Mitt Romney is challenging Barack Obama for the presidency, and before the 2012 election, there are some things Black people should know about the Republican candidate. The 65-year-old former Massachusetts governor is a divisive figure—and not just because he’s a super-wealthy Mormon who once supported a state health care plan similar to the one that he and his party have blasted President Obama for implementing on the national level. As Nov. 6 approaches, we decided to make a list of five things Black folks should know about Mitt Romney.
1. Romney’s Not Doing So Hot With Black Voters
According to an August 2012 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Mitt Romney is getting zero percent of the Black vote. President Obama, meanwhile, is getting 94 percent. In the 2009 election, Obama captured 96 percent of the black vote.
2. Romney Got Booed by the NAACP—Then Accused Them of Wanting “Free Stuff”
In July 2012, after promising to repeal Obamacare, Mitt Romney was booed at an NAACP conference in Houston. Days later, speaking at a Montana fundraiser, he accused members of the venerable civil rights organization of wanting “more stuff from the government.” His remarks, as per Mediaite.com: “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.”
3. Romney Believes He Can Help Black People
At the same NAACP conference where he was booed, Romney said he’s a better choice for Black people than Obama. “If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him,” Romney said, according to the New York Times. He later told Fox News, “I expect to get black votes.”
4. Romney Lied—or At Least Misspoke—About His Father Marching With MLK
In a 2007 interview with “Meet the Press,” Mitt Romney said his father, former Michigan governor George Romney, “marched with Martin Luther King.” As it turns out, the elder Romney never did, though he was a staunch supporter of civil rights, and that puts him at odds with the Mormon Church, which banned blacks from attaining priesthood until 1978. Romney has denied lying, and he later told reporters that when he said he “saw” his father march with King, he meant it as a “figure of speech.”
5. Romney Struck Down Affirmative Action Laws In Massachusetts
According to the Huffington Post, Romney hasn’t talked much about affirmative action during the 2012 campaign, but based on his record as governor of Massachusetts, there’s reason to believe he’s not a supporter. On June 17, 2003, shortly after taking office, Romney eliminated the state Office of Affirmative Action, which had ensured that state agencies met hiring goals for minorities, veterans, and disabled people. Amid criticism, Romney established an advisory panel to examine the changes. He eventually let things return to the way they had been, though the existing policies weren’t formally reinstated until after he left office. In a 2008 interview with the Washington Post, he said attempted to explain his position, saying, “”I believe our nation is at its best when people are evaluated as individuals.” He added, “I do support encouraging inclusiveness and diversity, and I encourage the disclosure of the numbers of women and minorities in top positions of companies and government—not to impose a quota but to shine light on the situation.”
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