July 11th, 2012
05:19 PM ET
2 years ago

NAACP chair: 'They absolutely booed' Romney

Houston (CNN) - Mitt Romney was booed repeatedly Wednesday during his address to an NAACP convention in Houston. The 15 seconds of loud booing that interrupted one portion of Romney's speech was likely the most prolonged negative response he has faced this campaign.

As soon as the GOP contender finished his remarks, campaign surrogates offered a different perspective on the speech to reporters. Aides noted an "acceptance" of Romney's message, pointing out he was applauded more than he was booed.

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That assessment of the speech, however, differs greatly from reactions volunteered by several NAACP leaders and members.

In an interview with CNN, NAACP National Board Chairwoman Rosyln Brock immediately seized on Romney's vow to repeal what the unofficial GOP nominee called "Obamacare," the buzz-word coined by conservative critics of the president's health care law.

"That was a loaded statement and the crowd erupted with displeasure," Brock said. "They absolutely booed," she added.

The president of the Washington, D.C. branch of the civil rights group, Akosua Tyus, described the outbursts as an "uproar." Tyus defended her participation in the negative response.

"He literally came to our house and attacked the issues that are important to us on our turf," Tyus said. She too objected to Romney's use of the term, "Obamacare."

Claudia Brown, an NAACP member who is running for a seat in the Texas state legislature admitted she "booed loudly." But she added, "I was not booing him the man. Because I love all people because I'm a Christian. I was booing his agenda."

The boisterous response did not sit well with Peggy Holmes, an NAACP member who traveled to the annual conference from Akron, Ohio. She said she was disappointed with the audience reaction.

"Because I wasn't raised that way. If I invite someone to my house, I treat them like a guest. I respect them," Holmes said.

The GOP contender made several overtures that appealed to the civil rights group's more conservative, evangelical members.

Romney drew applause from the audience when he hinted at his opposition to same-sex marriage, an issue that has divided NAACP members.

"As president, I will promote strong families and I will defend traditional marriage," Romney said.

Conservative pundits praised Romney on-line for sticking to his principles in front of what was a much more liberal audience.

Jim Geraghty of the National Review Online touted what he called a "surprisingly strong appearance."

"I think the speech was one of Romney's best of the campaign, often articulating conservative principles," Geraghty wrote.

Another noted conservative voice, CNN political contributor David Frum questioned whether Romney's performance was politically calculated.

"If I were a political cynic, I'd wonder whether the Romney campaign wanted to be booed at NAACP," Frum tweeted.

For its part, the Romney campaign dispatched a well-known, conservative African-American pundit to share her reaction with reporters.

Tara Wall, a fixture on cable news programs who now leads Romney's outreach to African American voters, seemed satisfied with the crowd's response.

"Three boos out of thunderous applause over and over again, I'll take that," Wall said.

Pressed by reporters to single out that moment of "thunderous applause," Wall corrected herself.

"Okay, applause in general. I think there was a lot more, as I've said a few times, a lot more applause than there were boos. I will take the fact that there was acceptance overall with his speech," Wall said.

While not thundering applause, there was a standing ovation at the end from roughly half of the audience according to several observers after Romney's remarks.

– CNN's Shawna Shepherd and Matt Hoye contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • NAACP • Texas
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    The booing was louder than the end applause.

    July 11, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Kris Craig

    "He was applauded more than he was booed."

    Really?! Is that the gold standard Mitt Romney is going by now? I'm not sure how one's expectations could get much lower than that.

    July 11, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Independent For President Obama

    Romney insulted people with his racist comment: I want things better for Black Americans. President Obama wants life better for everyone. Just like other races one size does not fit all when it comes to Black Americans. People know when someone is a phony they are not stupid.

    July 11, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Reggiedw

    These people really have no class. Imagine if the Teapartiers had done that to Obama, you would never hear the end of it from CNN and the liberal mainstream media. They would be saying that the Teapartiers are RACISTS. Tell me people, the members of the NAACP are not RACISTS too? Is it only racial when its the whites doing the booing but it is okay for the blacks to do it and get away with it. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These people have no class about them.......

    July 11, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. Ishaan

    Kris Craig, it is good enough when campaigning for the favor of African Americans. In 2008, over 90% of them voted for Obama, so the fact that Romney got any applause should be counted as a win by his campaign. If he even manages to work Obama's African American support down to 70%, it could have a significant impact on the election.

    July 11, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Woman In California

    "Three boos out of thunderous applause over and over again, I'll take that," Wall said.

    Pressed by reporters to single out that moment of "thunderous applause," Wall corrected herself.

    This is exactly what a Romney presidency would look like. Corrections ALL the time.

    Can America REALLY afford this?

    July 11, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    OK, enough is enough CNN. Some people like Deputy Doublethink and some people don't. it's all part of the campaign game and cheering and booing are bound to happen. It was interesting for about 30 seconds and then the entire planet went back to circling the freekin sun.

    LET IT GO. THIS FOCUS ON IT IS PUERILE AT BEST. FOCUS ON INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE ISSUES INSTEAD OF THIS INFANTILE GOSSIP CRAP.

    July 11, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Clint

    No class. They might want to focus on the word "advancement" and not "colored."

    July 11, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. Gurgyl

    Good job for boos. Bain capital, obama12.

    July 11, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. unlok

    This is Romney's Sister Soldier moment. He knew full well what he was doing.

    July 11, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. Not just a color

    I'm African American and I actually applaud Romeny's gesture in addressing the NAACP. I do not agree with the NAACP have always believed that they create more controversy than solved problems. In any event, Romeny's stock just increased with me. He basically walked into a room with a bunch of Democrats and told them to vote Republican. That is the equivalent of Glen Beck addressing the Democratic National Convention. To go there took courage. Now I am not voting for Romeny because he flip flops more than a burger at McDonalds. However, I applaud his gesture. BTW, there are many independent African American voters (like myself) who are not just voting for Obama because he is half black. I have a brain and race does not effect me at all....Makes me wish Obama was white so people wont think I'm voting for him because he's black.......Sad but true

    July 11, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Jon

    It took courage ... the same courage Romney has proven is a part of his charater over and over again

    July 11, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. McRCN

    Did anyone expect anything more from a group of people that more than 90+% will likely vote against Romney? Has Obama ever stood up for before a crowd that was that much against him? Obama tends to lose his cool if even one person speaks out against him in a crowd. Did Romney get nasty with them over the boos?

    July 11, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. Jmaz

    What a bunch of racists. If Obama were booed at the National Association of the Advancement of White People (or Brown People or Asian People) the act would have IMMEDIATELY and without question been deemed racist. I ask the African American community – WHAT HAS OBAMA DONE FOR YOU? More African Americans are unemployed under Obama; more African Americans are completely dependent upon the government for their survival (which is no way to live). More African Americans are in poverty. Obama sold out his African American commnity by handing college eduations and jobs to illegal Mexicans and Central/South American immigrants.

    July 11, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. DB

    CNN is nothing but promote racism.

    July 11, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. Jayson

    Imagine that, a group of individuals who make the claim and believe that you have to be racist to be a Republican booed a Republican presidential nominee. This is a truly shocking revalation.....

    July 11, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. 1crusader

    There's no surprise that the GOP would spin the boos aimed at Romney's threat to repeal the president's health care plan as agreement with him.Three fourths of what they are saying about the law, the president's desire to raise taxes on top earners, etc. are lies.

    July 11, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Very out of touch man " Romney" !

    July 11, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  19. Figure it out

    Romney is awesome for speaking there. He did not lie, african americans are poorer today as a group, more unemployed as a group, higher rates of educational failure and if they want four more years of that result then I say vote for the current President. To call Romney racist for his remarks is ludicrous, synical and the reason this country has divide......you sat there as an African American audience but want to be referred to as that really, then tell me how many non blacks were invited and what % were the other 'all americans: in attendence.....

    July 11, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    @Reggiedw

    These people really have no class. Imagine if the Teapartiers had done that to Obama
    ----------------–
    You mean the ones that yelled "Hang Him" as Palin stood grinning? And worse as she went along? Those baggers?

    July 11, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. Prosperid

    Oh well, Michelle Obama was booed at an NASCAR event & Barack video message recieved boos at the Country Music Awards.

    July 11, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. NVa Native

    You have an extremely wealthy guy who talks like he's an alien and knows nothing of real people's existance telling a crowd of real people that they are wrong and he is right – and having no facts to back up what he claims.
    So what would any rational person expect? BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOs

    July 11, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. Russ

    And yet again, when things aren't working for Romney on his political agenda he turns to something that has nothing to do with running a country. "I will defend traditional marriage." How about defending our country and jobs and infastructure. Things we care about that go hand in hand with our economy. Traditional marriage is on the way out. Most end in divorce unless your a Mormon and won't let her divorce you. Stay the hell out of our personal lives and tell us how you'll run the country, not my household.

    July 11, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  24. lovetheusaorleave

    I wonder why the headlines did not say Romney got Standing Ovation at the end of his speech. I guess that my show him in a good light. I am amazed that the press continue to push Obama when he takes away the freedom of press each day.

    July 11, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. Lisa P

    Reggiedw

    These people really have no class. Imagine if the Teapartiers had done that to Obama, you would never hear the end of it from CNN and the liberal mainstream media. They would be saying that the Teapartiers are RACISTS. Tell me people, the members of the NAACP are not RACISTS too? Is it only racial when its the whites doing the booing but it is okay for the blacks to do it and get away with it. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These people have no class about them.......
    July 11, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You mean like Rep. Joe Wilson of NC has no class? Or doesn't he count?

    And I suppose the NAACP's reception of Joe Biden tomorrow will also be "racist", right? 'Cause the message, and how the speaker treats the audience, has nothing to do with it...

    July 11, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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