In an otherwise politely received speech delivered today at the NAACP's annual convention in Houston, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney drew sustained boos when he pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
"I am going to eliminate every nonessential, expensive program that I can find, and that includes Obamacare," he said, with a deer-in-the-headlights look on his face when the jeers began.
Romney's remarks included many of the points in his standard stump speech, including calls for smaller government, school choice and lowering the nation's stubbornly high unemployment rate. But he also sought to provide examples of how as president he would target areas of concern to African-Americans who, as he noted, are experiencing a higher level of unemployment than in June.
"If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him. You take a look," he said.
In a not-too-subtle dig at President Obama, Romney said that if anyone had imagined five or six decades ago that the 44th president would be an African-American, they also would have assumed that the White House "would be the last door of opportunity to be opened."
"Of course, it hasn't happened that way. Many barriers remain. Old inequities persist," Romney said. "In some ways, the challenges are even more complicated than before."
Romney also tried to show that his appearance at the conference was not to pay lip service to African-Americans but to start an ongoing conversation.
"I can't promise that you and I will agree on every issue. But I do promise that your hospitality to me today will be returned. We will know one another, and work to common purposes," he said. "I will seek your counsel. And if I am elected president, and you invite me to next year's convention, I would count it as a privilege, and my answer will be yes."
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(Photo: REUTERS/Richard Carson)