HOUSTON — The audience at the NAACP National Conference booed Mitt Romney several times during his speech in Houston, Texas, Wednesday morning, but that type of superficial rejection won't keep the Republican presidential candidate from achieving his overarching goals in speaking to the African-American advocacy group.
The Blaze's Jason Howerton reported, "(Romney's) reception was lukewarm and paled in comparison to the welcoming Attorney General Eric Holder received on Tuesday. Romney was booed emphatically after saying he would repeal Obamacare. He quickly backtracked and said he would replace the health care law with something else that also covered children with pre-existing conditions and cited a survey that indicated that Obamacare would be harmful to small businesses. He was booed a second time when he criticized President Obama for not doing enough to create jobs."
Howerton's account shares much in common with what Associated Press reporter Kasie Hunt wrote: "Romney was greeted with boos from attendees at the NAACP's annual meeting Wednesday in Houston when he pledged to repeal 'Obamacare.' Romney was heckled at another point in the speech when he criticized Obama."
President Obama garnered the support of 95 percent of African-American voters in the 2008 general election. Against that backdrop, Yahoo political blogger Holly Bailey contextualized Romney's motivation for addressing the NAACP conference. "While Romney does not expect to win the black vote, the Republican nominee's NAACP speech was aimed at showing he's at least trying," Bailey wrote. "As he regularly does on the campaign trail, Romney cited his experience as governor of Massachusetts to prove he hasn't led by 'just talking to Republicans' and that he'll be an inclusive president."
The Christian Science Monitor's Peter Grier went one step further, arguing that Romney's speech to the NAACP may well have been an attempt to reach out to a demographic that wasn't even present Wednesday. "Romney may not win many minority votes. But that’s not the whole point," Grier mused. "There are substantial numbers of white voters who may be reluctant to support a presidential candidate who appears uninterested in reaching out to blacks. In that context, Romney’s appearance before the NAACP could be an attempt to appeal to moderates and soften his image."
While the crowd booed Romney at points during the speech, he also garnered applause for statements regarding charter schools, traditional marriage, families and the Keystone Pipeline. He was given a standing ovation after his speech concluded.