Mitt Romney received a rough reception from members of the NAACP, the country's oldest black civil rights organisation, yesterday, which erupted into boos and shouts of disapproval when he said he meant to overturn Barack Obama's healthcare reforms.
His rocky ride at the NAACP convention in Houston came as Mr Romney faced a wave of new assaults from the campaign of President Obama over his apparent failure fully to disclose the extent of, and the reasons for, his multiple holdings overseas, including in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
The murkiness of his personal financial affairs is emerging as a potential drag for Mr Romney, who so far has released tax returns for only 2010 and an estimate for 2011. Democrats are contrasting him with his father, George Romney, who when he ran for the White House in 1967 released 12 years of returns.
It prompted an unusually personal attack this week from Vice- President Joe Biden, who said on a campaign visit to Nevada that the Republican nominee was "making a lie of the old adage, like father, like son". With many Latinos in his audience, Mr Biden made an additional dig at Mr Romney's barely permissive views on immigration, saying he "wants you to show your papers, but he won't show us his".
Trying to woo delegates at the NAACP meeting, Mr Romney, left, insisted his economic vision of free enterprise and reduced spending would lift all families including those of colour. "If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him," he said.
But even showing up might have been misguided given the overwhelming support among African-Americans for Mr Obama, who took 95 per cent of their vote in 2008.
His appearance jumped the tracks completely when he uttered: "I will kill every expensive and unnecessary programme I can find, and that includes Obamacare."
With fixed grin, Mr Romney then stayed silent as a wave of boos and shouts of "No!" through the hall. The remainder of his speech was punctuated by additional murmurs of dissent.
"Neither the tax return nor other disclosures have revealed the full amounts of the Romneys' other offshore holdings over the years," an editorial in The New York Times newspaper said.
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