The Campaign Trail To the NAACP

Thursday, July 12, 2012

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

Sherrilyn Ifill, civil rights lawyer, University of Maryland law professor and the author of The Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century, offers analysis of Governor Romney's message yesterday and of Vice President Biden's speech today at the NAACP convention in Houston.


Sherrilyn Ifill

Comments [40]

@betterblue -

Even the states that issue 'free' ID require certifying documents that are NOT free...Copies of a birth certificate- NT FREE (even if available), copies of marriage license - NOT FREE. And so on...

If it's your first time voting, requiring a photo identification - why wasn't identity established at the time of registration? - is understandable. But requiring folks to 'prove your you' when they are voting at the same location to the same poll workers is a colossal waste of time.

Jul. 12 2012 12:25 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Sheldon, what's too often missing from such comments is context. With the way they're too often presented, you'd think that black fathers, oh, just up and decided one day to abondon their families...The history here matters. Keeping it in the forefront not only leads us to effective solutions, but resists the demoralizing, unjustifiable, counterproductive yet unfortunately persistent condemnation of blackness...Lack of context is also why SQAF fails.

Jul. 12 2012 12:14 PM

@gary from queens -

I've got no idea about the quality of your facts about the media being asked for appropriate credentials - gov't supplied photo ID - before being allowed entry to the NAACP conference but my rejoinder would be that admittance to a conference is not a CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED RIGHT.

See the difference? There are legitimate security concerns for public events that don't necessarily apply to voting.

Jul. 12 2012 12:08 PM

@Robert from nyc -

Obama's father is from Africa and his mother is from America. Therefore, he is probably only the true African-American you are likely to meet. You know nothing about the genetic background about his father or his mother so your claim that he's 'half white and half African black' is based on scant evidence. If the Dunham's emigrated to this continent before 1830, the chances that she was 100% European are small.

Jul. 12 2012 11:58 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Why "rightfully so"?.. Their comments expressed a view many people have about the lack of "effective" parenting, specifically in the black community. Why is that a bad thing?

Jul. 12 2012 11:58 AM

If Brian weren't so infterested in promoting the Democratic candidates - he might have fact checked both Holder's and his guest's comments on Voter ID/Poll Tax comparison.

Every state that has imposed this requirement provides for free issuance of state ids to those who need them for voting. How does free = a tax?

Jul. 12 2012 11:50 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Sheldon, yes, Obama and Cosby got criticized for their comments. And rightfully so. But less so. In general, WHO says it does affect resonance here.

Jul. 12 2012 11:46 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Robert, that is silly - Next time a "1/2 black" person gets pulled over, or tries to catch a cab, I assure you - they are just one color

Jul. 12 2012 11:46 AM
The Truth from Becky

You can't fake sincerity.

Jul. 12 2012 11:44 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

That's not accurate. Speaking about "personal responsibility" via parenting, in the black community is always a tough one. Bill Cosby and even Obama, got creamed for bringing it up, not just people outside "the family"

Jul. 12 2012 11:42 AM
rachel from red hook

it isn't just that Obama is in the family. Democrats consistently support policies that support the poor and working poor and Republicans consistently do not. Spending cuts means fewer grant opportunities for all the social service, economic development and public welfare organizations that work to support black and other families. It is not favoritism because Obama is black -- it is policy analysis that recognizes what is at stake.

Jul. 12 2012 11:42 AM
glork from Glen Ridge, NJ

Somewhat dismayed at Brian today- usually plays an extended clip in order to place a news item in a full context for optimum understanding. Yet,here the Romeny booing episode is sufficient. May we know how Mr. Romney responded and/or continued his address following that occurrence? Also, why are people supposed to be afraid to address the NAACP ?

Jul. 12 2012 11:41 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Ok, so it DOES matter who says what. Criticism coming from another black person is assumed to be accompanied by an understanding of the compounding challenges (and is therefore constructive). That's not the asssumption with white people. Ergo, the different reactions to the so called "personal responsiblity" comments. Same with the n-word. Completely valid.

Jul. 12 2012 11:41 AM
Robert from NYC

Remember Brian, Obama is NOT African American, he is 1/2 white and 1/2 African black. Now you go figure it out.

Jul. 12 2012 11:39 AM
Darren O'Brien

Re: these statistics that both Romney and Obama present about the relationship between family and economic status: it seems possible if not probable that this is a correlative issue, and that people already in poverty are more likely to have "problematic" families.

Jul. 12 2012 11:39 AM
hmi from Park Slope

Why is it that requiring gov't-issued photo ID is economically and racially discriminatory for voting but not for getting on an airplane? How about the effort and expense of acquiring documentation in order to get a passport (not to mention the cost of the passport itself)? Certainly voting is a very important right, but so is the freedom to travel.

Jul. 12 2012 11:39 AM
gary from queens


that was a very salient observation on black dependency (at 11:05) you made. Very relevant for that group. Yet another missed opportunity by Romney to speak truth to black people.

My stepson is black. He's the most accomplished hard worker I know. A great personal trainer and photographer. independent and self reliant. helps his siblings. cannot be more proud. i know many middle class blacks just like him.

But there are so many of the type you describe, unfortunately.

Jul. 12 2012 11:38 AM
Karen from NYC

Voter ID:

My cousin is a senior citizen, living in Fl. She moved from southern to northern FL and needed to change the address on her driver's license -- her photo I.D. She had a copy of her birth certificate.

Motor Vehicles in FL demanded, however, that she produce an original, stamped birth certificate. The copy would not do.

My cousin was born in Brooklyn. Obtaining the certificate cost her $35.00, and required that she contact the Brooklyn records department.

How many FL seniors are from out of state? How many can afford $35.00? How many will send to Bklyn for their birth certificates? My cousin moved; will an ordinary drivers license renewal require such "original" documents?

Jul. 12 2012 11:35 AM
Amy from Manhattan

So 8 million of the 30 million Americans who will gain health coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are African-Americans? That means that close to 1/3 of those who have been going without it are black. I'd like to hear more about that on a future segment.

And to gary from queens, the NAACP audience wasn't booing Romney's use of the term "Obamacare," they were booing him for saying he'd end it.

Jul. 12 2012 11:34 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Don't students get forged ID's to be able to drink at bars?

Jul. 12 2012 11:33 AM
pliny from soho

good guest

Jul. 12 2012 11:28 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

LOL.....didn't Biden just inadvertently echo Allen West ?

"....if you continue to act like a minority, you will remain a minority."

Jul. 12 2012 11:20 AM

"Smart" of Obama to publicly snub yet another portion of his base.

Thank you sir, may we have another!

Jul. 12 2012 11:20 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Gary you can't address them because your ridicule of NAACP checking ID (Something every nondescript office building, post 9/11 does) was just silly.

I give Romney kudos for showing up but his speech was god awful....He shouldn't have pandered but he could have tailored his ideas better.

Jul. 12 2012 11:18 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Well, ol' Joe is sounding effective. (I mean, yeah, it's just talk, but...)

Jul. 12 2012 11:17 AM

Ohhh Ed-

There is not much more to say other than your comment has absolutely no relevance and is completely illogical to boot.

Jul. 12 2012 11:14 AM
desdemona finch from Brooklyn

To the president's defense, he will be appearing at the National Urban League's conference at the end of the month.

Jul. 12 2012 11:12 AM
The Truth from Becky

Martin Chuzzlewit
Martin Chuzzlewit
The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit is a novel by Charles Dickens, considered the last of his picaresque novels. It was originally serialized between 1843–44. Wikipedia

Jul. 12 2012 11:11 AM
gary from queens


more nutty comments. cant bother to addresss them. But did you take note that when Obama spoke to the latino groups at some dinner, they gave them plastic forks and took away the metal ones.

That didnt happen at George Clooney's celeb fest 2 months ago. what is Obama saying about Latinos, huh?

Jul. 12 2012 11:09 AM
The Truth from Becky

Brian I am convinced you are rabble rousing by trying to make a big deal about the President not attending...also stop playing up the booing it was not any larger event than that idiot shouting out "lie" on the house floor 4 years ago.

Jul. 12 2012 11:09 AM
The Truth from Becky

Why dont those with anti Obama sentiments in here go to Hannity's radio show? hmmmm.

romney did NOT appear with good intent, perception is reality, if you know the audience you are speaking to is opposed to you calling them hooded cowards, then don't call them that in their house unless you want a reaction.

Don't speak to the members of the NAACP about repealing "obamacare" when you know there is a chance that you are going to offend, I never heard the President say he was ok with the term but even so, rolling of the repub tongue it just sounds vulgar.

Jul. 12 2012 11:07 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Another reason Romney was booed-

Congressman Allen West’s frequent outspoken observations (and only an African-American could say this and survive) are correct – Democrats have built a "plantation" of entitlements and low level government jobs for African-Americans .... and unfortunately they happily live on it with a feeling of being “owed” this. As a result, many wallow in a lower-tier permanent dependency ... ”secure”, but always at the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder. This, in turn, circles back to cause more bitterness, substantiate perceptions of never-ending racism and foster a disbelief that Blacks can ever be part of the larger American dream. It hasn’t changed in over 45 years.

Romney or anyone else who challenges this self-defeating system was sure to meet with the poor reception which he received.

Jul. 12 2012 11:05 AM
gary from queens

Martin, many thanks. and coming from you, its high praise.

Jul. 12 2012 10:37 AM
gary from queens

Bernard, Obama announced some time ago that he's proud that his name is used, per "obamacare". the term is fine with Obama. why do blacks at the meeting find it offensive?

Jul. 12 2012 10:33 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Gary From Queens-

Actually, double kudos for you today - pointing out the LOL IRONY that NAACP attendees had to show photo ID to get in to hear Eric Holder gloat that he is fighting the voter ID requirements that will keep our elections honest.
You can't make this stuff up !

Jul. 12 2012 10:24 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Gary From Queens-

Great point - Obama never mixes with anyone outside pre-picked Lefty venues, union meetings or starry-eyed college students who obey the "applause now" sign when it flashes in the half-filled auditoriums.
I would bet that Obama wouldn't get booed and heckled at the American Enterprise Institute.....and we know the easy way to find out.
Of course, outside the ONE private dinner he had just after his election with some celebrity conservative journalists...Kristol, Will...Obama doesn't talk to Republicans to hear other viewpoints....especially if they serve in the House or Senate. (Actually, the Dems complain that he doesn't talk to them either.)

Second guess (maliciously) Romney's motives all you want, illiberals, but at least he showed up.

Jul. 12 2012 10:18 AM
bernard from bronx

Romney's appearance at the NAACP convention was tailor made for the "Reagan Democrats". Romney knew he would get a negative response from this Obama-strong audience by critizing the Health Care law. So he goes ahead and asserts that he will repeal Obama Care, not Health Care, but Obama Care. So he gets the response that he planned on all along and in the process the message to the Reagan Democrats is clear: these people are the beneficiaries of government largesse at your expense. It's the old "southern strategy" reduz.

Jul. 12 2012 10:01 AM
gary from queens

Romney knew he would attract maximal media coverage for his speech at NAACP. What an opportunity to teach supply-side economics to economics-challenged liberals who never vote for republicans. The perfect audience for that.

And on that same day, it was reported that San Bernardino is the 3rd city in CA to go bankrupt. (No surprise. California state workers have a deal to kill for. They won't give it up, and cities are paying the price.)

Instead, Mitt delivers a warmed-over campaign speech everyone has heard him utter countless times before. Even the black audience yawned----when they weren't booing.

I'm convinced more than ever that Romney is not only NOT a supply sider, he knows little about macro economic theory. I've never heard him discuss it in any depth? Gingrinch and Santorum had.

The NAACP is another story. Why it gets the respect of Republicans I'll never know. It's been a partisan organization ever since Julian Bond ran it. No different than ACORN or the SEIU trade union. What is the purpose of showing up? To get booed? When did Obama ever give a speech to The Club For Growth, NRA, Right To Life, or Americans for Tax Reform?

The day before Romney spoke there, Eric Holder had. Holder is stopping states from implementing voter ID laws, yet ironically, the media were obliged to show proper credentials and government-issued photo identification to get in the room.

Jul. 12 2012 09:39 AM
Anna from Parsippany

Did Romney have applause lines? The MSM is primarily reporting the jeers and boos.
Last Friday on PBS Newshour, David Brooks sated that Romney had a very good
Economic plan. The Problem: it is a secret. He has not put it forward.
When he had the opportunity to speak to a group that has been most affected
By the economy those 'very good' ideas are not presented just critism of the President.
I have supported The President. I am disappointed with the the lack of progress
But African Americans need to continue to organize and advocate for our communities.
There are structural and personal responsibility issues that need to be handled by us all....not just the
The problem is americans love the President but there is still a loathing
Of Africcan Americans.

Jul. 12 2012 09:15 AM
Ed from Larchmont

One of the scourges of the African-American community is abortion: 30% or so of their children are killed in abortion. President Obama has promoted the availability abortion in every possible way. He is no friend of the African-American community.

Jul. 12 2012 08:43 AM

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