The presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, got an earful from possible voters in Philadelphia on Thursday, as he attended an education forum.
At least Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, wasn’t wearing a Boston Celtics jersey during his appearance in West Philadelphia, a section of the city that is beset with economic and education problems.
But given his welcome from local Democratic leaders, it wouldn’t have mattered.
Romney had heavy security and the block surrounding a charter school where he spoke was cut off from the public.
Kenny Gamble, the famous music producer who is associated with the charter school, told Romney that despite his record for improving education in Massachusetts, Romney had a lot to learn in Philadelphia.
“Governor, you’ve got to go back and remember how the whole concept of education has failed. You go back a few years, even in Boston, when they were trying to integrate schools and they had young black children going to white neighborhoods and they were throwing eggs at the little black children, spitting on them, calling them all kinds of names, Gamble said.
Outside, prominent local Democrats Michael Nutter, the city’s mayor, and Seth Williams, its district attorney, chided Romney in front of protesters in a heavily Democratic city battling with a GOP-controlled state legislature.
“I don’t know that a one-day experience in the heart of West Philadelphia is enough to get you ready to run the United States of America,” Nutter said.
Inside the school, Romney debated the merits of class size with some of the educators invited to a private meeting.
The event was unusual in that Romney chose to appear in an area where he’s expected to get few votes this fall.
He also spoke with students inside the school and took part in some classroom activities.
After the event, the AP reported that Gamble was asked if he thought Romney understood the black community.
"I don't know yet,” Gamble replied.