Biden To Speak To NAACP Convention Where Romney Got Mixed Reception

By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown
By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown

(CNN) -- Vice President Joe Biden gives the keynote address at the NAACP convention in Houston on Thursday, a day after presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke there and as President Barack Obama takes a pass.

It will be Biden's first time addressing the convention as vice president, the NAACP said.

"The vice president is a longtime friend to the NAACP," said Roslyn Brock, the group's chairwoman. "He has been a strong advocate for justice and equality over his decades of service in the Senate and the White House."

The president will miss the event due to a "scheduling conflict," his campaign said.

"We declined a few weeks ago, and (the) NAACP was pleased (Vice President Joe Biden) was able to attend," an Obama-Biden campaign official told CNN.

The president's schedule for Thursday initially appeared wide open, but a senior administration official confirmed on Thursday morning that Obama and the first lady will give an interview to CBS during the day.

Hilary Shelton, the NAACP Washington Bureau director and a senior vice president in the organization, said the White House never confirmed a visit.

"They were trying to work out something," Shelton said.

As to why Obama could not attend, he added, "It was that something could not be moved. Something was crucial. And unfortunately, they couldn't move it in a way they could get him here this week."

Obama addressed the convention in 2009. Last year, first lady Michelle Obama spoke to the group.

On Wednesday, Romney was booed during his remarks when he vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature health care law. But he also drew applause during his speech and received a standing ovation from about half the audience at the end.

Romney said the negative reaction didn't come as a surprise.

"I think we expected that," he said on Fox Business Network. "I am going to give the same message to the NAACP that I give across the country, which is that Obamacare is killing jobs."

Two African-American members of the House of Representatives found themselves split after Romney's appearance.

"He gets credit for attendance," Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat, said on CNN's "The Situation Room." "But perfect attendance doesn't qualify you to be class president. I thought it was a good gesture to go, but I thought his content was lacking."

Rep. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, also said on "The Situation Room" that he expects Romney will get about 10% of the black vote come November, suggesting the GOP candidate's focus should be on unemployment and home foreclosures.

"African-American unemployment since 2008 is up 40%," Scott said. "Home closures 25%. So what we have is the same message that works for the rest of America, works for the black community, too."

CNN's Dan Lothian, Shawna Shepherd, Shannon Travis and Ashley Killough contributed to this report


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