Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker claims that “Romney appeared unsettled by three rounds of loud boos” he received at the NAACP convention today. I wasn’t present, but that’s not how it looked to me.
For example, after being booed for his attack on Obamacare as a jobs killer, Romney simply waited a moment and then cited a Chamber of Commerce survey that supported his view that Obamacare discourages hiring. Not only did Romney stay on message, but his discussion of the survey was well delivered and seemed less rehearsed than the rest of the speech (though I don’t doubt that anything Romney says on the stump is truly unrehearsed).
I’m actually not a fan of Romney the speaker. His delivery typically strikes me as stiff and over-rehearsed. But it’s been a while since I heard him give a speech and, for what it’s worth, I thought he was in good form today.
Jim Geraghty and Katherine Lopez took away the same impression. Geraghty, who has provided the text of the speech, called Romney’s appearance “surprisingly strong.” He added:
I think the speech was one of Romney’s best of the campaign, often articulating conservative principles. On Twitter, someone wondered if the tough crowd was somehow liberating to Romney and his speechwriters; with the odds of success so low, why not lay out one’s deepest principles, loudly and clearly, and let the chips fall where they may?
If so, long may it continue.
Katherine wrote: “Mitt Romney gave a quality speech, with confidence, to a group that’s not exactly debating its endorsement. And, once he was booed, he hit some kind of stride.”
In my view, this is much closer to the mark than the Washington Post’s assessment.