Mitt Romney drew criticism for comments he made after he addressed the NAACP on Wednesday.
Speaking at a fundraiser in Montana, Romney derided the group for booing his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Romney said that people at the event just wanted “free stuff.”
But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.
The move drew a quick response from Democrats, who accused Romney of racism for insinuating that the nation’s oldest African American advocacy group was looking for handouts.
Romney has used the line before, but he’s targeted it at other marginalized groups. In March, Romney used a similar line when talking to a woman who wanted a guarantee of reproductive health care coverage as part of her health care policy. It was unclear why Romney would refer to a private health-care regulation as “free stuff.”
While the line has been used by Romney before, its juxtaposition with the NAACP speech made that argument a difficult sell. More than a few pundits have suggested that Romney actually hoped to be booed by convention-goers, because the image of Romney being booed by an African American crowd would help him with a subset of his base, which evidently includes a number of racist white voters.
Romney has attacked others for wanting “free stuff,” but as head of Bain Capital, Romney was more than willing to hold his hand out. Bain regularly accepted government subsidies and aid during the time Romney was in charge of it.
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