Mitt Romney was booed Wednesday at the NAACP conference for promising to repeal the president's signature health care reform law, bringing him to an awkward halt in the middle of an otherwise civilly-received pitch for black voters.
It was an awkward moment that forced him to go off script, after giving a somewhat pained smile as the booing continued.
"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 before being interrupted for about 15 seconds.
"You know, there was a survey of the Chamber of Commerce -- they carried out a survey of their members, about 1,500 surveyed, and uh, they asked them what effect Obamacare would have on their plans, and three-quarters of them said it made them less likely to hire people," he said when the booing stopped. "So I say, again, that if our priority is jobs, and that's my priority, that's something I'd change and replace."
Romney wasn't entering a crowd that was likely to be convinced: a vast majority of black voters went for President Barack Obama in 2008. Still, Romney made an attempt at the Houston conference to tout his policies and say they would better serve the black community on education, unemployment and traditional marriage.
For the most part, the audience was quiet and polite, applauding at points and listening to his pitch. He explained why he made the appearance by saying he understands the importance of all Americans.
"With 90 percent of African Americans voting for Democrats, some of you may wonder why a Republican would bother to campaign in the African-American community, and to address the NAACP," Romney said. "Of course, one reason is that I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed or sexual orientation, from the poorest to the richest and everyone in between."