I'm not sure what the Romney campaign hoped to accomplish with this, other than to be able to use it for a talking point over at Fox to trick the viewers there into believing he's got some support from African American voters, but his appearance at the NAACP just keeps taking more bizarre twists.
Did Mitt Romney's campaign plant African-American supporters in the audience to cheer for the speech the candidate gave Wednesday to the NAACP? That's what the NAACP's Hilary Shelton claimed on The Ed Show. (See Late Updates below).
Romney said today that after the speech, at which he was booed for saying he'd repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, he met with black leaders who told him they support his policies but are afraid to do so publicly.
But on The Ed Show, Shelton said those were likely people brought in by the Romney camp "to actually provide the cheering for him."
"Quite frankly, the campaign actually gave me a list of African-American VIPs that they brought into the NAACP meeting," Shelton told Ed Schulz. "So we were aware that they had people brought in specifically for the campaign. So I'm sure those were the ones they sat down with, because quite frankly none of the rank-and-file NAACPers met with him."
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.
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."
As they noted in their updates, the Romney campaign denied the allegations, but they got confirmation backing up Shelton's claims from a couple of different sources who were there. I'm not sure what good Romney thought this little fiasco was going to do him, especially after the remarks he made at the fundraiser following the speech at the NAACP.
Here he is on Cavuto's show earlier the same day, telling Neil that he expected the booing and that he's got support from African American leaders who he supposedly met with that they were discussing in the segment on Schultz's show.