While trying to woo voters who already favor your opponent, you might not want to criticize that candidate and his policies. Mitt Romney would have been smart to pay attention to this piece of advice while speaking to the NAACP yesterday. Romney made references to Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass during his speech in Houston. He received a polite reception and first and enjoyed the applause.
Speaking to a crowd that makes up part of the 98% of black voters that Obama got in 2008, Romney opened his remarks by saying that
“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 focused primarily on the economy in his speech. He promised that he would use federal funds to help parents to have choice in education. As he said,
“I will be a champion of real education reform in America, and I won’t let any special interest get in my way.”
In a savvy move, he emphasized his father’s legacy and the fact that he planned to uphold his father’s ideals. George Romney, as Governor of Michigan, wrote the civil rights provision of the state’s constitution and he fought to end discrimination in housing when he was in the Nixon administration. As Mitt Romney said to the NAACP,
“More than these public acts, it was the kind of man he was and the way he dealt with every person, black or white. He was a man of the fairest instincts and a man of faith who knew that every person was a child of God.”
Why, then, he thought it was an astute decision to bring up the issue of Obamacare and to talk again it, is anyone’s guess. At one point, he said that he was “going to eliminate every non-essential, expensive program that I can find — and that includes Obamacare.”
He then move off script, undoubtedly much to the horror of his campaign writers and supervisors, to explain how a recent Chamber of Commerce survey shows that people think Obama’s health care laws will cost jobs.
He was booed for these remarks and, hours after Romney spoke, the NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous issued a statement that said that the Republican’s agenda is “antithetical” to blacks.
Nice try Romney.