Open thread: Romney to speak at NAACP; Update: Excerpts added

posted at 9:21 am on July 11, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Mitt Romney makes his pitch to the oldest civil-rights organization in the US today with a 9:30 speech to the NAACP at its annual convention.  Republican presidential candidates usually make this one of the stops in election years, although Republican Presidents don’t usually return.  George W. Bush skipped the convention in 2004 after attending in 2000, an appearance that was followed by an NAACP ad in that election cycle that tried to blame Bush for the dragging death of James Byrd in Texas for Bush’s opposition to “hate crime” legislation. (It’s worth noting that Byrd’s white-supremacist murderers got the death penalty for that despicable murder even without having “hate crime” laws on the books.)

The Washington Post reports that the appearance is part of an attempt by Team Romney to reach outside the GOP’s base:

The NAACP visit is the former Massachusetts governor’s attempt to move beyond the traditional Republican Party base by trying to deliver a message that the GOP is serious about attracting black voters.

Critics say the effort is pointless for his chances in November. Supporters say it is important for the future of the party.

Romney’s campaign began preliminary outreach efforts in May by hiring a senior black consultant to engage African American voters and by visiting a predominantly black charter school in Philadelphia. Campaign officials say those efforts will be expanded in the coming weeks in an effort to wrest as many votes as possible from President Obama.

“The governor is committed to competing in the black community. The odds are high, it’s challenging, but every percentage point that we chip away from President Obama counts,” said Tara Wall, who is consulting with the Romney campaign on outreach efforts. “There are shared values with this community around faith, family, free enterprise and education. He will highlight his record in terms of addressing health, wealth and disparity gaps and show clear distinctions between him and Obama.”

Romney will stick to the economy and avoid any divisive topics, the Daily Caller reports.  In other words, don’t expect Romney to discuss Operation Fast and Furious today:

When asked if Romney plans to talk about any of the aforementioned issues during his Wednesday NAACP convention speech, though, campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul replied with just one word to The Daily Caller: “Economy,” she wrote.

Romney’s decision to avoid talking about anything but the economy when heading into a potentially unpleasant situation — like he’s doing by speaking to NAACP on the same stage as Holder spoke the day before, while refusing to address his criticism of him — is a campaign tactic that has drawn fierce criticism from conservatives as of late.

Does anyone really expect — or want — Romney to go to the NAACP and spend his time arguing that Holder should be fired?  Please.  That’s not an argument that Romney needs to make today — or actually any other day, at least not until voters engage on that topic.  Darrell Issa is doing just fine in pursuing the civil contempt charge, as polls have already shown, and the GOP should stick to the legal strategy for now.  Voters care about the economy, and every time Romney engages on other topics, he wastes an opportunity to hit Obama where he’s weakest.

Plus, the economy should be an even more important topic today.  While Obama and Democrats claim to be happy to be adding jobs at a pace of 65,200 per month during the recovery, the topline jobless rate for African-Americans is 14.4%.  That’s up from 13.0% just two months ago, and darned close to the 14.8% it was at the start of the recovery.  That’s where Romney’s focus should be — and perhaps on school choice, the best opportunity for black children to escape failing urban school districts and have a better chance at economic success in the future.

We’ll add the speech later today.  If we can find an embeddable live-video stream of the speech, we’ll add that as well.

Update: Yes, I screwed up the tag on the headline.  Yes, I had already had my first cup of coffee.  Obvious lesson: Time to move to a richer blend.

Team Romney released some excerpts from the prepared speech, and as I figured, Romney is sticking to the economy and school choice:

You all know something of my background, and maybe you’ve wondered how any Republican ever becomes governor of Massachusetts in the first place. Well, in a state with 11 percent Republican registration, you don’t get there by just talking to Republicans. We have to make our case to every voter. We don’t count anybody out, and we sure don’t make a habit of presuming anyone’s support. Support is asked for and earned – and that’s why I’m here today. …

… 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. I want you to know that if I did not believe that my policies and my leadership would help families of color — and families of any color — more than the policies and leadership of President Obama, I would not be running for president. …

… I am running for president because I know that my policies and vision will help hundreds of millions of middle class Americans of all races, will lift people from poverty, and will help prevent people from becoming poor. My campaign is about helping the people who need help. The course the President has set has not done that – and will not do that. My course will.

When President Obama called to congratulate me on becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, he said that he, quote, “looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America’s future.” To date, I’m afraid that his campaign has taken a different course than that.

If someone had told us in the 1950s or 60s that a black citizen would serve as the forty-fourth president, we would have been proud and many would have been surprised. Picturing that day, we might have assumed that the American presidency would be the very last door of opportunity to be opened. Before that came to pass, every other barrier on the path to equal opportunity would surely have to come down.

Of course, it hasn’t happened quite that way. Many barriers remain. Old inequities persist. In some ways, the challenges are even more complicated than before. And across America — and even within your own ranks — there are serious, honest debates about the way forward.

If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone. Instead, it’s worse for African Americans in almost every way. The unemployment rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, and median family wealth are all worse for the black community. In June, while the overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent, the unemployment rate for African Americans actually went up, from 13.6 percent to 14.4 percent.

Americans of every background are asking when this economy will finally recover – and you, in particular, are entitled to an answer.

If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, black families could send their sons and daughters to public schools that truly offer the hope of a better life. Instead, for generations, the African-American community has been waiting and waiting for that promise to be kept. Today, black children are 17 percent of students nationwide – but they are 42 percent of the students in our worst-performing schools.

When it comes to education reform, candidates cannot have it both ways – talking up education reform, while indulging the same groups that are blocking reform. You can be the voice of disadvantaged public-school students, or you can be the protector of special interests like the teachers unions, but you can’t be both. I have made my choice: As president, I will be a champion of real education reform in America, and I won’t let any special interest get in the way.

I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that a true choice by ensuring there are good options available to all.

Should I be elected President, I’ll lead as I did when governor. I will look for support wherever there is good will and shared conviction. I will work with you to help our children attend better schools and help our economy create good jobs with better wages.


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I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that a true choice by ensuring there are good options available to all.

I don’t know how Romney expects to win this election with RACIST RHETORIC like this. Did he wear his white sheet while he gave this speech?

CycloneCDB on July 11, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Agree. Ricket however the alphabet networks will only focus on that one boo

cmsinaz on July 11, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Loving the boos!

inthemiddle on July 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM

mid·dle (m d l) adj. 1. Equally distant from extremes or limits; central: the middle point on a line. 2. Being at neither one extreme nor the other; intermediate.

Did you really think you could fool a bunch of seasoned political junkies like those at HA with that moniker Champ?

But then liberal trolls always do underestimate the common sense of those on right so I’m really not surprised.

Flora Duh on July 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM

The problem with black liberals is that they’re black before they’re citizens of the nation. Their color is EVERYTHING(unless there’s a conservative who happens to be blacks around) but their country is NOTHING.
*Lefty mobys: I was raised in a black neighborhood. Bite me.*

annoyinglittletwerp on July 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM

What would mitt gain by standing in front of College Republicans? the Chamber of Commerce? an NRA gathering? a Tea Party? Would he move the needle much?? Nope– …
ted c on July 11, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Ted nails it.
It feels great to stand in front of the choir, and you need to do that from time to time to drum up donations or enlist volunteers, but to “move the needle” as Ted puts it, you need to go where the new votes are.
I have been closely involved with two congressional campaigns, there are only three reasons to appear:
Votes,
Volunteers,
Contributions.
it is very easy to spend too much time and effort on the latter items, while the simple truth is, in the end, only the votes count.

JusDreamin on July 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM

WordsMatter on July 11, 2012 at 11:15 AM

and this thread illustrates otherwise? keep an open mind.

peachaeo on July 11, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Obama doesn’t have to talk to these folks or even worry about their vote.

Herb on July 11, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Governor Romney: “How about that black president that took away school vouchers for largely-black students in Washington, DC? On my first day in office I will reinstitute the vouchers, because our children deserve a chance at the best education available.”

slickwillie2001 on July 11, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Standing ovation! With that said, it probably won’t change a single mind, but I love the outreach. Take no vote for granted.

GOPRanknFile on July 11, 2012 at 11:10 AM

I just watched it live and watched him get booed on Obamacare…while the rest of the speech was met largely with silence and small but polite applause.
I’m proud that he went there and stood his ground and made a great case for his educational reforms and how they will help black kids…using his Mass. work as governor to back up his words.
He may not get many converts…but I think anyone who listened to him in the audience will be less likely to demonize him as he came across as a man of good will and a good heart.

camaraderie on July 11, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I concur with you 2.

Good move by Mitt! :)

Bizarro No. 1 on July 11, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Agree. Ricket however the alphabet networks will only focus on that one boo

cmsinaz on July 11, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Let them. We already know what the people think of the television news networks:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/155585/Americans-Confidence-Television-News-Drops-New-Low.aspx

tbrickert on July 11, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Romney isn’t changing any minds today. Opinions have been formed long ago… and they won’t change any time soon. It’s what John McWhorter calls therapeutic alienation, a culture of grievance.

WordsMatter on July 11, 2012 at 11:36 AM

camaraderie on July 11, 2012 at 11:17 AM

i know mitt doesnt have the most personable aura, but he should let people get to know him a bit. He is not the standard republican, but in this race i think that’s a good thing. he should talk about his missionary work, his jobs, his failures, his successes. most of all his family. I think it’s wonderful we have 2 family men running for president and mitt should seize the opportunity to brag about it first.

peachaeo on July 11, 2012 at 11:37 AM

If…uh…he’s scared to speak in front of the NAACP…uh…how would he ever sit across from Achmenijad?

-Left talking head if he didn’t go.

Ben Hur on July 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Romney seems to be playing the “decent guy” pitch, to blacks, and whites. Problem: no one cares that someone is a decent guy, half the people hold that as a negative. They want someone with fire and flair. Nice Guys finish last, for a reason.

Why doesn’t Romney mention gay marriage when blacks are strongly opposed to that? To the wider electorate, why doesn’t he go after the heart of Obama? You can’t take down a beast by shooting at the extremities. Start attacking Obama not just for being “a nice guy” that is “a bit over his head”, but for being the -radical- that he is. Why not? It’s incomprehensible, inexplicable really, that Mitt won’t go after O where it hurts. So much like McCain. Both Mitt & McCain seem under O’s spell.

anotherJoe on July 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM

I missed the speech. Did he mention that he was conceived after his parents saw what was happening in Selma? Oh, never mind.

MrKleenexMuscles on July 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM

This also appeals to suburban white women voters, who went for Obama last time but are persuadable. Giving a dignified speech before the NAACP will give Romney cover with these voters.

Ted Torgerson on July 11, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Good point tbr

cmsinaz on July 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Very good speech.

It was directed to the many black people who will listen to it outside of that room. It may not resonate with the activists, but it will with the middle class people out there who are hurting.

PattyJ on July 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM

It’s incomprehensible, inexplicable really, that Mitt won’t go after O where it hurts. So much like McCain. Both Mitt & McCain seem under O’s spell.

anotherJoe on July 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Oh yeah…one thing that this campaign has shown us is that Romney is exactly like McCain. /

GOPRanknFile on July 11, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Good for Mr. Mitt. Nothing is lost and everything to gain by respectfully and reasonably asking for “your” vote. Although Obama will dominate the black vote, I believe that Romney will win a surprising number of voters from that constituency. The times they are a changin’.
Randy

williars on July 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Loving the boos!

inthemiddle on July 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Didnt catch the video of the speech, but getting booed by a racist organization like the NAACP isn’t exactly going to cost him voters.

Go RBNY on July 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Why doesn’t Romney mention gay marriage when blacks are strongly opposed to that? To the wider electorate, why doesn’t he go after the heart of Obama? You can’t take down a beast by shooting at the extremities.

anotherJoe on July 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM

From the speech:
“Any policy that lifts up and honors the family is going to be good for the country, and that must be our goal. As President, I will promote strong families – and I will defend traditional marriage.”

GOPRanknFile on July 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Loving the boos!

inthemiddle on July 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM

mid·dle (m d l) adj. 1. Equally distant from extremes or limits; central: the middle point on a line. 2. Being at neither one extreme nor the other; intermediate.

Did you really think you could fool a bunch of seasoned political junkies like those at HA with that moniker Champ?

But then liberal trolls always do underestimate the common sense of those on right so I’m really not surprised.

Flora Duh on July 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM

The worst poster on this website, bar none. Behold
the plethora of childish insults hurled with a screen name
attached to actually MAKE people think they are in
the Middle. A five year old with Tourettes Syndrome would
be more effective.

P.S. these are the same types of individuals who were always
picked LAST in Gym class…..

ToddPA on July 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Rombo did good enough. Sure, the jackholes in the room probably won’t vote for him but anyone watching probably heard enough to convince them that Mitt isn’t the racist that TFGRP would have them believe. A few people here and there who can look past race and think about the overall good for themselves and their family can have an impact.

Bishop on July 11, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Glad Romney went and glad he was booed. That way we Obama opponents can’t be criticized when Tea Partiers or others boo the POTUS.

philw1776 on July 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Glad Romney went and glad he was booed. That way we Obama opponents can’t be criticized when Tea Partiers or others boo the POTUS.

philw1776 on July 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM

In what Universe? :)

Axe on July 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM

He had to go, and he did himself good by being booed by the partisan hacks in the room.

Waiting for the James Byrd commercial in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….

victor82 on July 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM

The BOO crowd at least heard the true thoughts of this man and they are use to hearing the words, some call them lies, that Obama says only because he knows what they want to hear. Someday we will all have to grow up and take our medicine and if things continue the way they are, medicine may not work.

Pardonme on July 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM

For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted.

I really wish we had a nominee that would speak to why there shouldn’t be ANY federal education funds…

Common Sense Floridian on July 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Glad Romney went and glad he was booed.

philw1776 on July 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Same. Would have been far more worrying if they’d cheered him.

Go RBNY on July 11, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Tell you what, anyone listening who might think of getting of the reservation just got a warm invitation to a real life in America.

Mitt talked about the American Dream in that free enterprise is the way up and out -not government intervention. He addressed that the usual routine for African Americans has NOT worked. He presented an authentic alternative to the Julia plan. For the most part, that it is. Can’t remove Gubmint completely without titrating down, ya know.

LetsBfrank on July 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

I really wish we had a nominee that would speak to why there shouldn’t be ANY federal education funds…

Common Sense Floridian on July 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Yep.

CycloneCDB on July 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM

titrating

LetsBfrank on July 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

!

O.

to ascertain the quantity of a given constituent by adding a liquid reagent of known strength and measuring the volume necessary to convert the constituent to another form

Sorry. Continue.

Axe on July 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM

If…uh…he’s scared to speak in front of the NAACP…uh…how would he ever sit across from Achmenijad?

-Left talking head if he didn’t go.

Ben Hur on July 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I would say it’s more of a case that Republicans are scared not to appear before groups like the NAACP. Now rephrase the question, if you are to afraid to say no to the NAACP, how are you going to say no to Putin or China at the negotiating table?

jpmn on July 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Axe on July 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Was using ‘titrate’ in the drug sense. Instead of going off something cold turkey, you lower the dose gradually. So, you ‘go off’ government gradually in bits so it’s easier on the system. Just the thing for someone who is on massive doses of government.

LetsBfrank on July 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Hey, and he didn’t flip flop once in the whole speech. Give it a day or two though, since he’s the king of flip floppers.

Too bad he got booed for talking about repealing Romneycare.

popularpeoplesfront on July 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Was using ‘titrate’ in the drug sense. Instead of going off something cold turkey, you lower the dose gradually. So, you ‘go off’ government gradually in bits so it’s easier on the system. Just the thing for someone who is on massive doses of government.

LetsBfrank on July 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

… Ah. OK. I just thought “dilute” as a metaphor and made do, so I was close.

Geez man — have some compassion on weary brain-things. :) I have to learn any more words, I am going to start forgetting to brush the cat.

Axe on July 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Too bad he got booed for talking about repealing Romneycare.

popularpeoplesfront on July 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Sleeper Cell?

I wasn’t aware Romney wrote O’bamacare.

FAIL-

Del Dolemonte on July 11, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Speeches to audiences like this highlight in the extreme who the actual racists are, that being the black activist types that really don’t care about the country at all, they just want their gimmies.

The black folk that are willing to listen to reason aren’t in that audience in even small numbers, but they are listening I’m sure. Good black folks are just as tired of the wannabee communist and his buddies efforts in flushing this country down the hole as everyone else is….except perhaps for the illegal aliens coursing across our southern border looking for the next amnesty voting act by the anti-American in chief. It’s the black American that’s paying the heaviest price for this racist in the white house and his anti-American policies and beliefs.

Wolfmoon on July 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM

You all know something of my background, and maybe you’ve wondered how any Republican ever becomes governor of Massachusetts in the first place. Well, in a state with 11 percent Republican registration, you don’t get there by just talking to Republicans. We have to make our case to every voter.

Should I be elected President, I’ll lead as I did when governor. I will look for support wherever there is good will and shared conviction.

He sure has not made the case to Conservative voters.

What he does not say is how he won in Mass was by denying he was even a Republican. That was just a technicality but he knew nor liked any Republican nor his wife. He ran as a Liberal Moderate to the left of the Democrat he was running as. He reached out only to Democrats to win.

Now he says he will be the same as President. Reaching out only to Democrats to govern like he did in Mass.

Sorry I have never voted for a Democrat and Mitt will not be the first.

If he can repudiate me in 2002 – 2005 I can repudiate him now.

His words are true here. He will govern with Democrats just like in Mass.

Why on earth is he our nominee? Are we really that stupid?

Steveangell on July 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Open thread?

Cool

Dante on July 11, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Axe on July 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Duly noted! Would never want your cat to go without a brushing :-)

LetsBfrank on July 11, 2012 at 2:11 PM

WordsMatter on July 11, 2012 at 11:36 AM

In 2008, McWhorter ADMITTED that he was voting for Zero because Zero was ‘black’.

annoyinglittletwerp on July 11, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Ted nails it.
It feels great to stand in front of the choir, and you need to do that from time to time to drum up donations or enlist volunteers, but to “move the needle” as Ted puts it, you need to go where the new votes are.
I have been closely involved with two congressional campaigns, there are only three reasons to appear:
Votes,
Volunteers,
Contributions.
it is very easy to spend too much time and effort on the latter items, while the simple truth is, in the end, only the votes count.

JusDreamin on July 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Romney isn’t going to get votes, volunteers, or contributions from this organization. Fear of being called a racist is why Republicans speak at this event. Romney will be called a racist anyway so IMO there is no reason to speak to this organization.

Instead reach out to minority voters by going to NYC and ask why Obama allows Stop and Frisk, go to Detroit and stand in front of an abandoned home, go to CAlifornia’s now dry valleys and ask why minnows are more important than jobs.

jpmn on July 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM

The NAACP is not a legitimate organization.

Willard SHOULD NOT have been there.

How about this … would Willy have gone to any of these orgs to speak?

Democratic National Convention?

American Communist Party?

Code Pink?

Certainly not as all of those are either radical and / or fronts for the Dimmocritic Party.

Willard McDole beclowns himself once again! LOL

HondaV65 on July 11, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Ya feelin’ me, playa ?

ted c on July 11, 2012 at 9:38 AM

FIFY

socalcon on July 12, 2012 at 7:36 AM

ToddPA on July 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Not at our school, they’ll be in the fetal position after their beating in the locker room.

socalcon on July 12, 2012 at 7:44 AM

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