Mitt Romney stirred up controversy late on Wednesday when he responded to the icy reception he'd received earlier in the day at an NAACP event, where he was booed for vowing to repeal Obamacare.
According to a pool report, Romney spoke to a crowd at a fundraiser in Hamilton, Montana:
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.
Shortly after the speech, Rachel Maddow reported on Romney's remark, noting its problematic undertones in the context of racial politics.
"It seemed like Mitt Romney wanted to get booed at the NAACP this morning," Maddow said. "He wanted to wear that around his neck like a badge of courage. It looks like he is not wasting any time in doing so."
Romney has used similar language throughout his presidential bid. During an event in Florida earlier this year, when confronted by a young voter who voice support for "free birth control," Romney quipped:
If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for? Vote for the other guy, that’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about.
Criticism of Obama's Affordable Care Act has proved to be an uncomfortable line of attack for Romney, who as governor of Massachusetts introduced comprehensive health care reform that has drawn comparisons to Obama's. The state law includes provisions for much of the same "free stuff" that Obamacare does, including an individual mandate.