Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney will address the NAACP’s national convention next month, a campaign aide confirmed Tuesday.
News of Romney’s plans to attend the convention, which takes place July 7-12 in Houston, was first reported by April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks. Romney is scheduled to speak on July 11.
The move makes Romney the latest GOP White House hopeful to attend the annual summit. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) addressed the convention in July 2008.
Relations between previous GOP nominees and the country’s largest civil rights group have been somewhat more fraught. George W. Bush addressed the NAACP during his 2000 bid; he went on to decline the group’s invitations for five straight years, citing his “basically nonexistent” relationship with its leaders. He did not address the group again until 2006.
The previous GOP nominee, Bob Dole, made headlines in 1996 when he declined the NAACP’s invitation and accused the group of “trying to set me up.”
In his 2008 speech, McCain acknowledged the policy differences between himself and President Obama and told the crowd that “it may be that many of you share his view.”
“But even allowing for disagreement, surely there’s common ground in the principle that government cannot go on forever spending recklessly and incurring debt,” McCain said.