- (Photo: REUTERS/Richard Carson)
In what is expected to be one of the closest presidential elections in history, some Obama supporters are scratching their heads over why President Obama is not addressing the NAACP convention in Houston this year, instead dispatching Vice President Biden.
Derek McCoy, a spokesman for the NAACP confirmed in an email response to The Christian Post that President Obama had not accepted the group's invitation. However, it is being reported that a spot is being held open if he were to suddenly change his mind at the last minute, but that seems unlikely now.
On Wednesday, the White House told several news sources the reason President Obama is not attending the convention is simple: it's due to "scheduling issues." Press Secretary Jay Carney went a bit further by saying the president is focused on helping "all Americans."
"His commitment to the organization and the broader community is easy to see," say Carney.
President Obama addressed the group's annual meeting for three consecutive years beginning in 2007. In 2010, he sent the first lady, Michelle Obama, who spoke on the importance of healthy eating. In 2011, the President recorded a short video message that was played to the attendees.
However, the president did speak at the National Council of LaRaza annual conference in 2011 in an effort to court the nation's Hispanic vote.
Blogger Lauren Burke noted Obama's decision to address the Latino group over the NAACP and wrote in one of her posts in July of last year, saying, "It's a fairly safe bet that next year in 2012, the President is likely to address the NAACP."
Still, many remain perplexed at why someone who received 96 percent of the black vote in 2008, would not pay his respects to the nation's oldest civil rights group, who in eyes of many, have been the primary voice of the black voter for several decades.
A Public Policy Polling survey in mid-June in North Carolina showed that President Obama's support had slipped to 76 percent since he came out in support of same-sex marriage in late May. What made the poll even more interesting was that 20 percent of blacks surveyed indicated they were not voting for President Obama.
In addition, attendees at Thursday's NAACP session are going to be reminded of such when the Coalition of African-American Pastors holds a press conference outside of the convention hall to call attention to the fact that President Obama has not responded to the group's invitation to meet with them to discuss the marriage issue.
Just before he boarded a plane to Houston, the group's spokesman, the Rev. Bill Owens, told CP that the group of pastors led by himself and Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., intends to keep the "heat turned up" on President Obama.
Interestingly, Romney did receive applause during his remarks on Wednesday at the NAACP gathering when he talked about preserving traditional marriage, "between a man and a woman."
Columnist Molly Ball, in an article in The Atlantic yesterday, also questioned President Obama's decision not to address the NAACP gathering.
"Obama's decision to forgo the convention would make sense if there were an obvious political downside, but I can't think of one," wrote Ball. "Is he afraid it would remind white voters that he's black? It seems a little late for that. If anything, such a speech would contrast Obama's presumably warm reception with Romney's chilly one. It's hard to see how that's a bad thing for the president."