Romney gets credit for facing NAACP; but it was votes he was looking for

I feel bad, chuckling at the boos that Mitt Romney received when he told the NAACP crowd today that he was going to repeal Obamacare—did he have to use the Tea Party term?—and that, “If you want a president who will make things better in the African American Community, you are looking at him.”

After all, I’m the guy who’s always urging preachers who want converts to find audiences other than their choir. At my jam sessions, I often show a speech Jimmy Carter gave to a group of lawyers in which he more or less called them a bunch of racists.

And I urge speechwriters to urge their speakers to address their enemies—or at least face people other than their base—and put their rhetoric to work to change minds.

So I should be giving Mitt Romney credit for accepting the invitation from the NAACP to speak at the national convention. And I do give him credit. I can’t remember the last time President Obama waded into such a rough room—or the last time any big-time candidate did so.

But credit from me—or from members of the NAACP—wasn’t what Romney was looking for. Votes were what he was looking for.

“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,” read Romney’s prepared remarks.

What? If you find it impossible to communicate who you are, and what you believe is the real, enduring best interest of American families—then you probably have no business speaking to the NAACP.

Woody Allen said 80 percent of success is just showing up. He didn’t say 100 percent. —DM

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