July 11th, 2012
11:56 AM ET
8 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. Jaime

    What a bs bag of hot air. Can Mr"I believe in America" not only put his money where his mouth is IN AMERICA and not foreign countries. Such a hypocrite.

    Also can he do anything other than just oppose what the President has done or wants to do. He NEVER offers or outlines anything as an alternative. He just opposes and as an empty box offers nothing but words and opposition. NOTHING positive, not contributing any alternatives.
    Put your money where your mouth is, Mitt....
    show your actions match your words – present your tax returns. You are Hiding something amigo, the more you delay and the more you protest the MORE is is believed you are hiding and/or ashamed.

    What joke....

    July 11, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. asdf

    romney's going to make medical care so awesome and so cheap it will be as terrible and expensive as it was 4 years ago!

    July 11, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. mike

    Majority of them are on food stamps and disability don't want to work. Why did he even try they are Obama lovers because he gives them free stuff food stamps etc. They see Romney as taking away their free stuff. They should take after the Jews they didn't sit around crying over every little thing and always blame other people they actually got JOBS.

    July 11, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. T. E. Lawrence O. A.


    EXACTLY What kind of meaningful interaction with the Black Community has Romney had these past decades?

    As 'Service Providers' (servants)? Business Peers? Colleagues? OR merely "Those People"?

    July 11, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    @Four and The Door

    Larry L
    @Four and The Door

    "But where do you see me or Mitt Romney disagreeing with the individual mandate? I also think it is necessary, but it is the many other parts of the ACA that don't make sense both financially and with quality of care. We can do better."
    Mitt Romney has repeatedly referred to the "socialist" aspect of the law – talking points with every conservative on earth. Since Romney's vision for a replacement law specifically includes the really costly provisions of the current law, and the only real difference he's noted is his use of the "free market" and "unspecified spending cuts", his position against the mandate is clear. The preventive health aspects of the law seem unpopular with conservatives but have no opponents in the healthcare community. Certainly the "best practices' provision of the law will reduce costs and improve care. That can't be the problem....It sounds to me like you all only object to Obama's name associated with the law.

    July 11, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Lenny Pincus

    Some excellent use of teleprompters by Willard Mitt. Ohh, he did go off script to quote The Chamber of Commerce. Why not Drudge or Breitbart?

    July 11, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Mikey

    @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."
    So you are saying that black people, as a whole are "hateful and dependent". Nice negative sweeping generalization, which of course, is completely wrong. This makes my suspect that the "hateful" part is a projection on your part. Further, what exactly has "The Obama" done to make them "hateful and dependent".

    Like a lot of the Obama hating out there, it appears the problem is your own personal one, not the President's.

    July 11, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. nolimits3333

    Romney is a pathetic puppet.

    July 11, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. mike

    They are booing because they want Obamacare it's another free item they have. Food stamps, disability, welfare, now obamacare. They don't pay for only people that work pa for it. They get it subsidized for free. So yeah they are booing they could care less. It doesn't cost them a penny.

    July 11, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. bob johnson

    good thing african-american unemployment rose to 14.4% while the national average is 8%. didn't your prez promise to lower african-american unemployment rates...?

    July 11, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    I give Romney credit for having the plums to even speak there in the 1st place
    Yes. Perfunctory though it was.
    President Obama, on the other hand, must've had coconuts when he walked into the Republican lair early in his presidency and "read" them like a school book.
    Yeah, see Bo run. Run Bo! Run! LOL!

    July 11, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Al Sharpton

    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.

    Yes, and it is all the white man's fault as they haz opressed me and my race. Don't axe me to do anything for myselfs because you owe me. I expect full government benefits and favoritism forever in compensation. Obama is my man with the plan to give his own what they deserve.

    July 11, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. RiadaKram

    I'm quite surprised that members of the NAACP booed Romney. Why, they are a veritable bastion of fairness, moderation, discretion, and thoughtfulness with a total lack of bias intentions. I really don't understand how this could happen. Although, the same thing does happen at KKK rallies. I wonder what the commonalities are?

    July 11, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. Nettie Christine

    Willy should have laid it all on the line and said he would work to repeal the Civil Rights Act. You know that bunch would like nothing more.

    July 11, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Luke,AZ

    Gov Robme is not made of presidential material. He's a rich guy that thinks he can buy the presidency. This election is about the poor and middle class having a voice or the wealthy making up the rules to fit their agenda. President Obama has fought every day for the citizens of this country. He deserves 4 more years.

    July 11, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Ambrose Smith

    Romney didn't want to be there. He had to do it and he is so glad it is OVER!

    July 11, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Chris

    NAACP claims to stand for Equality and Racial Discrimination.. But it looks like NAACP are the RACIST againsts Non-blacks. They only support Black man because of skin color like Obama irregarless if the man stands against traditional marriage and supports abortion. RACISM from Black to Non-Blacks.. Cheek to Cheek...

    July 11, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. southernwonder

    let the record show that romney has created more jobs for black americans in masssachusets than obama has nationally in proportionate terms in the 4 years of office which both have had. that would be a real comparison for the blacks..

    July 11, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. Melvin Painter

    They must have bussed these people in from Chicago, you know, one of the murder capitals of the world.

    July 11, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Tom B

    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.

    That's right! How foolish to go into the belly of an organization whose chief aim is to keep blacks sucking at the teat of the state, so that they remain the wards of the Welfare State and the babysat victims of the Police State. Don't tell such people that strong families, private charity and initiative, and limited government constitute a recipe for good politics and relative prosperity. Most blacks evidently only hope to increase the role of a state committed to feeding and containing them as supperfluous human flesh in the ghetto; lacking the imagination necessary to forge their own future, they would rather receive a rather dismal security in the form of an abysmal public assistance.

    July 11, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Mike W

    I think he handled it quite well. He waited and listened to them react then he added a reason why he wants to end it. No problem with the way he dealt with that at all in fact I thought it was genuine and thoughtful to hear them out.

    July 11, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Romney is a pathetic puppet."

    But you can tell....he desperately wants to be a real boy.

    July 11, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Dave

    Romney can do this. If it were Obama, he would have to stick to the teleprompter!

    July 11, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. AJ

    Mitt wanted to get booed, the right wing nuts will donate even more now.

    July 11, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. Darrell

    I am still waiting for these solutions that Romney and all the Republicans must have up their sleeve to continually bash Obama's healthcare direction. What is their plan? Saying you will repeal it means nothing if you have nothing to put in it's place. No matter what they think, the previous system was flawed...heavily...and needed to be re-worked. While Obama's plan is not perfect (nothing rarely is) it is a stepping stone, a starting point. Without it we're back to where we were which was not in a very good place to say the least.

    July 11, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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