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. J

    The crowd and African Americans in general seem to already have made up their minds regardless of what they believe when it comes to Obama. When 90% of a population has been saying, and for that matter has not changed, that they are going to vote for Obama then you know it's not about the issues.

    July 11, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. normajean @ verizon ,com

    When health insurance is called a "non-essential" by anyone who could be in position to do something about it.....we are in big trouble!!! That ,,,if nothing else tells me that it would be a disaster to have Romney as president!!! He couldn't care less that there are millions out there sick and dying for whom health care is "ESSENTIAL"......What ever happened to "Life,Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"??? Where is the beautiful country I grew up in??? The Repubs are working over time to destroy it!!!!!Heaven help us!!!!

    July 11, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. Pat

    Behiind Romney's smile when the boos start, is his belief that the big money will come through and buy him the presidency.

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

    I watched the speech it was very good. The people in the audience were rude. At least the man had had the integrity to reach out to the black community knowing he isn't going to get their vote.

    July 11, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. lolo

    Is Mitt for real? This mans ays from the survey Obamacare as he likes to call it will not create jobs. He needs to do his own research don't you think, especially if he is running for president he should not be depending on surveys for facts. I bet when he left he told his buddies, those black folks don't know anything about business talk, but trust this Mittens you will not get the black vote. You can not fool them with your stupid grin and lies. You are not ready to lead the United States, because you think it is your privelege to be president because you are rich. America wants to move forward and you are not the man for the job. You cower like a scared dog in a corner and we need someone who can stand tall.

    July 11, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Sheri Lee

    I noticed during he GOP when Romney was pushed on an issue he went off script. IT will be interesting a debate between him and Obama. My bet is Romney will be off script real good and its going to show.

    July 11, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. tellin it like it is

    >AJ - I guess Romney thinks that there is nothing wrong with Insurance companies charging a family 1500 dollars a >month when the family on makes 2000 dollars a month.

    if they are getting millions in medical coverage why not? do you expect this persons 3 neighbors to pay for their insurance? maybe if the person had stayed in scholl and gotten an education they would be making more than minimum wage. again, should his neighbors pay for his lack of education?

    July 11, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. American

    So why couldn't the headline be Romney gets applauses at the NAACP?

    July 11, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Andrew

    I give Romney credit for having the plums to even speak there in the 1st place.

    July 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    those of you who think President Obama would not have gotten the same treatment at an NRA convention I have some swampland here in Texas to sell you. His wife was booed at a NASCAR event and she's not even running so it goes with the territory.

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

    Mitt was the only one in the room who is working on Dr. King's dream rather than doing all you can to prevent it, I would expect him to be booed by those who live a life counter to Dr. King's goals.

    July 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. rs

    A rude response perhaps, but a dose of reality for the man with car-elevators in his California home.

    July 11, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. Doug

    If you want entitlements then vote Obama, if you want a job vote Romney. lol, as if there are Democrats who even want the later. All lib can say beyond hate and lies is gimme!

    July 11, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. CNNTom

    So we still a group in the United States promoting one race above all others. And this group gave him boos because he won't give them other people's money? That's the new America.

    July 11, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    This equestrian horse-breeding car elevator, offshore accounting, tax evading flip-flopping I don't care about the poor safety net elitist is out of touch with African-Americans and mainstreet America as a whole! By bye Mitt! Obama/Biden/Roberts 2012!

    July 11, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Joan

    Someone wrote that Romney speaking to the NAACP would be like President Obama speaking at a Tea Party convention. Are you kidding? At least Romney only got booed a bit and the rest of the time he was recieved quite politely considering what he was saying. Now, if that had been President Obama at a Tea Party event what do you think would have happened? Seriously. He would most likely have been heckled, booed and disrespected along with ignorant signs and t-shirts. That seems to be what the Tea Party has done best since the summer of 2010. Today's appearance by Romney probably helped to sew up the African-American vote.

    July 11, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. M. L. King

    Memo To NAACP:
    Blaming other people because you suck at life is not the way to get ahead in this world.

    July 11, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. Blue

    Mitt is arrogrant without shame and is heartless. What a joke. He is really scary and he would finish destroying our country. We will truly become a two class system: Rich and Poor.

    July 11, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. cgs

    CNN, your headline should have been, "Romney receives standing ovation" or at least, "Romney receives cheers, boos" from NAACP. Why so negative, CNN?

    July 11, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Christina

    Look out the republicans will do and say anything to get another one of their candidates into office. If Nixon were running again they'd vote for him saying " hes been pardoned!". Like it or not it is about money , power and control, also race does play a factor. To them President Obama has not been able to do anything right . There are many who spout against him based on misinformation gladly because he is black. To me he represents the Hated Samaritan, from the New Testament because he DOES the will of God out of compassion for a stranger ( passing health are for millions of uninsured ) while those who claim to know Gods word and laws best cross the road to avoid the man beaten robbed and lying in the ditch ( the American taxpayer) .

    July 11, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. Frank

    I, for one, say that you have to respect the man for getting up in front of what HE KNEW would be a hostile audience. But I think he was wasting his time because it's a fact of life that this group marches in lock step with the Dems, and they will ALL vote for their candidate.

    July 11, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. VIEWYSCREW

    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?

    July 11, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. Jules

    So Romney referenced the Chamber of Commerce, in the tank for the GOP, as to how it hurts African Americans. Anybody want to buy a bridge? If the Chamber says it, it is a GOP talking point.

    July 11, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. cali girl

    This made my day. I guess he has figured out that most Americans are for the ACA.

    July 11, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Russell

    Is Romney talking about the same Chamber of Commerce that told businesses to stop hiring so that the unemployment rate wouldn't go down so Obama could get the blame?

    July 11, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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