Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney delivered a gutsy speech to the NAACP convention on Wednesday, reminding African-Americans of what most of them knew or should have known: President Obama hasn't made their lives better.

No demographic group has suffered more from Obama's economic policies than black Americans, nor has a worse unemployment rate.

Romney went into the lion's den in Houston knowing he would be booed, but it was a courageous move on his part to show he was taking his campaign for economic renewal to every corner of the country and to every interest group, even to Obama's core political constituencies.

Notably, the president has decided to take a pass on the NAACP convention, where he would have had to defend his failed economic policies and look into the faces of people who are hurting under his presidency.

But here was Obama's unflinching Republican rival at the podium where, as expected, he received a mostly hostile reaction -- though there were some cheers when he said he would defend traditional marriage and talked about failing public schools.

"If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him," Romney told his audience. When they booed and hissed at him, he kept his cool and replied, "You take a look."

"I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African-American families, you would vote for me for president," Romney said. "I want you to know that if I did not believe that my policies and my leadership would help families of color -- and families of any color -- more than the policies and leadership of President Obama, I wouldn't be running for president."

Then he addressed the most painful reality that afflicts the black community, unemployment, noting that they had suffered the most under Obama's presidency. No one in the audience could disagree with that.

Unemployment among African-Americans, he pointed out, was a punishing 14.4 percent in June and rising, up nearly a full percentage point from the month before.

"If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone. Instead, it's worse for African-Americans in almost every way," Romney said.

This was the bitter truth that no one in the audience could challenge. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' unvarnished unemployment rate for blacks was actually worse.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.