to louder groans.

Finally, he stopped amid loud jeers.

"If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him. You take a look," Romney shot back.

Romney, running against the nation's first black president, isn't going to win the African American vote. But he made a pitch with a major speech that also was aimed at showing independent and swing voters that he's willing to reach out to diverse audiences - and demonstrating that his campaign and the Republican Party he leads are inclusive.

Looking to cut into Obama's support among African Americans, Romney called education the "civil rights issue of our era" and vowed to put blacks back to work. Citing June labor reports, he noted that the 14.4 percent unemployment rate among blacks is much higher than the 8.2 percent national average. Blacks tend to be unemployed longer and black families have a lower median income, Romney said.

All told, it's a difficult sell - 95 percent of blacks backed Obama in 2008. But Romney's speech aside, Republicans and Democrats say he's making a statement just by showing up and speaking to the nation's oldest and largest civil rights group.

"The first thing you need to do is show up, so I ultimately think he's doing the right thing," said Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., one of two black Republicans in Congress. "What he's saying to everyone is that he's (running to become) America's president and not just those folks he thinks he can get votes from right now. I think that's a very important statement."

"You've got to get credit for showing up - for being willing to go - no question," said Karen Finney, a Democratic consultant who worked in the Clinton White House. "It's more about your actions than it is about what you say."

Obama spoke to the group during the 2008 campaign, as did his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain. Obama doesn't plan to speak this year. Instead, Vice President Joe Biden will address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on Thursday. Obama is scheduled to address the National Urban League later this month.

Romney rarely speaks to predominantly black audiences at political events. One exception was a May visit to a charter school in Philadelphia, where he cast fixing the education system as a way to help blacks and other minorities.

In framing education as a civil rights issue, Romney is following in George W. Bush's footsteps. At a sweeping address to the NAACP in 2000, Bush, then the Republican presidential nominee, said the education system should "leave no child behind" and labeled the "soft bigotry of low expectations" as part of the problem facing black students.

Romney has a personal history with civil rights issues. His father, George, spoke out against segregation in the 1960s and, as governor of Michigan, toured the state's inner cities as race riots wracked Detroit and other urban areas across the country. He went on to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he pushed for housing reforms to help blacks.

In recent months, Obama has approached race from an intensely personal perspective. After the shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in a Florida neighborhood - an act many blacks saw as racially motivated - Obama spoke directly to Martin's parents from the Rose Garden. "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," Obama said.

Diminished enthusiasm for the president following the economic downturn could dampen black turnout, and that could make the difference in Southern states Obama won in 2008, particularly North Carolina and Virginia.


Associated Press writers Philip Elliott in Washington and Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.

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Romney promises Obamacare repeal to NAACP crowd; draws boos, 8.6 out of 10 based on 21 ratings

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  1. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    July 11, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

    And tell me. What else did anyone expect besides boooos! They’re all a bunch of commies!

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    • retiredmarinepilotComment by retiredmarinepilot
      July 11, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

      This is what you get when a gentleman addresses a collection of thugs, criminals, theives and slackers. When you’re part of the welfare mob that pays no taxes, Obama’s line of BS looks good to you.

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  2. PATRIOTComment by PATRIOT
    July 11, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

    It is interesting that Romney would choose to address this group of brain-washed, anti-American socialists. He has no hope for any support from any of them.

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    • northwestgalComment by northwestgal
      July 12, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

      I’m not so sure – according to news reports yesterday, privately some of them said they agreed with him but felt they couldn’t say so in that crowd. We’ll find out in November how many will abandon him.

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  3. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    July 11, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

    The NAACP is one of the most racist, divisive groups in this country! Once it served a necessary purpose, now it needs to create issues.

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    • capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
      July 11, 2012 @ 4:00 pm



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  4. Glenn ShannonComment by Glenn Shannon
    July 11, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

    He is talking to a group that is mainly on the government dole and he thinks talking jobs will win with them. He is wasting his time and it would be better spent on people with an IQ over 50

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  5. billwvComment by billwv
    July 11, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

    You’ve got to give the man an A+ for effort; but the likelihood of changing any minds or votes is slim and none.

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  6. jayleighComment by jayleigh
    July 11, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

    Yeah, this is the Al Sharpton-Jesse Jackson group – the people who started out with a noble cause to gain equality long denied them, but have had their heads turned by the “mouths” they allowed to tell them what to think. Thinking Blacks, the Christian majority have come out strong against Obama’s abortion mandate. The NAACP is NOT the only Black Caucus in the country and i think the POTUS will find out in November that the NAACP no longer holds the majority of Black thought and action. The NAACP has become a laughing-stock over the last few years. More and more Blacks are realizing that that org no longer reflects the values of the Black community.

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    • Comment by AcadGrad81
      July 13, 2012 @ 10:22 am

      Rush continually calls this group the NAALCP (liberal colored people) and for good reason. I’d like to offer another acronym NAACPP (colored people on the plantation). One might bristle at the analogy of a plantation with slave implications, but Democrat liberals (white and black) who dish out bennies and buy black votes are akin to the plantation owner, are they not?

      Mitt Romney was trying to reach independent, conservative forward-thinking, “adults” with the NAACP speech. Perhaps those folks were denied access at the door. Conservative blacks are derided and slammed by their liberal “brothers” as Uncle Toms and “Toadies.”

      So much for MLK’s speech on people being judged by their character instead of the color of their skin. The mere existence of the NAACP flies in the face of King’s positions- colored (skin) people shouldn’t need to be grouped together to be included in the successful side of society. Like previous posters have said, Great Society programs heavily disincentivize jumping out of the hammock and being self-sustaining. We’ll see after November.

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  7. agnesdayComment by agnesday
    July 11, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    Hooray for Mr. Romney! He is man enough to meet with this group of sharks, face them squarely and tell them straight from the shoulder what he really thinks. No, they won’t vote for him, but who knows what persons watching that speech might change their minds because of his courage?

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    • drsiqueComment by drsique
      July 11, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

      All true but wouldn’t Romney’s time be better spent engaging with people who might actually vote for him? This is a lot like Dubya going to speak at a Code Pink rally. It is refreshing that he didn’t completely change his position to suit his audience though.

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    • northwestgalComment by northwestgal
      July 12, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

      “Who knows what persons watching that speech might change their minds because of his courage?” … especially after they see Joe Biden speaking to that group in the next couple of days … Romney will look absolutely brilliant!

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  8. dthur1003Comment by dthur1003
    July 11, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

    It’s VERY easy to see why he was booed…he wants to put blacks back to WORK; do away with EXPENSIVE entitlement programs and wants to repeal care ! They wouldn’t have any “FREE RIDES” from whitey anymore !

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  9. 49bobComment by 49bob
    July 11, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

    Romney impressed me by going to speak before the NAACP that’s gutsy. He knew he wouldn’t be greeted with open arms and he went anyway. He needs to speak right to those who don’t necessarily agree with him explain his views and make no apologies. God bless him.

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  10. JDZComment by JDZ
    July 11, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

    He did a good thing in that someone with aspirations to be President of “all” of the citizens of America cannot allow himself to be intimidated by those within any special interest group in the country. He will not ignore our traditions and ideals, he will honor our boys scouts, or celebrate D-Day, or other traditional American days of recognition like Obama has NOT done.

    He put himself out there for them to see and hear knowing upfront that those in the room are going to vote for Obama primarily because of his race and obvious favoritism toward them over any other group in the country, especially conservative White Americans.

    If Romney just picks up a few Black votes he is ahead of the game since 97% voted for Obama in 2008 because he adapted his speech and speech patterns like the preachers they are comfortable with, he convinced them he felt their pain, he promised he would help them (pay their bills, etc.), and they bought it, but primarily, they voted for him, because to them, he is Black.

    Actually, many Americans of all races voted for him for the same reasons. Many were not overly impressed by McCain, to start with, and gave this articulate, cool Black man a chance to make history, regardless of his radical background and lack of experience.

    Now, however, the facts are out there, and the expectations of this breakthrough Black President have not come close to being met, and his socialist agenda has been exposed, his radical background exposed, and his broadbased lack of experience and inability to handle the leadership or technical challenges of the Presidency are out there for all to see.

    Buyers remorse has been growing…and now the voters have a very competent and experienced choice to replace Obama in Romney who will try different, and more traditional strategies to fix our economy and massive fiscal problems.

    My guess is that Romney is going to gain votes in both the Black and Hispanic communities in the national election over what McCain got as those communities have high levels of unemployment and are running out of options. I just he gets enough to help him win the election.

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    • effwingerComment by effwinger
      July 11, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

      Articulate and cool? We aren’t talking about the same guy here, me thinks….

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  11. nancyjComment by nancyj
    July 11, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

    I wonder who made this a story of the day?? I heard the boos. There must have been all of 10 or 12 of them. What a joke!

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    • teapartyproudComment by teapartyproud
      July 12, 2012 @ 5:42 am

      Consider the source. It’s from the AP. (All Propaganda)

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  12. KMcCComment by KMcC
    July 11, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

    It would seem that Obama is trully the first Afican to be Prsident of the USA.
    Next issue, if we are to be a melting pot of the world country as we were taught THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A AFRICAN AMERICAN, OR A CHINESE AMERICAN, OR MEXICAN AMERICAN… there are only AMERICANS. We MUST stop calling people by different ethic origins or will never be one country of united people. RACE is about country of origin, COLOR is about Skin pigment. If you are truly born in USA then you are an American NO matter what color your skin is!

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    • CharlieComment by vietnamvet
      July 11, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

      “It would seem that Obama is trully the first Afican to be Prsident of the USA.”
      … and …

      Both of those statements are completely true.

      We would better off he he was an American, but it would even help if he was an African-American.

      Unfortunately, you are right.
      He is an African.

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  13. middlegroundComment by middleground
    July 13, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

    I suspect most of Romney’s audience know the truth when they hear it and to tell them we can’t afford Obamacare and its collection of new taxes is only right. Romney may not win them over, but at least he told them “like it is” and the contrast with Obama’s palace of Utopian dreams should help some look at what is sustainable and what is not. At least they now have some truths to chew on.

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