One day after Mitt Romney was booed at the NAACP national convention in Houston, he enraged many African-Americans by saying that if black people want more “free stuff” from government, they should vote for President Barack Obama.
“I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this: if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy, more free stuff,” Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, said following a fund-raiser in Hamilton, Montana. “But don't forget nothing is really free.”
It wasn’t completely clear what Romney meant by “free stuff,” but some black Democrats suggested that Romney was race-baiting by using inflammatory "code" to shore-up his base, adding that Romney's tone toward African-Americans was decidedly different from the friendly tenor during his 25-minute speech to NAACP delegates.
“If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him,” Romney told the NAACP audience on Wednesday.
Romney isn’t the only high-profile Republican to insult African-Americans in the past 24 hours. Conservative blowhard Rush Limbaugh did everything possible to undermine whatever minimal goodwill the Romney campaign claimed to have made with African-American voters.
Limbaugh, the right-wing political flamethrower, is one of the many reasons that African-Americans are vehemently opposed to the Republican Party and why, when it comes to black Americans, the GOP is always trying to explain racist comments by members of its constituency.
In yet another racial affront to African-Americans, Limbaugh implied that the NAACP audience was ignorant, saying Romney’s speech to the NAACP on Wednesday was not well received because it was “over these people’s heads” and that the group booed Romney, who “sounded like Snow White with testicles,” because he’s white.
Even though Tara Wall, Romney’s black senior advisor, tried to play up the standing ovation for Romney from some NAACP delegates, Limbaugh has perhaps ruined anything positive that happened in the convention hall.
“This group [the NAACP] wants to hear about tax increases and bigger government to take care of people,” he said. “They don’t want to hear about self-reliance, they don’t want to hear about free enterprise. Free enterprise means you’ve gotta do it yourself. Free enterprise means it’s up to you. Free enterprise means you’re on your own. This group doesn’t want to hear that. I don’t think Romney got a single vote in here today.”
Limbaugh also claimed that President Barack Obama insulted the NAACP by sending Vice President Joe Biden instead.
“He’s confident they’ll boo Romney, simply because Romney’s white,” Limbaugh said. “He’s confident of that. But he knows that he’s gonna have hell to pay in private meetings with these people. He’s not gonna get anywhere near it. So what an insult. Here’s Obama sending Biden, not going himself.”
Biden, for his part, filled in for Obama on Thursday by telling NAACP delegates to support the nation’s first black president because Republican policies are detrimental to the black agenda.
“Close your eyes and imagine, imagine what the Romney Justice Department would look like,” Biden said. “Imagine who he’d recommend to be the attorney general or head of the civil rights division. Imagine what the Supreme Court will look like after four years of a Romney presidency.
“This election, in my view, is a fight for the heart and soul of America,” Biden said, adding of Republicans: “These guys aren’t bad guys, they just have a fundamentally different view.”
The White House said Obama had a "scheduling conflict" and could not attend the NAACP convention this week. Obama sent Biden to Houston in his place, but Obama has confirmed a keynote address to The National Urban League's national convention on July 25 in New Orleans.
Biden’s speech to the NAACP comes as two new national polls show Obama leading Romney, with one of the surveys highlighting the marriage gap.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll gives Obama the edge over Romney, 49 percent to 43 percent, while a Quinnipiac University poll shows the president’s advantage at 46 percent to 43 percent. The Quinnipiac survey shows married voters prefer Romney, 51 percent to 38 percent. But unmarried voters favor the president by 20 points, and single women support Obama 2-1 over Romney.
Obama campaign advisors are predicting an extremely close race in November, perhaps one of the closest presidential contests in history.
Meanwhile, Biden, who is considered a friend to the NAACP, rallied the troops and fired-up the faithful.
“Did you think we’d be fighting these battles again?” Biden said. “I didn’t think we’d be back,” Biden told the crowd. “I remember working with Republicans — and by the way, this ain’t your father’s Republican Party — on motor-voter, expanding the [voting] franchise. Some of these were Republican ideas. This is not the Republican Party’s view today, nor Romney’s. They see a different future in which voting is harder than easier.”