WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign insists a “scheduling conflict” is behind the president’s decision to skip this year’s NAACP convention.
“We declined a few weeks ago and [the] NAACP was pleased [Vice President Joe Biden] was able to attend,” a campaign official told CNN.
But the president’s schedule for Thursday, released Wednesday evening, appears to be wide open with the exception of his daily briefing with senior aides and advisers.
Hilary Shelton, the NAACP Washington Bureau director and a senior vice president in the organization, said the White House never confirmed a visit.
“They were trying to work out something,” Shelton said. As to why Obama could not attend, he added, “Something could not be moved. Something was crucial. And unfortunately, they couldn’t move it in a way they could get him here this week.”
Obama addressed the convention in 2009 and last year, first lady Michelle Obama spoke to the group.
The White House and Obama’s re-election campaign have been hit with questions on the matter especially after presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney addressed the group Wednesday.
The former Massachusetts governor was booed during his remarks when he vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature health care law.
Biden is scheduled to deliver the conference’s keynote address Thursday at the annual convention in Houston, Texas.
Thursday is the final day of the five-day conference.
By Dan Lothian – CNN White House Correspondent
CNN Political Reporter Shannon Travis contributed to this report
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