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. Investment Advisor

    Really??? What a surprise!

    July 11, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. lifelong independent

    As a lifelong independent I vote for what is best for the Country as a whole. I voted for Bill Clinton then Bush, I did not vote for Obama. Why ? because it was at the time the best option for everyone not just me or my family. The last 4 years have been horrible for most of us because of all politicians lie and spend money they don’t have, Bush made bad choices but so has Obama. American politics comes down to who is the lesser of two evils. I do not agree with most of what Obama stands for nor do I agree with most of what Romney stands for , I was taught to get educated and get a job , My Father told me nothing is life is free, someone always has to pay for it . I am sick of the black-white thing , I am sick of the democrat –republican thing . It should be an AMERICAN THING, What is good for your county not just what you get.
    β€œMy fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
    John F. Kennedy

    July 11, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. SlackMeyer

    The good ol' "tolerance for me, but not for thee" crowd.

    July 11, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Tr1Xen

    ℝ𝕆𝕄ℕ𝔼𝕐 πŸšπŸ˜πŸ™πŸš!!

    July 11, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Sandy

    After Romney left the stage, he whispered to someone "you're making sure these folks don't get to vote, right?"

    July 11, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Tony Z

    Americans are up to listening for alternatives just saying Repeal is not an alternative. Lets work to fix the parts that need to be improved. Include changing the Congresses pension and healthcare programs to save America some money.

    If so called Obamacare is hurting job creation than explain how before he took office we were headed for a depression. He didn't raise taxes. Than explain this Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which contained the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.

    So if we want to debate lets lay out the facts.

    July 11, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC


    Mitt Romney is a brave man.
    Today, at the NAACP National Convention, he was honest.
    He spoke the truth. And, was booed.
    Romney lied to them. I would be that most of the audience had already heard Al Sharpton tell them about the survey that Romney cited by the conserative leaning Chamber of Commerce. The CoC has discredited their own survey as unscientific and biased because it was a poll on their web site, "check here", and not a random sample of business owners.

    July 11, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Jon Davis

    Health care reform is non-essential to Romney...because Romney can afford to buy any medical treatment available on Earth. Well, Romney needs, at least, two transplants: a brain and a heart, although technically the heart wouldn't be a transplant since Romney doesn't have a heart.

    July 11, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Calcommuter

    Specifics. We are getting tired of "I'm going to repeal Obamacare". Forgetting to finish the sentence, "I'm going to repeal Obamacare, which is based on the Massachusetts law I endorsed!!". Yes, you think Democrats are bad. We get that! But WHAT will you do about it? Just saying he doesnt like it with nothing to back it up makes him look vindictive and worse, holding an agenda he KNOWS the average American will not like, but Exxon will! If he had a plan and actually articulated the points, maybe he would be a possible choice. But he isnt.

    July 11, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Jimm


    Why can't you do healthcare reform and job creation?

    July 11, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Investment Advisor

    @Publius Novus...Hes talking increasing private sector jobs not gov't jobs which are supported by tax dollars.

    July 11, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. 1crusader

    It sounds like he used this audience, that the GOP figured would be pro- the health care act to endear himself with his own base.They probably expected the boos.He says he would repeal the president's plan, but what would he replace it with? He's running from his own plan, which is the president's plan; so the idea of coming up with a national plan is just bunk-especially since his party is dead set against it !

    July 11, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. CNN Loud Mouth

    What this nation needs is a good pandemic to break out, imperiling the health of millions of people, that could have been prevented with universal access to vaccines and preventative care. How silly would the healthcare haters look if that 30 million uninsured imperiled a large proportion of the population? Yeah, you saved a few thousand dollars a year, but your brother, sister, mother, father, son or daughter is with The Great Spirit. No on wants pandemic, everyone wants someone else to pay to prevent it.

    July 11, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. grace

    Did Romney think the NAACP didn't know the statistics?

    July 11, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    A sad day for the party when I took pride in voting for Reagan and am scared that Mitt might get into office. NOT the same party at all.

    July 11, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Don

    I'm not a Romney supporter but I have to admit it was the guttsiest thing he's done since announcing his run for president. And the right thing to do. That being said, policies matter.

    July 11, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. John

    Romney may be good at making money, but he is unable to empathize with the plight of those less fortunate....It is amazing that he gets any votes at all from lower/middle class working people....completely clueless.....

    July 11, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. on StreetWise

    Romney has nothing for the Middle Class... and a whole lot less for minorities.

    July 11, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. beevee

    It must be pretty obvious to Mr. Romeny that Afircan-Americans are not going to favor him in November, try as he may. Is the first NCAAP convention he ever spoke at in his political career? It seems like now he wants their votes.

    July 11, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. JB

    Wow, 90+ pct of the vote based on party alone – is it really because of all the things that the Dems have done for the black community? I think people of all races should look in the mirror. I believe we as a nation are in the prolific business of pointing at the speck in anothers eye – when we have a plank in our own. Republicans the party of the rich and white racists, Democrats the party of unity and hope, give me a break. Neither party is for the average American, unfortunately now politics is all about money and control. Not control of fixing America, control of getting more money.

    July 11, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. carly

    Romney is a clown but just doesn't seem to understand that. He is totally off message when it comes to the majority of Americans today.

    July 11, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. Pragmatic Conservative

    Hate, hate, hate, hate... that seems to be the extent of what the left wing has to offer these days. Articles about Romney on CNN always seem to have dozens of hate-filled posts based largely on misinformation spread about him by the Obama campaign. So, let's take a look at who we should trust... Obama promised a post-partisan presidency, yet he chose to exclude Republicans from any participation in his initial legislative efforts (unlike President Bush who worked closely with Ted Kennedy on education reform as soon as he took office). Obama promised a post-racial presidency, yet his campaign in focused entirely on dividing us based on race. Obama promised to fix the economy, yet all he has done is blame everyone else for the slowest recovery on record. Obama promised to abide by public financing for his first election, yet he opted out of the system as soon as he realized he could vastly outraise and outspend his opponent. Obama promised immigration reform, yet completely ignored the issue until the election heated up, only then making a token gesture to try to appease one constituency.

    Romney, on the other hand, has a strong track record of volunteerism (he didn't take a dime for running the Olympics or serving as Governor of MA, not to mention his long history of service in his church). Romney worked very well with a Democratic legislature when he was Governor. Romney has been successful in business (and he didin't outsource jobs as Obama claims, that is a demonstrable falsehood as pointed out by independent fact checkers). Which one of these men seem more worth of your trust... the one who has repeatedly broken his promises, or the one who has demonstrated a commitment to service. It shouldn't be that hard to choose, but I know most of the leftists trolling CNN's website won't be able to get beyond the DNC's talking points long enough to understand the truth.

    July 11, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    I love how good old Mitt stands up there and smiles while he is being booed. Yeah, he's in touch.

    July 11, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Larry L


    Did you know...

    After the SC ruling on ObamaTAX, businesses had employees coming up to bosses and asking:

    Now, my health care is free now, isn't it?

    Boy, did THEY get a surprise!

    You must be from a "red state"... Mitt Romney is proposing to repeal the current law and replace it with a law of exactly the same provisions – except no way to pay for it! The "free market" Romney is referring to is simply ridiculous in regards to healthcare. Individuals have no ability to measure the quality (and quantity) of heal services they receive. It's not like buying a car! When corporate leaders are asked to choose between real quality of healthcare and profits they will choose profits every, single time. Americans want all of the provisions of the current law – as known by Romney when he proposes the "new" law. The only way to pay for the provisions is to include everybody in the insurance pool. It's not politics it's math. Romney knows this is true because he invented the original plan!

    July 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. deedee

    this guy will not get specific on his "plans" if he even has any. the constant complaining about obama and what he has done is old, i want some details... what ARE Romney's plans? What is he replacing Obamacare with/ does he even have a plan...what is his tax reform plan? What exactly is his "plan' to create jobs.

    July 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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