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. Doug from Seattle

    Gutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Health Care Act; and raising the federal income tax on those of us that are least able to pay them to cover the cost of more tax cuts for the wealthy and increased military spending is not my idea of a sound fiscal policy!

    Capitalism is based on both supply and demand! Our economy will continue to falter so long as the Republican's continue to insist on policies that impoverish the middle class, stifling much needed demand in the market place!

    July 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    I can not wait until the debates began......if Mittens remained silent for 15 seconds how many seconds will he remain silent when in front of President Barack Obama

    July 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. James

    The NAACP would boo most of America who Obamacare repealed too.....

    July 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Michael

    I think ObamaCares! ObamaCares! ObamaCares and RomneyScares! RomneyScares! the average American with his extremist rightwingnut, Rush Limpbaugh philosophy and political conservatism! I'd take the NAACP political views on national policy before I consider repuglican views tailored for the rich, by the rich and because of the rich! Romney is not out of "touch" He's "out of his mind" living on fantasy Island with all his recipients of trillions of coporate welfare (the socalled needy(greedy) he is really concerned about)

    July 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Oliver

    Vote Mitt Romney for more minimum wage jobs, fewer workers rights, no health care, inequality in pay for women and huge tax breaks for...Mitt Romney.

    July 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. cgs

    If a black man was booed by an audience of white people the whites would be called racist.

    July 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. marisombra

    Obama was booed too so what's the point?

    July 11, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    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.
    Really?!? Do you forget he implemented universal healthcare first?

    July 11, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. el flaco

    The aristocratic Romney cannot imagine the predicament of a single-mom with an autistic child.

    July 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Eddie The Barber

    This shows just how stupid Flipp Romney and his handlers are. That was like going to an Americian Federation of Labor – Congress of Insustrial Organization (AFL-CIO) union convention and saying that he's going to abolish unions (which he secretly wants to do). It also shows that he's out of touch with the "non-wealthy", with the lower and middle class and he will never never ever ever get it.

    If what you want is a president who is totally committed to protecting the wealth of the rich – Flipp Romney is your man – but if you're part of the sub-classes (as I am) and you cut your own grass (if you have a lawn) and change your own oil (if you have a car) and you work 40 hours a week (if you're fortunate enough to have a job after what Cheney/Bush did to this country, then this my friends in not the person you want as your president. When are you country music listening, Fox News watching, NASCA fans going to get it through your heads that the Republicans have been pulling the wool over your eyes for many years now. They have been and continue to be the party of the well to do and they've dupped you into believing they are on your side – but they don't even know or care who you are unless you "serve" them.

    July 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. Larry L


    The good ol' "tolerance for me, but not for thee" crowd.
    I recall the NASCAR crowd booing Michelle Obama (two times) when she was at an event to promote programs for Wounded Warriors. Disagreement with Romney for wanting to repeal the healthcare law is not the same as pure racism. Remember the Tea Party rallies signs and slogans?

    July 11, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    of course there are some that will pull the so-called "RACE CARD" here saying Blacks only support Obama because he's one of them. Well I recall in 2008 John McCain addressed the NAACP and he was NOT booed, in fact he was treated rather warmly. For some reason though Sarah Palin never did address a minority audience. I wonder why.

    July 11, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Norma Vessels

    Mitt Romney is not right for America's President. He's corporation, knows nothing else. I don't want America run as a corporation .. it's much more than that. Americans are people with wants and needs and they need someone who can help them prosper and grow .. with honor. So many aspects to what makes we Americans tick, so many differences. There is no one solution, but many. Mitt Romney only knows one solution. President Obama knows many solutions .. and with all these solutions he has put in place, America is coming back to prosperity .. slowly, yes, but surely.

    July 11, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. MRM

    That's racist. You know had Obama been booed by whites we would have bus boycotts.

    July 11, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Four and The Door

    I love how good old Mitt stands up there and smiles while he is being booed. Yeah, he's in touch.
    I am proud of the resilience Mitt Romney has shown in this campaign. People don't like to hear the truth especially when they can get all the promises and warm and fuzzies from Obama all day. We see that's worthless. Someone does need to stand up for what they know is right. And I am sure Republicans are proud of Mitt Romney staying on-message.

    July 11, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    @ Ben

    Michelle Obama was booed at a NASCAR rally so I guess that was pretty classy as well

    July 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Andre

    Why are people convinced this has anything to do with racism? The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (yes, that's what NAACP stands for) is dedicated to helping our embattled communities gain an alternative to their current conditions. Some of you who have grown up in "the hood" under struggling conditions (I was one of the lucky few who had a single parent that made decent money) understand the mission of the NAACP, and also understand why we typically identify with the Democratic party, who seeks to help ALL Americans, not just those who grew up in suburbia and had an advantage of better schools, funding for college, and better conditions overall. Mitt Romney essentially threw every NAACP member's beliefs back into their faces with his comments. His point about the Chamber of Commerce is indeed a valid one; you cannot deny that a person's beliefs are their own entitlement. My point is, how many people have actually read the full Law? Do we accept the media perspective and stop seeking to educate ourselves on one of the defining Laws of this century? His rhetoric is based on a political stance, and the details have been disseminated in a very generalized manner; the Republican spin machine has been in place since the Law was first drafted. Nothing about this Law infringes on civil liberties in any manner. YOU DON'T have to have health insurance if you cannot afford it (if your premiums total more than 8% of your gross income), and you will not be penalized if you can't afford it.

    The problem is younger people like my 28 year-old self who (in my case that changed since I started my new job) go without health insurance because we don't feel we need it. I actually don't need health insurance for preventative care or ambulatory care because I'm a veteran, but I do not want to pay a (at it's peak) 2.5% tax every year so it makes sense to buy into an insurance plan that will cost me about 1.5% gross a year.

    It's always been said that competition is the best price control you can find, and that's another provision the PPACA seeks to encourage; even Republicans would have to agree that state Interchanges (like the MassConnector system in Mass) have always driven down prices, and in theory competition and increased consumption should drive down insurance prices. In some cases this does not happen, because insurance companies have to please their stockholders too; to combat this there is a 40% excise tax on policies that charge too much. Read some of the details and I think folks would find this to be quite a comprehensive and thorough analysis of necessary improvements to the healthcare system.

    July 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Mad Sam

    I dislike and often disagree with Romney, but I would not be a savage by drowning out his voice with my own.


    July 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. thetruthandnothingbutthetruth

    why so focused on obamacare mittens? so many other probs in america....FORWARD!

    July 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. victorsthoughts

    In reply to "Anonymous" comment about Mr. Romney smiling while being booed:

    He handled it as well as could be expected. He responded instead of ignoring it, and in a classy way. Is he supposed to speak out in anger at the boos? He did well.

    July 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Lisa P

    '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 higher people." '

    I think CNN needs to *hire* a new copy editor.

    As for content: Wow! Almost 1200 anonymous members of a Republican-leaning pro-business (and we mean Big Business here, not the Mom-and-Pop stuff that actually employs most of the country) lobbying group came up with the politically correct, self-serving answer when asked an ideologically leading question. Impressive! Not. And what makes Romney think that many many members of the NAACP aren't in a position to hire people, and can't figure out for themselves if ACA will help or harm their businesses? Since when do clueless billionaires know anything about how to get the most out of a dollar? Romney flushes more money down the drain in a year than most of us will ever see in our whole lifetimes. He can afford lazy thinking and pie-in-the-sky fantasy some-day healthcare reform "solutions"; the rest of us can't. ACA works well enough for now. Next step is to figure out how to make it better.

    July 11, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. PHIL TJ

    To American, this guy Mitt is too phony.

    July 11, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Brad

    So the one time Romney actually goes off script to defend his policies he uses a discredited non-scientific online poll as his main argument. He has no business getting elected to any office, much less the presidency.

    July 11, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. john

    I dont have health insurance now. I have no health insurane in the last five years. I make 26k a year, and my root canal is killing me. I am lucky to hold a job. I hope Obamacare will assist someone like me.

    July 11, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Dale Larsen

    So lets take note conservatives,


    Like everyone does, but for some reason, conservatives have a problem understanding that part.

    July 11, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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