The media is beginning to investigate Mitt Romney's Mormon faith and its racial history, and CNN continued the race narrative on Wednesday morning when it wondered if Romney is simply writing off the African-American vote.
Apparently, CNN never got the memo that Herman Cain all but officially endorsed Romney on Tuesday. Citing a Daily Beast report that Romney has no high-profile African-American endorsements or staffers, CNN's Carol Costello went ahead and asked if the candidate was "kissing off African-American voters". [Video below the break. Audio here.]
A presidential candidate would be foolish to write off any particular voting bloc. Yahoo! News reporter Chris Moody admitted that President Obama will overwhelmingly win the African-American vote, but added that Romney will still reach out the black community. "I think over the next several weeks and months you're going to see lots of black conservatives coming out, coalescing around Mitt Romney," he maintained.
The Daily Beast piece cited unnamed political observers and Democratic consultants among its sources for the story "African-Americans Nowhere to Be Found in Romney's Orbit." It even quoted Lee Siegel's New York Times piece with the racially-charged assumption "Mitt Romney is the whitest white man to run for president in recent memory."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on April 11 on Newsroom at 10:39 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
CAROL COSTELLO: Now that Rick Santorum is out of the race, Mitt Romney shifts into attack Obama mode. But, as the Daily Beast reports, Romney has attracted no notable black endorsers, surrogates, or high-ranking campaign staffers. So, is Romney kissing off African-American voters? Boris?
BORIS EPSHTEYN, Republican strategist, fmr McCain-Palin aide: No, he's not. And here's the reason. Barack Obama simply has not delivered to his African-American base. That's why his approval among African-Americans is down almost 10 percent. Unemployment among African-Americans – whereas the national number is 8.3, among African-Americans it's almost 15 percent. So there's unquestionably a worry among Democrats that African-Americans A, will not support Barack Obama as much and B, will not come out to the polls as strongly as they did in 2008. What Mitt Romney needs to focus on is not hiring an African-American staffer or getting an African-American surrogate, but delivering a message of how he's going to help African-Americans. That's what matters most.
CHRIS MOODY, political reporter, Yahoo! News: In 2008, Barack Obama, I believe, won 96 percent of the black vote, and I don't think people expect him to drop below 90 here. I don't think Mitt Romney is ignoring that vote. I think over the next several weeks and months you're going to see lots of black conservatives coming out, coalescing around Mitt Romney. And there's a growing chorus of them, more black Republicans running for Congress and running for positions of office. But I think certainly Mitt Romney could reach out to that community, and we'll see, and I'm sure he will, before November.