At NAACP, Biden Booed -- For Ending His Speech

By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran
By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran

(CBS News) Just like Mitt Romney the day before, Vice President Joe Biden was booed at the NAACP convention. Unlike Romney, however, he wasn't booed because the crowd was upset but because they didn't want Biden to stop talking.

In an animated speech Thursday, Biden painted a stark contrast between Democrat and Republican visions for the future - and urged the historical civil rights organization to "close your eyes and imagine" what the country would look like under a Mitt Romney presidency.

Biden, whose presence was met with a response so enthusiastic it resulted in boos when he said he'd be wrapping up his remarks, emphasized his belief that the presumptive Republican nominee is a "fine family man." But his vision for America's future, he argued, is "so fundamentally different" than "how we view the future of America."

Underscoring issues like education, women's rights, health care, and civil rights in general, Biden targeted the current state of the Republican Party as "obstructionist" by design, and regressive by nature.

"This guy's vision of the future of American foreign policy is mired in the Cold War -- and the Cold War is over," he said of Romney.

To loud cheers from the audience, he also referenced ongoing battles over voter ID laws throughout the country, asking the audience: "Did you think we'd be fighting these battles again?"

"We see a future where those rights are expanded, not diminished. Where racial profiling is a thing of the past. Where access to the ballot is expanded and unencumbered," he said. "[Republicans] see a different future -- where voting is made harder, not easier."

"This ain't your father's Republican party," he added.

The longtime lawmaker - who described himself as a "lifetime member of the NAACP" and spent a few minutes name-checking individual audience members before launching into his speech - appeared at ease among the crowd. His presentation represented something of a contrast to that of Romney, whose Wednesday remarks were interrupted by boos from the audience on several occasions.

Romney said after his speech that he'd "expected" such a reaction to some of his positions, including his pledge to repeal health care, and some argue the negative reception on such issues is actually good for his candidacy. According to CBS News political director John Dickerson, the boos "offered a chance for a candidate criticized for his malleability to look principled in the face of opposition."

"I am going to give the same message to the NAACP that I give across the country," Romney told Fox News yesterday following his speech.

He also took the opportunity to point out to the NAACP that he, and not Mr. Obama, was speaking there this year. "If I am elected president, and you invite me to next year's convention, I would count it as a privilege, and my answer will be yes," he said during his remarks.

Mr. Obama's office cited scheduling conflicts in his decision not to attend the NAACP, but he had little on his public schedule Thursday other than an interview with CBS News' Charlie Rose. He did tape a video message that aired before Biden's remarks, apologizing for his absence and sending his "deepest regards."

Twiala Dotson, an attendee at the conference, said Thursday she had "no qualms" about the fact that the president hadn't made an appearance.

"He has nothing to prove to me," she said. "President Obama would have had to have been probably a little bit congenial, but Joe Biden, being the pitt bull that he is, he was the man that needed to be here to say what he said in the way that it needed to been said."

Precious Byrd, another attendee, told CBS Wednesday she was actually more interested in seeing Romney speak at the convention.

"I know his standing," she said of Mr. Obama. "Actually, I wanted to see Mitt Romney. I wanted to see if he had something to say, because I do consider myself to have an open mind."

Despite her commitment to keeping an open mind, Byrd said Wednesday that Romney hadn't been able to win her over.

"You know, I'm not just automatically one way or the other. I buy into what Obama says. I know what Biden's going to say. So I was really curious as to what Romney would say, you know," she said. "I mean who knows, he might have said something that was like 'Oh my God.' But it didn't happen for me."


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