Mitt Romney’s much publicized appeal to the African-American community fell flat this morning, as the Republican nominee-to-be endured loud, repeated booing during his speech to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The opening words of Romney’s address played to tepid applause — the fact that his campaign bused in 200 supporters certainly helped — but the former Massachusetts governor lost the audience the moment he attacked President Barack Obama’s health care reform.
“Our high level of debt slows GDP growth and that means fewer jobs. If our goal is jobs, we must, must stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we earn,” Romney said. “To do this, I will eliminate expensive, non-essential programs like Obamacare.”
That line didn’t go over well, to put it gently.
Considering that people of color — who are significantly more likely to lack health insurance than whites — stand to benefit most from the Affordable Care Act, Romney should not have been surprised by the crowd’s angry reaction.
Romney responded to the catcalls by citing a notoriously unreliable Chamber of Commerce survey, which claimed to provate that Obamacare makes business owners less likely to hire new workers, but it was clear that he had permanently lost his listeners.
Later in the speech, the NAACP members booed Romney again when he claimed that “if you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you’re looking at him.”
Making matters worse, some in the crowd actually responded to his claim with laughter.
Aside from the open booing, there were several other bad moments in Romney’s speech. Taking the stage while an organ played, Romney opened with the type of awkward pander that has become his trademark: “I do love that music. I have to tell you, I do love listening to that organ music.”