The 5 Boos Mitt Romney Heard During His NAACP Speech

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mitt Romney addressed the NAACP's annual meeting on July 11, 2012. (Getty)

Mitt Romney told the NAACP Wednesday morning, "If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him." The response was mixed.

Addressing the NAACP's annual convention as part of a push to attract black voters (95 percent of whom voted for Barack Obama in 2008), Romney had to know this was a tough sell. He has to make the case that the Republican candidate is the one that best represents the interests of minorities and the middle class. The timing is tough: Romney's speech comes two days after President Obama promised voters that his opponent would preserve the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; and it follows a weekend fundraiser in the Hamptons that saw Republicans take in over $3 million (and a hell of a lot of rich quotes—pun intended) from the well-heeled set.

Appealing to a demographic he has almost no chance of winning in November, Mitt Romney struck a deferential tone with the NAACP, which he called a "venerable organization." But that didn't stop the audience from being vocal about the parts of his speech—and the larger narrative of Romney's candidacy—they didn't like.

And with that, here are the five times Mitt Romney got booed during his NAACP speech.

1. "That includes Obamacare"

Romney laid out a five-point plan for recovery: "open up energy, expand trade, cut the growth of government, focus on better educating tomorrow’s workers today, and restore economic freedom." It was the third one, cut the growth in government, that got him in some trouble.

"If our goal is jobs, we have to stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we take in," Romney explained. "To do this, I will eliminate expensive non-essential programs," and then, as quietly as he said anything during the rest of the speech, "That includes Obamacare."

You could feel Romney rush to get through that part, all but physically ducking as he said it. The crowd hated it. The booing went on for over 10 seconds; all Romney could do was smile and wait for his turn to speak again.

"There was a survey of the Chamber of Commerce," Romney began. "They carried out a survey of members, 1,500 surveyed, and they asked them what effect Obamacare would have on their plans. Three-quarters said they were less likely to hire people. I say again: if our priority is jobs, that's something I'd change."

2. "You are looking at him"

A few minutes later, Mitt Romney cast himself as the candidate who wouldn't be afraid to say the unpopular truth, the one who isn't out there just looking for applause. In that case, Romney came to the right place.

"I do not have a hidden agenda," Romney was saying. And then, he made the real pitch. "If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him."

There were boos, again. The crowd didn't believe him. "You take a look," Romney pressed.

3. "He will not, he cannot"

Touting his five-point plan, Romney said it was the clear path toward lower unemployment and higher wages. He could have left it there, but he didn't.

"The President will say he will do those things, but he will not, he cannot, and his record of the last four years proves it," Romney said. A pattern emerges: Romney hammers Barack Obama, he gets booed.

4. "Your hospitality will be returned"

"I can’t promise that you and I will agree on every issue," Romney was saying, "But I do promise that your hospitality to me today will be returned."

This was perhaps the most awkward way to phrase it. During a speech that was going to be watched very closely for moments of pandering, this probably came closest to the red meat Romney detractors had hoped for.

Romney's "hospitality" remark was especially ironic because—guess what?—it got him booed. In fact, at this point in the speech, someone started playing chords on a church organ, as if anticipating the crowd's less-than-hospitable reaction and trying to drown it out. The organ would pop up at several other points toward the close of Romney's speech

"I will seek your counsel," Romney went on, "and if I am elected president, and you invite me to next year’s convention, I would count it as a privilege, and my answer will be yes." We'll see if his invitation doesn't get lost in the mail.

5. "The Republican party's record is not perfect"

Okay, so this one wasn't a boo, exactly. But it was a moment of sarcasm.

"The Republican Party’s record, by the measures you rightly apply, is not perfect," Romney said. There was a smattering of applause, as if to say, "You don't say?" Then we heard that organ again.

The chords would play Romney off a few minutes later, as he wrapped up the speech with stories about his father's civil rights efforts while Governor of Michigan, and a quotation from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Comments [9]

eatthinkhappy from New York

Has amyone considered Gary Johnson for President instead of Romney? He hasn't offended entire groups of people, and actually has something to offer!

Aug. 29 2012 07:49 PM
Ogden Wernstrom from Mars University

When Romney said, "But I do promise that your hospitality to me today will be returned", was he offering the hospitality of the federal government to NAACP members once he is elected President?

Where would the Feds put up so many NAACP members?

Jul. 15 2012 01:16 AM

"Three-quarters said they were less likely to hire people." ... This is the problem with surveys: They may say they are less likely to hire people, but will they actually hire fewer people? Politicians never seem to understand the difference.

Jul. 13 2012 10:53 AM
rachel from NYC

Jul. 12 2012 02:19 AM

Yeah, and you know perfectly well that all those "jim crow democrats" are now Republicans, having switched parties after the Democrats supported civil rights.

Jul. 11 2012 11:42 PM

"The Republican Party’s record, by the measures you rightly apply, is not perfect," There was a smattering of applause, as if to say, "You don't say?"

The Democratic Party's record is a disfiguring fetid scar on our nation since it was the party of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and Japanese interment.

"You don't say?"

Jul. 11 2012 08:21 PM
Adam Dawson from Washington, DC

He should have watched McCain's speech to the NAACP in 2008. McCain managed to strike the exact right tone, and laid out his differences very clearly, but in a respectful way. It might not have gotten him a single vote, but at least he came away from that speech with the respect of everyone there. Romney simply came away from that speech with hostility and animosity.

Jul. 11 2012 02:10 PM
delroy cunningham from lakeland fl.

I need Gov. Mit Romney to explain whywhen the country needed him , he turn his bac on the country. When he was 19 yrs. old n everyone that was, he was drafted to go vietnam 5 times n he choose to not to go. mit romney went n got 5 deferrments to avoid going to vietnam. Now he wants to run for Pres. of USA. He doesn't deserve to speak to or much less try to shake a veteran hands, cause he turn his bac on the country. Sen. Santorum said it best, " Gov. Mit Romney would be the worst Rep. to run against Pres. Obama, he has same healthcare that Pres. Obama send to conress ". I have to agree with the sen. Mit romney is not for the poor n middle class n the rep. have never been for the poor n the middle class either thru out history of this country. Pres. abraham lin. did a goood thing signing the paper work to free the slaves, Pres. reagon did a few things, he also raise taxes 11 times, got flack for it by rep. mit romeny complain bout Pres. Obama record, which the Pres. has one , mit romney should check his rec. at mass. 40000 people he put out of work, raise ed. college fees, plus many other fees, fire policeman, fire fighters, send jobs overseas. At bain, he had a group of workers built a stage, n had group together n fire all of them, plus send jobs overseas at bain. Mit romney is for the rich n rich only he wants paul ryan budgit to go forward, which would raise the debt, put 4.3 trillion tax break for the rich. the country would be beter off w Pres. Obama, look at his record. 4 million consective job growth, auto bail out was a success gm is num. 1 again, bin ladin is dead college loan for student the middle man has been cut out no more banks in the middle mit romney wants to bring bac the bank in the middle. Mit Romney the coward he was running away from vietnam, is showing when flip flopping on issues everything comes out of his mouth is lie.

Jul. 11 2012 01:33 PM

He just doesn't get it. Once again, Romney gets in front of a crowd and makes a speech failing to state what he would do as President, instead forging on with the constant Obama bashing.

Instead, Romney should've made this a town hall where he fields questions from the audience and interacts with the constituents. But something tells me that he's either unable or unwilling to do that.

Jul. 11 2012 12:46 PM

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