Mitt Romney, Hamilton Montana, July 11, 2012
Remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy—more free stuff. But don't forget, nothing is really free.
This was said after he left yesterday's NAACP meeting. It was said at a fundraiser. Fuller context was provided by Greta Van Sustern via Mediaite
, and I have to say, it doesn't get much better:
“By the way, I had the privelege of speaking today at the NAACP convention in Houston and I gave them the same speech I am giving you. I don’t give different speeches to different audiences alright. I gave them the same speech. When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren’t happy, I didn’t get the same response. That’s ok, I want people to know what I stand for and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that’s just fine. But 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. But don’t forget nothing is really free. it has to paid for by people in the private sector creating goods and services, and if people want jobs more than they want free stuff from government, then they are going to have to get government to be smaller. And if they don’t want to repeal Obamacare they are going to have to give me some other stuff they are thinking about cutting, but my list takes Obamacare off first and I have a lot of other things I am thinking of cutting.”
It should be noted here that Mitt actually DID
give a different speech yesterday
than those he gives on the campaign trail. His comments came AFTER his appearance to a crowd of people much more like himself, I am sure: Rich and mostly white. Mitt also made an appearance on Fox Business channel to talk to his pal, Neil Cavuto.
"I think we expected that," the Republican nominee tells Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto in an interview to air Wednesday night. (snip)
"I am going to give the same message to the NAACP that I give across the country which is that Obamacare is killing jobs, and if jobs is the priority, we are going to have to replace it with something that actually holds down healthcare costs, as opposed to something that causes more spending for the government and more spending for American families," he said. (snip)
"I spoke with a number African American leaders after the event and they said a lot of folks don't want to say they are not going to vote for Barack Obama but they are disappointed in his lack of policies to improve our schools, disappointed in urban policy, disappointed in the economy," he said. "While we disagree on some issues like Obamacare, a lot of issues we see eye to eye."
. Those African American leaders were people he bussed into the event:
Many of Romney’s claims were debunked by Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy and the Director of the Washington Bureau of the NAACP, Hilary Shelton who said that the only African Americans Romney met with after his speech were those that he brought with him. Mr. Shelton explained that Mitt Romney flew in his own African-American supporters who were not affiliated with the NAACP, in order to have some people in the crowd cheering for him.
Romney did not meet with any of the convention rank and file after his speech, and only met with the African-Americans that he planted in the crowd.
I don't even know where to begin with this entire debacle. There are some saying that he went there with full intention of insulting the members of the NAACP. Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, said on Hardball
, "he had a choice. He could come to talk to people in the room and the communities that they represent, or he could come there and try to send a signal somewhere else."
I couldn't agree more. If he went there expecting to get booed, then I would think it was a clear indication that he planned to antagonize the crowd, something Reverend Al Sharpton has suggested. HIs fundraiser comments seem to lend credence to that assumption.
Here is what I don't get. The NAACP describes itself as "..the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans."
Mitt Romney attends the oldest and largest civil rights organization annual convention and promptly tell them he wants them to give up the right to access affordable health care and decent public education. Mitt Romney walked into the NAACP convention and declared “If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him.”
(Side bar: Maybe someone should remind Romney what the President did for a living before he became President.)
He didn't mention how 25% of Blacks may very well be disenfranchised this election cycle due to GOP voter ID laws
. He supports those laws; the NAACP does not. Instead of trying to connect with the people of the organization and the civil rights work they do, he treated them like others
. He talked down to the attendees. He wasn't building bridges - he wasn't trying to understand why people still are struggling for equality. He didn't even try to identify... He walked in that room and told them how it is going to be. It was incredibly arrogant, completely out of touch. Most importantly, He failed to address civil rights, the main focus of this convention.
The NAACP released this statement on his appearance:
“This morning Governor Romney laid out his policy agenda for this nation. Unfortunately, much of his agenda is at odds with what the NAACP stands for – whether the issue is equal access to affordable health care, reforming our education system or the path forward on marriage equality. We appreciate that he was courageous and took the opportunity to speak with us directly.”
Romney knew what he was doing, he had to know. He went there to tell the *help* how it is going to be. As was indicated by pundits and leaders, being booed helps to galvanize the rabid right-wingers. His statement at the Montana Fundraiser is a clear indication that he didn't attend the NAACP Convention to garner support, he went there to tell people how it is gonna be when he's President. I don't think it is inappropriate to remind people that the Mormon church had a racial restriction policy until 1978. Mitt Romney was 31 when his Church had the revelation that this practice was wrong.
Mitt Romney lied when he said that this was the same speech he always gives. While it may be true that it was the same policy platform he stumps, this speech was different. Politico aptly states
: This has been a recurring feature of Romney's candidacy: if he can't please a constituency (whether it's the NAACP on "Obamacare" or conservative Iowans on "Romneycare"), then try to win points for character over his refusal to please them.
What Romney did yesterday was a slap in the face to all Americans -- particularly people of color. In return he's getting a hearty pat on the back
from his supporters. I cannot speak to the black experience, but I can speak to what I see as racism. This wasn't a dog whistle, this was a bullhorn.