Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney addressed the NAACP’s annual convention in Houston, Texas. He received a less-than-warm welcome.
“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 told the group.
Romney said it was “nonsense” that his policy proposals would mostly help the rich, and added, “My campaign is about helping people who need help.”
Romney received loud and sustained boos when he spoke about health care.
“I will eliminate expensive non-essential programs like Obamacare, and I will work to reform and save Medicare and Social Security, in part by means-testing their benefits,” Romney said.
Romney told the audience, “If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him.”
NAACP officials were polite in their disagreement with Romney.
“We are pleased that Governor Romney addressed our convention today,” NAACP Chair Roslyn M. Brock said in a statement. “Unfortunately, much of his agenda is at odds with what the NAACP stands for – whether the issue is equal access to affordable health care, reforming our education system or the path forward on marriage equality.”
Dedrick Muhammad, the NAACP’s Economic Development Director, said that he thought Romney was tone-deaf, and somewhat patronizing.
“He knew to bring up great civil rights stalwarts and quote them, but he still seems to have great distance in understanding the needs of our community,” Muhammad told Buzzfeed. “Instead of just throwing out buzzwords — ‘charter schools,’ ‘free enterprise’ — you can’t just say that to us and get a positive reception.”
Romney told Fox’s Neil Cavuto that he was expecting to be booed.
“I think we expected that,” Romney said.
The Romney campaign later admitted that Romney wasn’t really trying to win over African American votes.
“I think it’s important to send a message that he’s going to be president of the entire United States,” an unnamed adviser told Buzzfeed.
In the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Romney trailed President Barack Obama among African Americans by a 92-1 margin.
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Image Credit: Gage Skidmore