Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney will address the largest black civil rights group in the United States next month, the NAACP said Tuesday.
Romney, who squares off against President Barack Obama in November’s election, will attend the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, set for July 7-12 in Houston, Texas.
Romney was invited to address the convention shortly after he clinched his party’s presidential nomination last month, NAACP spokesman Derek Turner said.
The organization is also hoping Obama, the country’s first African-American president, will attend the event. Both he and Senator John McCain addressed the NAACP when they were candidates for the presidency in 2008.
Turner told AFP he expects Romney to “address civil rights” during his speech, “as they are in line with our mission.”
Blacks also disproportionately fill the ranks of the poor and the uninsured, two groups which critics say would be severely impacted by Republican efforts to slash federal programs like food stamps in order to curb runaway government spending.
African-Americans are seen as benefiting more from Obama’s landmark health care reform law, which aims to provide health insurance to 32 million Americans—and which Romney has vowed to repeal if he is elected.