THE RACE: Romney woos NAACP, Obama top Democrats

Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pauses during a speech to the NAACP annual convention, Wednesday, July 11, 2012, in Houston, Texas.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama both are dealing with politically challenging demographics.

The Republican presidential challenger addressed the NAACP's annual convention and Obama was huddling with Democratic congressional leaders.

Obama shouldn't have to court Capitol Hill Democrats. They've been on his side, pretty solidly. Up until now.

With the president locked in a tight race with Romney and burdened by grim economic numbers, some Democrats worried about their own re-election are straying from the fold.

For his part, Romney stood before the NAACP and acknowledged his disadvantage since 95 percent of blacks backed Obama in 2008. Still, "We don't count anybody out," he told the civil rights group in Houston.

He told attendees that, if they "understood who I truly am in my heart," they would recognize they'd be better off economically with him as president. He was booed when he vowed to end Obama's health care overhaul.

More and more Democrats in tough races — especially in states where Obama is particularly unpopular — are forgoing September's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., to stay home and campaign.

Meanwhile, Obama is finding holding his ranks together in Congress has become challenging.

Not all Democrats were enthusiastic about his proposal to extend Bush-era tax cuts for families earning under $250,000, with some wanting a higher $1 million threshold and others wanting to extend all the tax cuts until the economy improves.

Sensing an opportunity, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell tried Wednesday to force an up-or-down vote on Obama's plan. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., blocked it as an attempt to distract attention from a Democratic small-business bill.

Obama is skipping this year's NAACP convention. Vice President Joe Biden will speak instead — on Thursday.

"I just hope the Obama campaign doesn't think you're playing favorites" Romney joked, noting to scattered applause that he went first.

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