NAACP meets in Houston with Presidential Election in Mind

The NAACP is holding its annual convention in Houston this year. The gathering starts over the weekend and both President Obama and Mitt Romney are expected to speak at the convention next week. Carrie Feibel has more about what the two candidates hope to accomplish politically. 

It's an interesting time for the NAACP to convene.

The organization recently decided to endorse gay marriage.

The Supreme Court just issued two huge decisions, on immigration and health care.

And of course, there's the presidential election.

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones says most black voters still support Obama this time around.

So why would Romney even bother to come?

"Mitt Romney, what he is at least trying to do is peel off a small percent. As well as send a signal both to African Americans as well as to the US society in general that he is trying to reach out, that is he's trying to make an effort."

Jones says Romney's real audience will be undecided voters:

"If you're thinking in terms of Anglo moderates, Anglo independents, it sends a bad signal if someone is not even willing to show up to the NAACP convention. It sends a signal that they aren't an inclusive candidate, that they aren't trying to reach out to different groups."

President Obama will have a different agenda at the NAACP.

Jones says he needs to rally African Americans to actually show up on Election Day.

"If you look at the real battleground states, the states where this election is going to be decided: places like North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Ohio. African Americans are a significant share of the population. So therefore if you have African Americans turnout rise slightly or at least stay pretty close to the 2008 level, then he's in much better shape to win the election and thus the Presidency."

The NAACP announced late Thursday that Vice President Joe Biden will appear on behalf of the Democratic ticket.

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...