Column: Mitt Romney and Affirmative Action

By Stephanie Jones

Published by the National Newspaper Publishers Association

Much was made of what Mitt Romney said and didn’t say during his recent speech to the NAACP’s annual convention in Houston. His boo-evoking swipe at “Obamacare” got most of the coverage, while his failure to address voter ID laws was also widely noted.

But another omission got little play, even though it is a topic of great importance to that audience in particular and the nation as a whole: Affirmative Action. Romney’s avoidance of the topic in his NAACP speech is not surprising because he has rarely mentioned it during his public life. On the few occasions he has spoken about it, he’s done so in vague language.

For example, in 2008, he said, “I do support encouraging inclusiveness and diversity, and I encourage the disclosure of the numbers of women and minorities in top positions of companies and government – not to impose a quota but to shine light on the situation.” Not exactly a profile in courage comment, but his tepid expression of support does leave some room for hope.

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