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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during his address to the NAACP's annual convention this morning in Houston. (AP)

Romney To NAACP: If You Knew My Heart, I Would Get Your Vote

Jul 11, 2012

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a campaign event last month in Sterling, Va.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People this morning that his policies would be good for all Americans and that those of President Obama have not helped the nation's poorest people.

And, he told delegates to the NAACP's annual convention in Houston, "if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African-American families, you would vote for me for president."

The former governor of Massachusetts drew some boos when he repeated his pledge to repeal "Obamacare," and some jeers when he said he could make things better for African-Americans. But overall, NPR's Don Gonyea reported from the scene, he was politely received.

Romney pledged to return to the organization's annual convention next year if he's elected.

Our original post and earlier updates:

Excerpts from the address that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney plans to give this morning at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's annual convention in Houston were just released by his campaign. Some highlights (we added bold to serve as reference points):

— "I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African-American families, you would vote for me for president."

— He got elected governor of Democrat-dominated Massachusetts by making his case "to every voter. We don't count anybody out, and we sure don't make a habit of presuming anyone's support. Support is asked for and earned — and that's why I'm here today."

— "I am running for president because I know that my 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. My campaign is about helping the people who need help. The course the president has set has not done that — and will not do that. My course will."

— "If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone. Instead, it's worse for African Americans in almost every way. ... Americans of every background are asking when this economy will finally recover — and you, in particular, are entitled to an answer."

— "If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, black families could send their sons and daughters to public schools that truly offer the hope of a better life. Instead, for generations, the African-American community has been waiting and waiting for that promise to be kept."

— "I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted."

— "Should I be elected president, I'll lead as I did when governor. I will look for support wherever there is good will and shared conviction. I will work with you to help our children attend better schools and help our economy create good jobs with better wages."

Romney is scheduled to start speaking around 10:30 a.m. ET. We'll watch for more news from his address. Later, our colleagues at It's All Politics plan to weigh in.

Vice President Biden is due to address the NAACP on Thursday.

Update at 11:06 a.m. ET. He Promises To Come Back:

He won't always agree with the NAACP, Romney says, but "your hospitality to me today will be returned. We will know one another." If he's elected president, adds the candidate, and he's invited to address the group again, "my answer will be yes."

President Obama, reports White House press corps unofficial historian Mark Knoller of CBS News, last attended the organization's annual convention in 2009.

Update at 11 a.m. ET. And Some Jeers:

According to NPR's Don Gonyea, when Romney said that "if you want a president who can make things better in the African-American community you're looking at him," the words were "not well received." Some jeers or catcalls could he heard.

Update at 10:57 a.m. ET. Some Boos:

There were some boos from the audience when Romney just repeated his promise to repeal "Obamacare."

But, NPR's Don Gonyea says on his Twitter page as he reports from the NAACP convention, "Romney [is] getting polite applause. Mostly. Biggest react though was boos and murmurs when he said he'd get rid of Obamacare."

Update at 10:50 a.m. ET. Romney Says The Rich Will Be OK, With Or Without Him; He Wants To Help Others:

It's "nonsense" to say his policies would only help the rich or that he's only interested in helping the wealthy, Romney says as he begins his remarks. And they don't need him: "The rich will do just fine," he adds, "whether I'm elected or not."

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