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. John

    Dear Mitt,
    Please share how you will FIX the broken healthcare system in this country. While I'm don't think the ACA (aka Obamacare) is the solution, I believe that the ACA is an incremental improvement over the status quo. So promising to repeal the ACA without specifying an alternative is promising to take us backwards.

    July 11, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. RandyIA

    Gees with all the boos like that they must be racist.

    July 11, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC


    what would CNN's headline read if Obama was boo'd at a "white" event?
    Obama isn't arrogant enough to go a "white" event and tell them how he was going to take things away (public sector jobs and health care) with an air of confidence that says, "...whether you vote for me or not. Take or leave it."

    July 11, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Lorri

    I read one quote from a mayor that was there that said "black folks aren't..." No one should ever be for or against someone else because of the color of their skin – that's JUST what happened at the NAACP. Isn't that called RACISM?!?! If people would stop thinking and looking at their own skin color long enough to actually see who is doing more to help propel people to build a future for themselves that they can take pride in, NO MATTER THEIR COLOR instead of keeping themselves 'lumped' into their own self-preserved dependency maybe we could get somewhere in this country. That's why Obama got elected to begin with because even 'black folks' who didn't agree with his politics – sold out – and voted just to see a black president elected. The same way so many keep selling themselves out every day they don't step out of the past and work to rise above circumstances like so many of us try everyday to do. We have a right to life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness – the rest is up to us. I've been knocked down more times than I can count – but I will continue to get up ON MY OWN, and WILL NOT vote for someone who wants to keep an entire race of people dependent because he apparently doesn't think enough of them to expect more – and that's Obama for you – and 99% of the NAACP.

    July 11, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Granger

    Obama gets booed a great deal...CNN...where's the articles on that?

    July 11, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. LIKE-able...vs...Capable....

    Creating the enviroment for Amercia for once again to go for growth and create jobs and prosperity for all Americans is what Capable_Romney is capable to do....Like-able_Obama does not cut anymore.........

    July 11, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. Wake up people

    Actually a report came out yesterday that said there are more blacks in the workforce than ever. What did Robmey expect? He has lied on President Obama over and over. And we all know that mormons think our beautiful, brown skin that so many that don't have, is a curse.

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 11, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. JoeInNC

    Why does Romney waste his time on NAACP members? They aren"t going to vote for him anyway even though Obama has done nothing to improve their economic situation except make them more dependent on the government.

    July 11, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Hornacek

    They're weren't saying "boo", they were saying "boo-omney".

    July 11, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. Wake up people

    @Lorri...tell the same thing to the white people. Blacks have been voting white Presidents in office for years but now that we finally have a black President, many will not vote for him, simple because he's black. Don't try to flip the script on us.

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 11, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC


    Obama gets booed a great deal...CNN...where's the articles on that?
    You're right. Pres. Obama gets booed a lot at Romney campaign rallies when Romney speaks about him.

    July 11, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. funny

    Im no obama supporter but

    You can send money and weapons to foreign terrorist nations like Pakistan Saudi Arabia and Israel no one says a word

    You can let politicians line their pockets and bail out their bankster buddies with OUR cash and noone says a word

    But if you give everyone affordable healthcare and the sky is falling chicken little.

    Most politicians get affordable healthcare afforded by US that is. They dont want poor people getting anything they cant sleep on their piles of cash at night if they know some poor bastard has a dollar to his name.

    Politicians act like its social programs which are screwing us when actually its been their lavish lifestyle of living rich and keeping us on the tab which have done it.

    Lets put aside the fantasy that these two parties are different and realize both are in bed with the Banks and Corporations who funded their campaigns. They do not have our best interest in mind, have long since eviscerated the constitution and wiped their collective asses with the bill of rights.

    July 11, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Doug


    "That once great organization is nothing more than a hate group now. If you are not black – they hate you."

    You are 100% correct that this wonderful organization that has in the past played a part in making this a better nation for everyone is today just a hate group, but it is a partisan hate group, controlled by people like George Soros and others who think just like the Democrats who have had compete rule over our inner cities where they have been committing genocide against people of color for the last 4 decades.

    This group the NAACP hates eveyrone and anyone who is not a socialist, in fact people of color like Allen Keys and Herman Cain are hated even more so than whites because they pose a threat as to showing people of color how to be an individual who lives a life based upon love and truth rather than being a mindless clone who lives a life based upon hate and lies.

    The Democrats invented the klan, as bad as it was it is not close to their great society evil that they conduct against people of color today. White libs and their puppets just love it when 38 people, mostly black, are shot in one weekend in Chicago, that's why it is a moral obligation to vote Republican if you have any good in your heart.

    July 11, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Chipster

    "funny" makes a very good point: If Republicans hate government run health care programs so much, they can prove it by giving up theirs right now! And their big, fat pensions too!

    July 11, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. John Krizan

    After all the abuse, disrespect and rude interruptions our President has had to put up with since even before he took office, this pales in significance. Some of those who booed may well be racists. They exist on both sides of the racial divide. The point here is that many African Americans, as well as many Caucasions, Hispanics and others FAVOR the ACA and favor it heavily. While nothing of human origin is perfect, it beats the do nothing, so called "free market" approach of those who think that everyone surely must have a pair of those mythical boot straps to pull themselves up by.
    To those who claim religious objections to the ACA, bear this in mind: Christ condemned those who passed by the needy and only paid lip service to their condition. Our churches do a wonderful job meeting the needs that they can. The problem is, even at their very best, they can't handle the sheer volume that the government can and does. I don't believe in government telling churches what to do. Nor do I believe in churches telling or pressuring government in to doing something or not doing something.
    If we let the ACA play itself out, we might just find that it is a real blessing to us all.

    July 11, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. JoëlnMD

    Continue Moving Forward! VOTE: OBAMA | BIDEN 2012!

    July 11, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. msyellarose

    Did he honestly think that bad mouthing the president would go over well? Gotta admire the guy's stones for getting up there and trying it though. Best laugh I've had in a while.

    July 11, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Wannabe

    What trash to boo a presidential candidate? Stop blaming everyone else for your problems. The nanny state is over!

    July 11, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Kenny K

    @Rudy NYC


    what would CNN's headline read if Obama was boo'd at a "white" event?
    Obama isn't arrogant enough to go a "white" event and tell them how he was going to take things away (public sector jobs and health care) with an air of confidence that says, "...whether you vote for me or not. Take or leave it."

    It is like if Obama goes to a gathering of White farmers in Iowa or other midwest states and tell them that he is going to take all their farm subsidizes away.

    July 11, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Buckeye


    I have to say, it's refreshing to see so many GOPers/Teatrolls sto trying to hide their racism by just coming out and airing all the over-generalized assumptions and stereotypes upon which so much of their policy positions and perceptions of the issues in this country rests. Yes, we know, guys..."they're" all lazy and it's an insular community that wants one fo their own in the WH so he can give them all special treatment blah blah blah.....

    Now, go take your afternoon meds. It's nap time.

    Couldn't agree more. These low-order thinkers should just come clean about being racist. Too bad I don't fit their stereotype since I am gainfully employed with an MBA and would be paying more in taxes under the POTUS' tax plan. When I have my hand out, it's to depart with my hard earned money to purchase something. THAT is being a job creator.

    July 11, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. HenryMiller

    That's the Left for you–whining like spoiled brats if anyone dares mention that they ought to be paying their own way in the world.

    July 11, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "What trash to boo a presidential candidate? "

    YOU LIE.

    July 11, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Joshua Ludd

    So, health insurance for the poor and making sure policies for sick children can't be dropped is "non-essential"? Gee, Obamacare sure seemed essential when it was Romneycare. Hell, its the best thing Romney has ever done. What else do you expect from someone who was born wealthy and has said that rather than any of his five sons, who will never have to work a single day in their lives, serving in the military while two wars were going on, they were serving their country by working on his campaign.

    July 11, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. John

    Obama won more than 95% of the black vote in 2008 in large part because he was the first black presidential candidate.
    Romney should be commended for going to the NAACP and making his point. The unemployment rate for blacks is almost 15% and if you include those who have given up or are underemployed, about 25% of African Americans are in a very very bad spot when it comes to jobs. He wants to create a more business friendly climate so jobs can be created. He believes that will help lift African Americans into the middle class.

    As for the actual booing.. there were a few moments of booing, but he also received a couple dozen sustained applause lines. His father was a pro civil rights governor after all in the 1960's. This is not a guy from some racist backwater. His family has a long history of supporting civil rights.

    July 11, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Buckeye


    What trash to boo a presidential candidate? Stop blaming everyone else for your problems. The nanny state is over!

    That's what I tell all the tea party idiots in the red states. Glad you are finally seeing the light.
    You obviously "wannabe" educated. Go get your sheets.

    July 11, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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