Mayors Kasim Reed and Michael Nutter. (Photos from left: Moses Robinson/Getty Images, Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
The Democratic National Committee's rapid response team wasted little time lining up two of the nation's most prominent African-American mayors to review the speech Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered at the NAACP conference Wednesday morning.
Like the NAACP audience, Philadelphia's Michael Nutter and Atlanta's Kasim Reed reacted most strongly to Romney's pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which they said would adversely affect seven million African-Americans. The fact that he dared make such a declaration knowing the response it would elicit was particularly galling and evidence, said Reed, who went so far as to call it Romney's "Sister Souljah moment." (During the 1992 presidential race, candidate Bill Clinton garnered lots of press when he harshly criticized racially charged remarks made by Sister Souljah.)
"It makes [Romney] look like he's having character and integrity when he wasn't really speaking to the NAACP audience at all. He's aware of what's going on in Congress today, and those are the individuals who he was speaking to," Reed said, referring to the scheduled House vote to repeal the health-care reform law.
Reed also said that Romney does not stand up to or display " that kind of character, integrity or courage" when fellow conservatives Rush Limbaugh, musician Ted Nugent and others make highly controversial statements so the speech was a "stunt" and the NAACP audience's boos were "appropriate."
When a DNC staffer nervously stated that the party isn't encouraging anyone to boo the Republican candidate, Nutter said "he'll say what he says and he'll get what he gets."
"Look, he's a grown man; he's been around the block a couple of times. This is all for the optics. He's going through the motions," said the no-nonsense Nutter, citing a visit Romney made to a West Philadelphia charter school in May that was greeted by protesters. "The guy is a joke. He's not for real. He's a character playing a role and virtually perpetrating a fraud on the American people."
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