Shortly after a speech at the NAACP convention where he was booed, Mitt Romney said Wednesday he "expected" the crowd's negative reaction to his remarks.
Romney drew a few round of boos during the address in Houston, in which he asserted his plan to repeal President Barack Obama's health care reform law should he make it to the Oval Office. But the crowd wasn't entirely unreceptive to Romney, as he also received several applause lines, with occasional bursts of organ music, as well.
The presumptive GOP presidential nominee defended his speech in an interview later in the day.
"I think we expected that," he said on Fox Business Network, referring to the audience's negative response. "I am going to give the same message to the NAACP that I give across the country, which is that Obamacare is killing jobs."
Asked if believes he could pull away some of the 96% of African Americans who voted for Obama in 2008, Romney said yes.
"I do actually. I spoke with a number African American leaders after the event, and they said a lot of folks don't want to say they are not going to vote for Barack Obama but they are disappointed in his lack of policies to improve our schools, disappointed in urban policy, disappointed in the economy," he said.
The Republican focused much of his speech Wednesday on the economy, though occasionally touched on social and education policies.
"I expect to get African American votes," Romney said. "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 drew boos during his remarks when he suggested to the predominately-black audience that he would be the best president on their behalf.
"I submit to you this: if you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him," Romney said.
The candidate, however, received praise from the audience, particularly when he laid out his reason for visiting the convention.
"Now with 90% of African-Americans, who typically vote for Democrats, you may wonder, or some may wonder, why a Republican would bother to campaign in the African American community and to address the NAACP," Romney said. "One reason, of course, is that I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed and sexual orientation. From the poorest to the richest and everyone in between."