(The Blaze/AP) – Vice President Joe Biden, filling in for President Obama, addressed the NAACP National Convention Thursday and argued a Mitt Romney presidency would be detrimental to America’s future.
But Biden curiously started his speech by reminiscing about sitting in Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church. It seems an odd thing to do as Obama has been trying to distance himself from the controversial figure since 2008. He also gave a special shout out to someone named “Mouse” who he said, “got my back a bunch of times.”
“It is not an exaggeration, were it not for the leadership of the NAACP, for the men and women who educated me when we’d sit over in Reverend Wright’s church as we’re talking about desegregating the Rialto and the Queen movie theater. Remember Mouse, those days? I learned so much, I learned so much, and I owe so much.”
Watch the video here:
Biden addressed the annual convention the day after Romney said he’d do more for African-Americans than Obama, the nation’s first black president. Romney was booed when he said he’d repeal Obama’s sweeping health care reform law but otherwise got a polite reception as he reached out to a traditionally Democratic voting bloc.
The vice president went on to explain two very different visions for the future — one with Romney as president and another with Obama as president in his second term.
Biden never directly responded to Romney’s argument that he could serve blacks better than Obama, choosing instead to dissect Romney’s policy proposals. He said the former Massachusetts governor’s agenda would hurt black working families, and he outlined detailed differences between Obama and Romney on health care, education, energy, women’s rights and research.
“We see a future… where every woman has unfettered access to contraception and family planning if she desires it. In short, we see America where our daughts have every, and i mean every, opportunity our sons have,” Biden said. “Governor Romney and his allies in Congress see a different future for women in America.”
He then accused Romney of advocating social policies that are “basically a throwback to the 50s” and having a foreign policy similar to that of the “Cold War” of the 1960s because he sees Russia as a threat.
“This guy’s vision of the future of American foreign policy is mired in the Cold War and the Cold War is over,” Biden added.
Then there was this gem where Biden was addressing education: “Children should be educated to the degree they are educable.” Educable? Watch the video below:
Obama did not speak to the NAACP this year, appearing instead in a taped video message. In the brief remarks, Obama said: “I stand on your shoulders and at the NAACP you have always believed in the American promise.” He reiterated many of the themes of his re-election campaign, saying the nation needs to “build an economy where everyone can have the confidence that the hard work will also pay off.”
The president said he was sorry he couldn’t be there in person. Obama had no public events scheduled Thursday but was to be interviewed at the White House, along with first lady Michelle Obama, by Charlie Rose of CBS News.
In Obama’s absence, Biden defended the administration’s policies while warning of what a Romney presidency would bring to civil rights. He asked attendees to “imagine” what the Justice Department would be like under a Romney administration and “imagine when his senior adviser on the Constitution is Robert Bork,” the Republican Supreme Court nominee who was defeated by Democrats in 1987. Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time.
Biden said there was a lot more he could say on protecting voting rights but that he was “preaching to the choir.” “Say it, say it,” many in the crowded responded. As Biden was wrapping up, he said, “Let me close, my friends,” prompting members of the audience to boo and yell, “No!”
Biden then insinuated that Republicans were trying to diminish the voting rights of minorities, receiving sustained applause when he talked about the administration’s efforts to expand voting rights.
“Remember, remember what this at its core was all about, why this organization at its core was all about,” Biden said. “It was about the franchise. It was about the right to vote, because when you have a right to vote, you have a right to change things and we, the president and I and Eric [Holder] and all of us, we see a future when those rights are expanded not diminished.”
“Did you think we’d be fighting these battles again?” people in the crowd answered in unison, “No.”
Though his speech appeared to be well received by those in attendance, CBS reporter Rodney Hawkins reportedly tweeted, “Seats are pretty empty minutes before Biden is set to speak.” He included this photo:
This is a breaking story and updates will be added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.