By Justin Sink - 07/11/12 10:57 PM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that Mitt Romney made a "calculated move" to get booed during his address earlier in the day before the NAACP.
“I think it was a calculated move on his part to get booed at the NAACP convention," she told Bloomberg TV.
Members of the civil rights organization booed Romney when he vowed to repeal President Obama's signature healthcare law.
"We expected that," Romney told 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, and if jobs is the priority, we are going to have to replace it with something that actually holds down healthcare costs, as opposed to something that causes more spending for the government and more spending for American families.”
Addressing the NAACP is a rite of passage for presidential candidates, and Romney will likely need to chip away at Obama's overwhelming lead among African-American voters to stay competitive in some swing states. But some political analysts have suggested that Romney would benefit by defending his policy positions before the hostile crowd, especially on the issue of healthcare reform, which remains unpopular with the majority of voters.
But Pelosi argued Romney's healthcare stance could be a political liability in November, suggesting that the former Massachusetts governor would struggle to distance himself from similar legislation on the state level implemented while he was governor.
“I think it would be interesting for you to show your viewers his statements at the time of passing RomneyCare in Massachusetts when he talked about free-riders," Pelosi said. "Anybody who can afford it should pay into the system so that they're not taking a free ride, that when they get sick other people have to pay for them, increasing other people's cost. I think his own words speak to the value of what we did at the national level. I don't know how he disassociates himself from that, but it will require some shifting.”
By contrast, Pelosi argued Democrats could improve their numbers on the issue by appealing to those who would benefit from the legislation.
"The momentum is with the bill because people know what it means to them if they have a preexisting medical condition or if they're senior or if they're a woman, whatever, the benefits that accrue to them," Pelosi said. "Lifetime limits. Imagine if you're a person with disabilities or a preexisting condition. The insurance companies cannot have lifetime limits on you. So we think it's a good argument. I think the election in the fall is going to be about jobs, and that's why we want to get to the subject of jobs and how we can create more faster. I hasten to add the healthcare bill does create 4 million jobs, as it reduces the deficit, as it makes America healthier.”
The House's top Democrat also dismissed suggestions by Republicans — and some Democratic candidates — that Obama had split the party by announcing a push to extend the Bush-era tax cuts on annual income less than $250,000, rather than a threshold of $1 million that had been preferred on Capitol Hill. Pelosi argued in doing so she had "smoked out" Republicans as "handmaidens" of the wealthiest Americans.
"We are in complete unity with the president on the $250,000," Pelosi said. "We were delighted that he put that message out there and the administration also responded that the president would veto a bill that came forth and extended all the Bush tax cuts."