BIG NEWS ALERT FROM JOURNALISM, GUYS! Reports are coming in Fast and Furious that Mitt Romney, over the course of a mere 24 hours, kind of just single-handedly torched to cinders any and all of the minor gains Republicans might have recently made among non-"Heartland" Americans. (Single-handedly torching things to cinders isthe Bain way, after all!) The Romney campaign, fresh off a, well, received speech to the annual NAACP convention, is now being accused of sneaking outside blacks in to the event (like you do with Reese's Pieces and bottom-shelf hooch), in order to fake some kind of groundswell of African-American support. Oh, and then, in one of those quiet rooms he's so fond of, the candidate himself went shooting off to donors about the impudent and boisterous non-Mitt Romney-approved blacks at the NAACP, who "should vote for the other guy" if they just want free government goodies/health insurance. All the juicy, sexy, newsy details after the jump!

Boy, do we have a lot of ground to cover, friends. Let's start with the Boo-ening, which of course the Romney campaign was in no way desperately praying would happen, allowing them to scrape up a few more oozy votes from the primordial base. Speaking to flaccid newstoad Neil Cavuto, Romney conjured up a countercurrent of brave but Silent Minorities:

I spoke with a number of African-American leaders after the event and they said, you know a lot of folks don’t want to say they’re not going to be voting for Barack Obama, but they’re disappointed in his lack of policies to improve our schools. Disappointed in urban policies, disappointed in the economy. 14.4% rate of unemployment among African-Americans today. The president has not been able to get the job done. People want to see someone who can get the economy going, so I expect to get African-American votes.

Good job, good effort! Seriously, why won't the media ever report on the good news coming out of Iraq Romney's speeches?

Indeed, despite the boos, cheering can be heard at various points during the speech, including when Romney criticized President Obama over the economy and education.

[Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy and the Director of the Washington Bureau of the NAACP Hilary] Shelton said that none of the people Romney met with were active NAACP leaders, and that Romney's referring to African-American conservative politicians like Niger Innis who "was brought in from New York."

Pressed by Ed Schultz about whether Innis and the others were actually members of the NAACP, Shelton said: "They're bringing people in that they know will support his agenda from other places, that aren't active with the NAACP. These are people who are brought in to actually provide the cheering for him, so there will be some support along those lines."

Okay, but that's just, like, one dude's opinion, right? Surely someone else would have noticed such a palpably stupid campaign move!

Mark Thompson, a radio host who attended Romney's speech, is backing Shelton's claim.

Thompson told Lawrence O'Donnell, host of The Last Word, that Romney "brought about 20 black Republicans with him," who served as "applauders for his applause lines." Thompson called the move "bizarre," and added, again echoing Shelton, that these were the black leaders Romney was referring to in his comments on Fox.

And now, just a sprinkling of easy to misconstrue comments linking NAACP members and a desire for more "free stuff":

By the way, I had the privilege of speaking today at the NAACP convention in Houston and I gave them the same speech I am giving you. I don't give different speeches to different audiences alright. I gave them the same speech. When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren't happy, I didn't get the same response. That's ok, I want people to know what I stand for and if I don't stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that's just fine. But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy-more free stuff. But don't forget nothing is really free.

And this guy is an alleged businessman so he should know! You think Mitt got rich giving away "free stuff" to ladies who sex and sick blahs? Um, LOOK UP CAPITALISM, DUMMY. (Subtitle shamelessly lifted from Balloon Juice) [PoliticusUSA; Maddow; Ed Show]


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