July 11th, 2012
11:56 AM ET
2 years ago

Reacting to boos, Romney goes off-script

(CNN) – Mitt Romney was met with a round of boos Wednesday during his speech at the NAACP convention in Houston, after he voiced his goal to repeal "Obamacare."

"I'm going to eliminate every non-essential expensive program I can find. That includes Obamacare, and I'm going to work to reform and save," he said, before being interrupted by the unhappy crowd.

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The presumptive GOP presidential nominee paused for 15 seconds, as he looked out over the crowd hissing and jeering.

Instead of moving on to his next point, Romney went off-script to back up his claim.

Romney mentioned, as the boos began to fade, a survey of 1,500 members of the Chamber of Commerce, in which three-quarters said President Barack Obama's health care plan made them "less likely to hire people."

"So I say again," Romney continued. "If our priority is jobs, and that's my priority, that's something I'd change and I'd replace with something that provides to people something they need in health care, which is lower costs, good quality, a capacity to deal with people who have pre-existing conditions and I'll put that in place."

He then went on to make his next point, as listed in his prepared remarks.

The candidate had a few more boos from those who took issue with some of his positions. However, Romney also received some applause lines, as well as a few bursts of organ music during the remainder of his speech.

After the event, campaign adviser Tara Wall described Romney's reception as favorable, saying, "I'll take three boos out of thunderous applause over and over again."

Pressed by reporters if she really considered the applause "thunderous," Wall quickly walked back her remark.

"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," she said.

After the speech, the NAACP released a statement thanking Romney, "We are pleased that Gov. Romney addressed our convention today."

But then Chairman Roslyn Brock criticized Romney's policies, "This morning Gov. Romney laid out his policy agenda for this nation. Unfortunately, much of his agenda is at odds with what the NAACP stands for - whether the issue is equal access to affordable health care, reforming our education system or the path forward on marriage equality. We appreciate that he was courageous and took the opportunity to speak with us directly."

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous also stated that Romney's plans did not meet the interests of the audience.

"His criticism of the Affordable Care Act– legislation that will improve the access to quality health care for millions - signals his fundamental misunderstanding of the needs of many African Americans," Jealous stated.

– CNN Political Producer Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • NAACP • Texas
soundoff (462 Responses)
  1. anagram_kid

    Glorydays wrote, “What on earth made the GOP choose such an out of touch candidate?”
    ------------
    The Koch brothers chose him and he was the only choice as they needed someone who could win independents. But in the larger picture, when your party has been taken over by anti-intellectuals, bigots and people who fear change as they know they cannot learn or compete, the choice of candidates is very limited.

    July 11, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. Observer91

    Did Mitt Romney really think he could win over African Americans this way? And who was the Einstein that wrote his speech? I can respect his smart move in trying to speak to the NAACP, but his execution was horribly wrong. I'm an African American and I'd never cheer for Mitt. Almost everything he stands for is the exactly the opposite of what the vast majority of African Americans stand for, including me.

    July 11, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. SPA Knight

    I heard that President Obama is sending Joe Biden to address NAACP. At least Romney had the guts to face this audience which he had to know would oppose most of his policy. NAACP should be insulted by the fact that Obama doesn't feel he needs to earn their vote. What exactly has Obama done for the African American community other than increase their unemployment and dependence.

    July 11, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. thedoctor

    I remember when the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed. Critics quoted all sorts of surveys on how many business would have to close. But oddly enough, there wasn't a wave of business closings.

    July 11, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Robb

    A country is not a business, does not work like a business, and dealing with an international economy is not like balancing a checkbook. An economy is a system of financial energy, not a business or balance sheet, and this is why "austerity" measures will never work during a deep recession.
    Who wants an empty business suit making important decisions that could make or break us as a country for the next several decades? Not me.

    July 11, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Can anyone tell me something specific about the positions Mitt Romney has taken on issues that would prevent him from being an adequate President?"

    Yes, very simply: we don't know what positions he's taking on the issues beacuse he's either (a) refused to take one in man cases or (b) taken diametrically opposed positions at different times on the rest fo the issues.

    In short, he's indecisive, an opportunist, a panderer, a flip-flopper, feckless, unspecific, frequently ideological instead of pragmatic, vague, vapid, vain and vitriolic. I'm sure there's 100 more adjectives I could throw at him, but you get the point.

    July 11, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. gr8usa

    The beginning of this clip is most troubling. "You need to understand..." Way to talk down to an entire group of people Mitt!!!

    July 11, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Triple A

    Of course he got boo'ed, it was expected but he went anyway. Look at who they are and what they have become. The Obama has made them hateful and dependent.

    July 11, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. 1twinsfan

    I commend Romney for at least attempting to reach out however, when I read what he said in his speech, well, it's all I can do not to laugh. He comes across as extremely inauthentic.

    July 11, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Ferret out the BS

    Mitt reminds me of a used car salesman;"Have I got a deal for you!"

    July 11, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "We need a president who will unite us and not divide us...a president who wont play one set of Americans against another to further his agenda."

    Yeah, much better that we have a GOPer who will pretend their policies help everyone, while they really just continue and accelerate the redistribution of the nation's wealth upwards to the already wealthy. It's worked so well for the past 40 years...I mean, isn't the average 25% loss in middle-class family wealth and the 40 years of stagnant middle class salaries while the wealthiest 1% grew their share of the nations wealth by upwards of 25% great evidence that it's all worked so well? It's so incredibly silly that people think we shouldn't just "stay the course," amirite?

    July 11, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. native new yorker

    Good! Romney can't be booed enough. Read this quote from the above article: "I'm going to eliminate every non-essential expensive program I can find. That includes Obamacare, and I'm going to work to reform and save." So which is it, "eliminate" or "reform and save?" You can't do both. His campaign logo should be that old Roman god Janus (with the two faces).

    July 11, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. Fantasybaron

    Mitt thinks huge military spending is "essential". If he gets a lead I would invest in companies like Northrup, Haliburton, General Dynamics since that's where he's sending the market. I work for a venture capital company that recently bought a family company. The only difference is the venture owners have to take 15% off the top to satisfy their investors and commitments where there was no debt before. More senior and higher paid employees have been systematically eliminated and replace by temps; job eliminators not creators. Wages and raises are frozen. The company is losing money although its really not but we have these great new venture owners who have sucked the money and vitality out of the company in an industry they had no experience in so they can play company. If you think these vultures add jobs then just wait until the revolution arrives at your business and you have to play a little "catch up" with your pay, bennies and opportunities so they can eventually save up enough money to do it again somewhere else.

    July 11, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Malory Archer

    SPA Knight

    I heard that President Obama is sending Joe Biden to address NAACP. At least Romney had the guts to face this audience which he had to know would oppose most of his policy.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    President Obama went on faux noise and dealt with an extremely rude pundit who kept interrupting him, so I'd say he's got one up on mittens.

    July 11, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Whome

    And you would expect anything less?

    July 11, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney wasn't trying to appeal to black or minority voters, he was appealing to white voters only so he could go back and tell them "you see I said the same thing to them that I said to you". Then to cap it off, he has one of his five non-military serving sons doing a video in Spanish. You don't repeal healthcare, immigration and then try to appeal to minorities, it dosn't work like that.

    July 11, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Richard

    Ginger

    You would rather see willard hand over money to the oil comapnies, the pharmeceutical companies and last but certainly not least the insurance companies, which put us in this situation. You must not be very bright, if you think you are going to get better service and less cost, if Affordable Health Care is repealed.

    July 11, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    ""I'm going to eliminate every non-essential expensive program I can find. "

    Guess how the GOP/Teatrolls define "non-essential." Go ahead....guess....

    July 11, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. Steve

    At least Mitt Romney had the guts to tell what he would do, not pander with a lot of garbage just to get applause! Unlike another candidate.

    July 11, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Saul

    The NAACP has done so much for the black community. They have over 14% unemployment and single parenthood is rampant. Blacks make us 12% of the population and constitute 70% of our federal prison population. If there was any real leadership there they would turn things around but other ethnic groups due to pride & hard work are making the difference in America. Blacks are stuck in past and going nowhere as a whole which is bad for our country.

    July 11, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. VIEWYSCREW

    anagram_kid – even though it did not answer my question, thank you for a response. We should never settle for an adequate President but that just seems to be the norm. In my nearly sixty years of existance most of our Presidents have been only adequate, some have also been inadequate. I used the lessor of the evils in my post.

    Calling someone a flip-flopper does not identify the issues; it's just name calling. Romney has changed his views over the years but that's what we do as we grow. All politicians flip-flop ALWAYS! I'd like someone to answer my original question. Any takers?

    VIEWYSCREW queried, “Can anyone tell me something specific about the positions Mitt Romney has taken on issues that would prevent him from being an adequate President? Something other than wanting to repeal "Obamacare". Anyone?”
    --––

    First of all why would we settle for ‘adequate’ when we have a great president already? Secondly, it does not matter what Gov. Romney states he will do or what his policies are as his positions change with notable frequency.

    July 11, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. RiadaKram

    No way! White guy booed by blacks? Say it ain't so!!!

    July 11, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. tayllor1234

    This makes want to vote for Mr. Romney even more so then yesterday.

    July 11, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. steven harnack

    A poll of Chamber of Commerce members also found that 75% of it's members thought that President Obama was born in Kenya and came to America to be the Anti-Christ. Citing the Chamber of Commerce is akin to citing Rush Limbaugh.

    July 11, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. truth

    what would CNN's headline read if Obama was boo'd at a "white" event?

    July 11, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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