Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Mitt Romney Booed at NAACP Over Obamacare

Mitt Romney was booed Wednesday at the NAACP conference for promising to repeal the president's signature health care reform law, bringing him to an awkward halt in the middle of an otherwise civilly-received pitch for black voters.

It was an awkward moment that forced him to go off script, after giving a somewhat pained smile as the booing continued.

"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 --" Romney said before being interrupted for about 15 seconds.

"You know, there was a survey of the Chamber of Commerce -- they carried out a survey of their members, about 1,500 surveyed, and uh, they asked them what effect Obamacare would have on their plans, and three-quarters of them said it made them less likely to hire people," he said when the booing stopped. "So I say, again, that if our priority is jobs, and that's my priority, that's something I'd change and replace."

Romney wasn't entering a crowd that was likely to be convinced: a vast majority of black voters went for President Barack Obama in 2008. Still, Romney made an attempt at the Houston conference to tout his policies and say they would better serve the black community on education, unemployment and traditional marriage.Blacks are widely expected to back Obama, the first African-American president, in November, but the crucial question in a neck-and-neck race is whether Romney can lure enough black voters to make a difference in swing states like Florida and North Carolina.

McCain won a dismal five percent of the black vote, and Romney is aiming to bring the figure closer to the 11 percent that George W. Bush won in 2004.

His address to the NAACP can be seen as an effort to make Romney, a multimillionaire former businessman and investor with a reputation of not connecting with everyday voters, appear more attractive to a diverse electorate.

He has a daunting task. Republican-led efforts in several states to require voters to present government-issued ID at polling booths is seen as having a disproportionate effect on minorities and the poor, who vote more Democratic.

And he wants Bush-era tax cuts extended for all Americans including the rich, a position that might not sit well with working class voters.

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