Mitt Romney found himself on the receiving end of a loud chorus of boos when he promised to repeal health care reform during a speech before the NAACP.
"If our goal is jobs, we have to stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we take in every year. So to do that, 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, being interrupted by boos.
Romney otherwise encountered polite applause in his speech, which hit on themes of jobs and the economy -- mainstays of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's overall stump speech -- as well as education reform.
The former Massachusetts governor faced an uphill task politically in speaking before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), one of the most historic and well-established civil rights groups. President Barack Obama, as the nation's first black president, enjoys tremendous levels of support and enthusiasm from black voters, who helped propel Obama to office in 2008 in key swing states.
Romney joked about the fact that he's unlikely to win over many African American voters. "I appreciate the chance to speak first -- even before Vice President Biden gets his turn tomorrow," he said. "I just hope the Obama campaign won’t think you’re playing favorites."
But the speech, overall, was intended to portray his candidacy as one for all Americans, unified by a theme of improving the economy. Romney pledged to return to speak before the NAACP at its convention next year, should he be elected.
Romney also spoke with reverence toward the legacy of his father, Michigan Gov. George Romney, a Republican who broke with his party at times over the issue of civil rights.
"For every one of us a particular person comes to mind, someone who set a standard of conduct and made us better by their example. For me, that man is my father, George Romney," he said, detailing some of his father's work to advance civil rights.