“This is an honor to address you and one I had not expected,” he told them. “I am running for president because I know that my policies and vision will help hundreds of millions of middle-class Americans of all races, will lift people from poverty, and will help prevent people from becoming poor,” Romney said. “My campaign is about helping the people who need help. The course the president has set has not done that — and will not do that. My course will.”
Excerpts from Romney Speech to NAACP –
“I say again, if our priority is jobs, and that’s my priority, that’s something I’d change,” Romney said, referring to a study indicating that the healthcare law makes employers less likely to hire.
“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,” the presumptive GOP nominee said. “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.”
The campaign is hoping that the 14.4 percent unemployment among African-Americans — well above the national average of 8.2 — will make them more amenable to Romney’s argument. The former Massachusetts governor told the group that Obama’s economic policies are creating similar barriers to those that civil rights activists fought hard to remove.
“If someone had told us in the 1950s or ’60s that a black citizen would serve as the 44th president, we would have been proud and many would have been surprised,” Romney said. “Picturing that day, we might have assumed that the American presidency would be the very last door of opportunity to be opened. Before that came to pass, every other barrier on the path to equal opportunity would surely have to come down.
“Of course, it hasn’t happened quite that way. Many barriers remain. Old inequities persist. In some ways, the challenges are even more complicated than before. And across America — and even within your own ranks — there are serious, honest debates about the way forward.”
He acknowledged the “venerable” status of the NAACP several times in his speech, and referred to the history of the organization.