Burning Question

Can Mitt Romney win without winning over minority voters?

President Obama's GOP challenger is trying to lure blacks and Hispanics to his side; without them, he could very well lose his bid for the White House

On the heels of a big immigration speech aimed at winning over Hispanic voters, Mitt Romney made a direct appeal to black voters on Wednesday in a speech at the NAACP's annual convention. It flopped: The mostly African-American audience booed several of Romney's statements, including his vow to repeal President Obama's health-care law. Romney has been making the case that his economic policies would benefit blacks and Hispanics, while Obama's are hurting them. Yet both groups overwhelmingly back the president, and many political strategists say Romney stands little chance of luring them away. Can Romney win without gaining ground with minorities?

Romney needs to make some headway: Minorities played a huge role in getting Obama elected in 2008, says Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times. He captured 95 percent of the black vote and 67 percent of the Hispanic vote, and plenty of analysts have concluded that he'll "need to match those numbers again to win re-election." If Romney can peel away some of those voters — he doesn't need a lot — he'd clear a big obstacle on his road to the White House."NAACP tough sell for Romney"

The voters he needs are independents: Showing up at the NAACP won't win Romney any votes, says Allahpundit at Hot Air, but it was still worthwhile. As election day nears, the Left will attack him "more viciously on race," especially if Obama starts falling behind, and Romney's "gesture of outreach" will inoculate him against the charge that he doesn't care about minorities. "Liberals won't care but some swing voters might," and they'll cast the deciding votes."Romney: I expected to be booed by the NAACP when I mentioned ObamaCare"

It's the turnout, stupid: Minority voters aren't the ones Romney needs to impress, says Jackiale Koszczuk at National Journal. "The weakest element of the GOP coalition for Romney has been and continues to be the Tea Party and predominantly white conservative voters." By unflinchingly standing up for conservative policies before a pro-Obama crowd, Romney was looking to boost turnout by getting his base fired up. "And to that end, the NAACP's boos were music to his ears.""Romney: Crazy like a fox"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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