What Romney Shouldn't Tell the NAACP

Give him credit for addressing the civil rights group -- but here are the topics he ought to avoid.

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Romney is likely to bring up last month's lackluster jobs report, which showed that in June, black unemployment rose from 13.6 to 14.4 percent.

It's fair game, but if he looks to peg black unemployment to Obama's policies -- even though black unemployment has exceeded the national average by 3.7 to 6.9 points over the last decade -- he should be prepared to unveil a plan to bring the black unemployment rate in line with the national average, or he's not very likely to have a receptive audience.

Same-Sex Marriage

Romney would also be wise to leave same-sex marriage out of his pitch to black voters. Although polls show that African Americans oppose same-sex marriage at a rate higher than other Democratic constituencies, the gap is narrowing. And now that Obama and the NAACP endorse same-sex marriage, opposing it is quickly becoming a political loser.

The Mormon Church

Romney shouldn't have to explain his Mormon faith or the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although the LDS church didn't allow black men to hold the priesthood until 1978 -- when Romney was 31 -- he's no more accountable for that than Obama is for the sometimes controversial ministry of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

But if he brings it up, Romney should be ready to offer a little more insight on race relations than his usual story about pulling over to weep after hearing on his car radio that his church rescinded its discriminatory practice.

The Ask

And Romney shouldn't ask for anything other than an opportunity to listen and be heard.

Overwhelmingly, black voters still admire and support President Obama, and there's almost nothing Romney can say in one speech that would move those votes into his column in 2012.