The NAACP will hear Republican candidate Mitt Romney speak at their annual convention in Houston but President Obama is not planning to attend the NAACP event this year. Reporters were informed last week that either the President, the Vice President or the first lady would attend the NAACP’s 103rd convention. Obama 2012 announced last night that Vice President Joe Biden will address the group.
Romney will address the NAACP on Wednesday, July 11. The last time President Obama addressed the NAACP was 2009 in New York. President Obama spoke to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in Florida a day after Romney on June 22.
President Obama will speak to the National Urban League convention in New Orleans in two weeks in one of his few speeches to a sizeable African American audience this year. First lady Michelle Obama spoke at the African Methodist Episcopal Conference in Nashville last week.
With 123 days until election day, President Obama’s schedule would appear to reflect the power and importance of the Latino vote in this year’s election. The White House’s focus on Latino issues has been demonstrated over the last year and a half.
In April 2011, the President met with “influential Hispanics from Across the country on immigration” at the White House. In July 2011, the President spoke to The National Council of LaRaza (NCLR). In May 2011, the President delivered remarks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast. In Septenber 2011, President Obama hosted three Latino journalists at the White House for an hour long on-the-record roundtable. Jose Siade from Yahoo Español, Karine Medina from MSN Latino and Gabriel Lerner from AOL Latino questioned the President about immigration, deportation and the Dream Act.
In March 2011, Univision hosted a town hall with President Obama with Jorge Ramos at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington DC. Many of the questions focused on immigration policy. In April 2011, President Obama spoke at Miami Dade College, which has a 60% Hispanic student body, at their commencement. During that speech the President reaffirmed his support of the Dream Act. On June 15, he announced an executive order granting work permits to Dream Act eligible immigrants in the U.S.
Polls currently show strong support for the President among Latino voters.
President Obama’s speech to the National Urban League will be his third. Then-Senator Obama addressed the Urban League in 2008 as he campaigned for President. He spoke to the group again in 2010 as President. Mitt Romney is not expected to speak to the Urban League.
“It has become a tradition for Presidents and major-party candidates to address the conference, not only to share their agenda for the nation, but also to hear ours,” said Urban League President Marc Morial. In 2008, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Mike Huckabee addressed the Urban League. In 2004, George H. W. Bush and John Kerry addressed the Urban League.
President Bush declined to speak to the NAACP for the first five years he was in the White House and called his relationship with the NAACP, “non-existent” in 2004. In 2006, Bush addressed the NAACP. So did then-Sen. Barack Obama.
“One appearance is not a replacement for consistent policies that deal with education and health and housing that are so important to the African American community,” Sen. Obama said of Bush’s 2006 visit at the time.
President Clinton’s appearances before the NAACP included one in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina and in 1998 at the 89th NAACP convention in Atlanta, Ga.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Managing Editor, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus. She can be heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WPFW 89.3 every Friday at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Burke is a former employee of USA Today and ABC News. You can e-mail her at LBurke007@gmail.com follow her on twitter @Crewof42.