(Photo: REUTERS/Richard Carson)
Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday sought to strike fear in the minds of those attending the NAACP annual convention in Houston by suggesting that Mitt Romney would make it harder to vote because of voter ID laws and that Romney economic policies would hurt the black community.
Meanwhile, the Coalition of African-American Pastors gathered outside to protest NAACP's position supporting homosexual marriage.
"The black church founded the NAACP, and it is not the organization for the advancement of gays and lesbians – whatever the merits of that movement," the Rev. William Owens, president of the coalition, said to NAACP leaders. "Return to your roots and stand with the black church on marriage."
Inside the convention, Biden planted a fear that the GOP would backtrack on civil rights. The vice president cited Republican voter ID laws that are being challenged by the Justice Department, asking the audience: "Did you think we'd be fighting these battles again?"
Attorney General Eric Holder has called voter ID laws a "poll tax," prompting cries of foul by conservatives.
Using a tactic similar to one seen in courtroom dramas on the big screen, Biden asked the audience: "Imagine what the Romney Justice Department will look like."
Biden also drew a standing ovation and applause from the audience when he went through a laundry list of accomplishments the Obama administration is proud of, including the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), loans and bailouts in order to rescue the banking and auto industries and the killing of Osama bin Laden.
"He has put his country first," Biden said of Obama.
On Wednesday, Mitt Romney's remark about repealing President Obama's signature health care plan brought a round of boos from some at the NAACP convention who disagreed that it would hurt blacks in the long run. Romney countered that Obama policies have resulted in a 14 percent unemployment rate for the black community and argued that he can do better.
Pundits spent the hours after Romney's speech debating whether or not he deserved such treatment, but Romney seemed undeterred, saying he was determined to be consistent in his message that Obamacare is bad for all Americans.
The NAACP's 64 members of the board of directors voted overwhelmingly to support Obama's recent decision to support same-sex marriage, but Owens says the majority of black pastors and community leaders oppose the issue and that the group's endorsement was done "under the cloak of darkness."
Outside the convention, Owens argued that the NAACP has made a serious mistake on gay marriage. "If they have taken an issue where they asked members, they would have lost," Owens said.
"To the board of NAACP we say, 'Do not worry about the money, God will provide,'" Owens said. "Stand with the Church and the Bible and the natural law, as our brother with whom we marched, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., called on us to do."
President Obama, who has not spoken to the group since 2009, rejected an invitation to attend this year's NAACP meeting, saying instead that "scheduling issues" kept him from attending.
However, the President was in Washington Thursday with no public events on his schedule. He was scheduled to be interviewed by Charlie Rose of CBS News.