Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today addressed the 103rd annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Houston, and major media outlets are making much of the booing he received there.
“Now, as you may have heard from my opponent, I am also a believer in the free-enterprise system. I believe it can bring change where so many well-meaning government programs have failed. I’ve never heard anyone look around an impoverished neighborhood and say, ‘You know, there’s just too much free enterprise around here. Too many shops, too many jobs, too many people putting money in the bank.’ What you hear, of course, is how do we bring in jobs? How do we make good, honest employers want to move in, stay in? And with the shape the economy is in today, we’re asking that question more and more. Free enterprise is still the greatest force for upward mobility, economic security, and the expansion of the middle class. We have seen in recent years what it’s like to have less free enterprise. As president, I will show the good things that can happen when we have more free enterprise – more business activity, more jobs, more opportunity, more paychecks, more savings accounts. On Day One, I will begin turning this economy around with a plan for the middle class. And I don’t just mean for those who are middle class now – I also mean for those who have waited so long for their chance to join the middle class.”
“We are pleased that Governor Romney addressed our convention today,” NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock said in a statement issued after the speech. “This morning Governor 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, formerly of Alameda, agreed that “(w)hile we are glad that Governor Romney recognized the power of the black electorate, he laid out an agenda that was antithetical to many of our interests. His criticism of the Affordable Care Act – legislation that will improve access to quality health care for millions – signals his fundamental misunderstanding of the needs of many African Americans.”