Nightly News   |  July 11, 2012

NAACP boos Mitt Romney

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney heard the crowd’s disapproval when he criticized ‘Obamacare.’ NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

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>>> of campaigning and a part of governing. you sometimes have to appear before audiences that may not agree with you on everything and may not seem like a good fit. it happens. because there are all kinds of vote irs in this country with all kinds of views, it's going to happen. we saw it happen today when mitt romney did something the president isn't doing this year. he and before the naacp convention. the response from the audience there wasn't always warm. it's where we begin tonight with nbc's peter alexander on the campaign trail covering mitt romney . peter, good evening.

>> reporter: brian, good evening to you. this is far and away the most pro obama crowd mitt romney has spoken to all campaign season. while his advisers admit they would never expect all african-americans to agree with all of mitt romney 's policies, they admit they were pleased by the reception here. it was a gutsy claim from mitt romney .

>> if you want a president who will make things better in the african-american community, you are looking at him. you take a look.

>> reporter: just consider the audience, the naacp , the nation's premier civil rights group. tasha from ohio compared today's setting to a lion's den.

>> i thought it was extremely encouraging that president hopeful romney even came.

>> reporter: four years ago then candidate of obama won 95% of the black vote. today romney asked for a fair hearing. but on several occasions heard the crowd's dis approvapproval.

>> the president says he will do those things. he has not, cannot, will not. his last four years in the white house prove it definitively. to do that, i'm going to eliminate every nonessential expensive program i can find. that includes obama care. i'm going to work to reform and save --

>> reporter: naacp delegate teresa haley explained what she wanted to hear.

>> what we don't like is calling it obama care. it's a plan for everyone.

>> reporter: still simply by showing up with his message of job creation for the african-american he's hoping to pry away some voters.

>> reporter: i'd give the president a c plus . he could have been more effective. in terms of jobs.

>> reporter: the black vote is particularly crucial in key swing states like virginia and north carolina where president obama won by just 14,000 votes in 2008 .

>> that i hope to represent all americans of every race, creed, and sexual orientation. from the poorest to the richest and everyone in between.

>> reporter: moments after romney finished, the obama campaign denounced his economic policies as devastating for the african-american community. still, as romney left the stage, at least half the room gave him a standing ovation. president obama will not be here for this year's convention. instead vice president joe biden will address the room tomorrow. the democratic challenge, it's very clear, try to regain that enthusiasm among african-american voters they had four years ago. this is a group among whom every little bit of erosion could cost the obama campaign dearly.

>> peter alexander on the trail in houston te, texas, starting us off tonight.