Romney says he 'expected' negative response at NAACP speech

“While we are glad that Governor Romney recognized the power of the black electorate, he laid out an agenda that was antithetical to many of our interests,” said Jealous. “His criticism of the Affordable Care Act — legislation that will improve access to quality health care for millions — signals his fundamental misunderstanding of the needs of many African Americans.”

But Romney told Fox Business that he believed he could chip away at the dominating lead Obama had with African-American voters in the 2008 election. Obama's strong support in the black community provides the president a key base in some of the states expected to decide the 2012 campaign, and the Romney campaign was hoping Wednesday's address — and its economic themes — could help erode some of the distance.

"I expect to get African-American votes," said the former Massachusetts governor. "At the end of my speech, having a standing ovation was generous and hospitable on the part of the audience. While we disagree on some issues like ObamaCare, a lot of issues we see eye to eye.”

Romney also discussed the state of the campaign, downplaying concerns voiced by some Republicans that his campaign had not been aggressive enough in combating attacks from Democrats. But Romney said his campaign was better served by trying to focus on issues they saw as relevant to voters.

"I respond to the attacks that come, but they say in politics if you are responding, you are losing," Romney said. "I think the better course for our campaign is to respond to the attacks as being completely off-base. People are tired of this petty attack that comes from politicians and they want to see someone who talks about the issues they care about."

Romney also dismissed calls from the Obama campaign to release additional years of tax returns, calling the issue a distraction. The Obama campaign issued a new commercial Wednesday calling on Romney to disclose more information about his financial holdings.

“The Democrats are always going to be critics," Romney said. "We have released all of the financial statements required by law and two years of tax returns. The most recent year we will be releasing as soon as that’s prepared. Tax information is there, other financial disclosure is there; the same level of information that [Sens.] John McCain [(R-Ariz.)] and John Kerry [(D-Mass.)] for that matter released when they were running for president.”

Romney also played coy on vice presidential speculation, which ramped up Tuesday night after Reuters reported he could make a decision before leaving on a European trip planned later this month.

“I can’t tell you anything about the VP process. If I did, I would have to come after you with my "Men In Black" flashlight and erase your memory," Romney said.