Mitt Romney just completed his remarks to the annual NAACP convention in Houston.
The media will focus on the strong boos that greeted Romney’s pledge to repeal Obamacare, but the crowd was cordially welcoming and applauded quite a few lines. The audience gave him a standing ovation at its completion.
While it’s undoubtedly difficult for a Republican candidate to win over a significant portion of the African-American vote while running against the first African-American president, I think the speech was one of Romney’s best of the campaign, often articulating conservative principles. On Twitter, someone wondered if the tough crowd was somehow liberating to Romney and his speechwriters; with the odds of success so low, why not lay out one’s deepest principles, loudly and clearly, and let the chips fall where they may?
These are Romney’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Bishop Graves, for your generous introduction. Thanks also to President Ben Jealous and Chairman Roslyn Brock for the opportunity to be here this morning, and for your hospitality. It is an honor to address you.
I appreciate the chance to speak first – even before Vice President Biden gets his turn tomorrow. I just hope the Obama campaign won’t think you’re playing favorites.
You all know something of my background, and maybe you’ve wondered how any Republican ever becomes governor of Massachusetts in the first place. Well, in a state with 11 percent Republican registration, you don’t get there by just talking to Republicans. We have to make our case to every voter. We don’t count anybody out, and we sure don’t make a habit of presuming anyone’s support. Support is asked for and earned – and that’s why I’m here today.
With 90 percent of African-Americans voting for Democrats, some of you may wonder why a Republican would bother to campaign in the African American community, and to address the NAACP. Of course, one reason is that I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed or sexual orientation, from the poorest to the richest and everyone in between.
But there is another reason: I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African American families, you would vote for me for president. I want you to know that if I did not believe that my policies and my leadership would help families of color — and families of any color — more than the policies and leadership of President Obama, I would not be running for president.CONTINUES