Mitt Romney receiving more than 10 seconds of sustained boos at the NAACP annual convention when he mentioned repealing “Obamacare” dominated the headlines from the former Massachusetts governor’s speech in Houston Wednesday, and that might be just what the Republican presidential candidate wanted.
Romney told Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto after the speech that his team expected to be booed, though he added that he was gratified to receive a standing ovation from the crowd at the close of his remarks.
“I am going to give the same message to the NAACP that I give across the country, which is that Obamacare is killing jobs, and if jobs is the priority, we are going to have to replace it with something that actually holds down healthcare costs, as opposed to something that causes more spending for the government and more spending for American families,” the candidate said.
Conservative blogs also took note of the booing, with HotAir’s Allahpundit crowing:
Romney knows how unpopular ObamaCare is with most of the public and he knows that the media would go nuts if he got booed by the NAACP for criticizing it, and so he did it. And now every newscast in the country tonight will have footage of him talking about how bad the boondoggler-in-chief’s big health-care program is. The press gets what it wants and Romney gets what he wants. Great.
Not to mention that, for a guy who during the Republican primary failed to thrill conservative audiences the way the guy who promised to “go to the NAACP and tell them to demand paychecks instead of food stamps” did, grabbing headlines for being booed by an organization despised by many on the right might be bad optics, but good base politics.
Meanwhile, never missing an opportunity to elevate the dialogue, Rush Limbaugh — probably the most influential Republican in the country (next to Donald Trump and a guy named Grover) — told his erudite audience that Romney was actually booed because he’s white… So there’s that.
Romney also indicated that he may have some secret support among African-Americans, telling Cavuto he “spoke with a number of African-American leaders after the event and they said, you know, a lot of folks do not want to say they will not vote for President Obama, but they are disappointed in his lack of policies to improve the schools, disappointed in urban policy, disappointed in the economy.”
Romney didn’t elaborate on who those secret supporters might be, but Hilary Shelton, senior vice president for policy and advocacy for the NAACP in Washington, told MSNBC’s Ed Shultz that they actually arrived with the former Massachusetts governor. Shelton, the NAACP’s Washington bureau director, said Romney’s camp sent over a list of 20 “VIPs” who attended the speech with the candidate, and “served as his cheering section.” The list included Niger Innis, who Shelton said “came in from New York,” adding that the VIPs were not NAACP members. Shelton added that no members of the NAACP rank and file met with Romney after his speech.