Entries in NAACP (6)


Rep. Allen West: That’s Racist! NAACP: No, It’s Not

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- No stranger to controversy, Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., wants to know where “the outrage” is after a Super PAC supporting his opponent in their congressional race put out a cartoonish ad Thursday that showed West punching two women.

West, who is black (the women in the video are white), appeared on Fox News earlier to ask why “Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton [and] the NAACP” had not stepped up to defend him.  Had it been a Democrat targeted in the ad, he said, there would have been “national outrage.”

As for the civil rights leaders, “They’re not going to say anything because they’re nothing but an effective wing of the Democrat[ic] Party,” West told Fox and Friends. “They have effectively kept them well placed so that they can continue to have a black electorate voting bloc.”

Hours later, the NAACP’s Hilary O. Shelton responded, telling The Huffington Post that the organization disagreed with the congressman’s assessment.

“It looks like a traditional, political, partisan commercial,” Shelton said. “The ad has him looking very well groomed, a serious look on his face and he’s wearing a suit. The only thing superimposed is a boxing glove as a symbolic analysis of his policies being inconsistent with the values of retirees, women and African-American families.

“I don’t see the symbolism in any way ingrained in stereotypes, whether it’s race or gender or ethnicity.”

The ad was paid for by the American Sunrise PAC, which is run, in part, by the father of West’s challenger, Patrick Murphy. In a statement Friday, Murphy’s campaign manager, Anthony Kusich, defended the content of the video but denied having any role in its production.

“It is telling that West does not dispute the votes cited in the ad,” Kusich wrote, “including his vote to dismantle Medicare, open up the prescription drug donut hole, and against women’s health care and insurance coverage. He even voted against the Violence Against Women Act.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden Tells NAACP Romney, Republicans Threaten Civil Rights

ABC News(HOUSTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden got a warm welcome today at the NAACP Convention in Houston, one day after rival Mitt Romney was booed during remarks before the same group. And while the vice president did not directly address treatment of the presumptive GOP nominee, he suggested the frosty reception was not misguided, warning that Romney and Republicans are threats to the group’s reason for existence.

“On civil rights, your raison d’etre, the reason for our existence,” Biden said, “I want to remind everybody of one thing: Remember, remember what this [organization], at its core, was all about… It was all about the franchise. It was about the right to vote. Because when you have the right to vote, you have the right to change things.”

“Did you think we’d be fighting these battles again?” he questioned, alluding to efforts by Republicans to impose more stringent voting requirements in states around the country.

“I didn’t think we’d be back. I remember working with Republicans — and by the way, this ain’t your father’s Republican Party — remember working with Republicans on motor-voter, on expanding the franchise on early voting, on voting by mail. Some of these were Republican ideas. But this is not the Republican Party here today, nor Romney’s."

“They see a different future, where voting is made harder, not easier,” he said, “where the Justice Department is even prohibited from challenging any of those efforts to suppress votes.”

“Folks, there’s a lot more to say, but this is preaching to the choir,” Biden concluded before the adoring crowd.

Biden used his address, billed as a campaign speech, to energize the African-American constituency that overwhelmingly backs Obama and Democrats and may play a crucial role in a handful of battleground states in November.

He offered a full-throated defense of the administration’s signature accomplishments, hailing the 2009 auto bailout as “not popular but it was critical”; the call to target Osama bin Laden as a “bold decision with profound risks;” and the health care law that “required [Obama] early on to use up all of his political capital” but which led to historic benefits for African-Americans.

The vice president also suggested there has been a conspiracy to obstruct Obama from the beginning of his term, citing the lack of Republican support for the Recovery Act, the health care law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the debt ceiling debate last summer.

“Their discipline is amazing. They have never let up. But neither has my guy, neither has Barack Obama,” he said. “He has not given up. He continues to be driven by the character of his convictions. Folks, in the end, that’s what the presidency is all about.”

President Obama, who had faced some criticism for not attending the convention, delivered a video message, telling NAACP members, “I stand on your shoulders. And at the NAACP you have always believed in the American promise, that idea that no matter who you are or what you look like or where you come from, America is the place where you can make it if you try.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Says It’s 'OK' He Got Booed, Defends His NAACP Speech

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(HAMILTON, Mont.) -- Addressing a private fundraiser Wednesday evening, Mitt Romney made reference to his speech to the NAACP in which he was booed several times by the crowd, telling supporters, “I don’t give different speeches to different audiences.”

“I gave the same same speech,” said Romney at the event, which was held at the Daly Mansion in Hamilton, Mont., and was open to a small group of reporters.  “When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren’t happy.”

The crowd in Houston earlier Wednesday held a sustained boo -- for about 15 seconds -- when Romney vowed to eliminate Obamacare, a program he called “expensive” and “non-essential.”

“That’s OK,” said Romney, of the response he received at the NAACP.  “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.”

Romney told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto earlier Wednesday that he had “expected” a negative response from the crowd.

Two of Romney’s policy advisers maintained, however, that the reception in the room was on the whole positive, noting that the applause pauses outnumbered those for boos and jeers.

Romney also used the captive audience to further criticize President Obama’s tax proposal.

“So when the president wants to raise taxes on individuals as he’s proposed from 35 percent to 40 percent he kills jobs,” Romney explained.

“If your priority is crushing people, vote for him.  If your priority is jobs, you’ve gotta vote for me,” he added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Campaign Says NAACP Speech Received ‘Positive Reception’ Despite Boos

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Mitt Romney’s address to the NAACP offended some in the audience who booed and said he “crossed the line” when he vowed to repeal “Obamacare” and lobbed insults at the president.  But the Romney campaign saw it differently, maintaining that the candidate received a “positive reception.”

That reception today included three consecutive boos – including a round of jeers that lasted 14 seconds in response to his vow to end “Obamacare.”  But he did receive a standing ovation at the end and a few people in the ballroom told ABC News that the GOP candidate made some legitimate points.

“When he went too far, they went too far,” said Patricia Kane, a NAACP member from Los Angeles, referring to Romney’s line in which he called the president’s health care law a “non-essential expensive program” he would eliminate if elected. “He crossed the line, so they responded.”

Kane, along with several other members of the audience, added that Romney’s remark that the president “has not” and “will not” and “cannot” do the things he promised to do when in office went “a little bit too far.”

“I don’t know that if Obama would go that far in an audience that is predominately supporting Mitt Romney,” said Kane.

But the Romney campaign, deploying two senior policy advisers to talk to the press following Romney’s speech, said they were “pleasantly surprised by the positive reception,” insisting that there were more applause breaks than there were boos. Several of his talking points did garner applause – albeit tepid – from the crowd.

“I think actually there was a lot more applause, he had a standing ovation at the end, there was a lot more applause than disagreement,” said Romney policy advisor Tara Wall. “Obviously there’s going to be some disagreement we understand folks aren’t going to agree with us 100 percent. But at the end of the day Gov. Romney’s message was bold, he said things that needed to be said he’s said what he’s always said about ending Obamacare and about bringing this economy back.”

Romney was booed a second time when he suggested the president had not fulfilled his promises while in office, and a third time when he said he’s the man who “will make things better in the African American community.”

Some said they found the booing disrespectful, and one independent female voter who asked that her name not be used said that she left the speech more inclined to vote for Romney, adding that she was “surprised” at the negative reaction Romney received.

When pressed about those in the audience who said Romney crossed the line in his speech, Romney advisor Wall responded, “I think again you may have been sitting in a different section than I was sitting in I heard overall general applause for a number of themes that this governor communicated.

“He wants to be president of all Americans and to be president of all Americans you have to say some tough things sometimes,” said Wall. “I’ll take three boos out of thunderous applause over and over again, I’ll take that.”

Challenged by a reporter who asked if she really heard “thunderous” applause from the crowd – who were far more reserved than the groups Romney traditionally addresses – Wall responded, “OK, applause.”

“In general, I think there was a lot more applause than there were boos.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NAACP Boos Romney as He Prods Obama

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages(HOUSTON) -- Mitt Romney was booed at the NAACP today as he tried to explain how the nation's first black president has failed the country and how he'd do better.

The first and loudest objection erupted as Romney told a two-thirds-full room that he would repeal President Obama's signature health care law if he's elected.

Romney told the country's most visible black group that he would cut spending by cutting "nonessential programs," and he said "that includes Obamacare."

The boos rang out for several seconds and echoed in the large ballroom in Houston. Romney paused and tried to recover by citing a Chamber of Commerce study that said most people surveyed said the health law makes them less likely to hire people. He continued to talk about Medicare and Social Security, and eventually earned minimal applause by talking about benefits for poor people.

"I believe he included that part of the speech intentionally," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said. "And I think the audience responded appropriately."

Reed, on a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee after Romney's speech, accused Romney of staging a "political stunt" and that was aimed more at Republicans who weren't in the room.

"He wasn't speaking to the NAACP audience at all," Reed said. "To his base it will make him look strong, but he never stands up to anybody else."

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter added that "black folks are not going to sit there and listen to some of that nonsense" and said that the episode was comparable to the optics of a video showing Romney speaking to black schoolchildren in Philadelphia.

"He's going through the motions. He's doing the things he thinks he needs to do. He's in a campaign. He's doing all kinds of stuff. You can't take any of this stuff seriously," Nutter said. "The guy is a joke. He's not for real. He's a character playing a role and virtually perpetrating fraud on the American public with a lot of this stuff."

Romney was booed another time in his speech as he derided Obama on energy, trade, the size of government, education and the economy. "The president will say he will do those things, but he will not, he cannot, and his record of the last four years proves it," Romney said as the crowd jeered.

Romney told the NAACP, "If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him." Some people clapped and some objected verbally. "You take a look," he added.

Tara Wall, a policy adviser to Romney, argued that Romney "received more applause than boos," including a standing ovation when the speech ended.

"If you want to count the handful of boos there were, I think we saw much more acceptance and applause of his speech a number of times," she said. "There was much more agreement over all from what I saw and heard."

Combining the last two ABC News polls to account for an adequate sample size of voters, blacks who are registered to vote prefer Obama over Romney by a staggering 96 percent to 3 percent.

Romney argued that as president he'd work with Democrats because when he was the governor of Massachusetts, he had to talk to Democrats just to get elected. "We don't count anybody out, and we sure don't make a habit of presuming anyone's support," he said.

His bottom-line pitch was that his "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."

In a statement, Obama spokeswoman Clo Ewing said Romney "refused to use the opportunity today to finally lay out a plan for improving health care or education in this country."

"African Americans can't afford Romney Economics," she said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Allen West Uninvited from NAACP Fundraiser

Alex Wong/Getty Images(MARTIN COUNTY, Fla.) -- The local NAACP chapter in Rep. Allen West’s South Florida district is distancing itself from its congressman, following West’s accusation earlier this month that 81 House Democrats are Communists.

The Martin County, Fla., branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People revoked their invitation for West to be the keynote speaker at the group’s annual fundraiser last Saturday, instead rescheduling the event, with a new speaker, for September.

“We don’t want to look like we support that statement he made,” the chapter’s President Rev. Jerry Gore told ABC News.

In response to a question at a town hall earlier this month, West said he believes “there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.”

He doubled down on the accusation last week, saying he does not regret the statement “whatsoever.”

Gore said that while he supports many of the things West does as a member of the Congress, as a non-partisan organization, the Martin County branch of the NAACP doesn't "want nothing to do with” West’s “communist” comments.

West’s Chief of Staff Jonathan Blyth said the Congressman saw the rescinded invite as a “missed opportunity.”

Gore said his group has not yet chosen a new keynote speaker for their fundraiser, which will now take place September 15, as the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers first reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio