Nuns Challenge Romney To Spend A Day With Them To Learn About Plight Of America’s Poor

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"Nuns Challenge Romney To Spend A Day With Them To Learn About Plight Of America’s Poor"

Sister Simone Campbell

The group behind the Nuns On A Bus tour that highlighted the ill-effects of the House Republican budget in congressional districts across the country is now setting its sights on the party’s presidential candidate, inviting Mitt Romney to spend a day with the nuns to learn about the plight of America’s poorest citizens.

NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, is inviting Romney to “spend a day with Catholic Sisters who work every day to meet the needs of struggling families in their communities,” according to a release. The group is specifically targeting Romney a day after his campaign released a misleading ad about welfare reform that Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK’s executive director, said “demonize[s] families in poverty” and shows Romney’s “ignorance about the challenges” the poor face in America:

Recent advertisements and statements from the campaign of Governor Romney demonize families in poverty and reflect woeful ignorance about the challenges faced by tens of millions of American families in these tough economic times,” stated Sister Simone Campbell. “We are all God’s children and equal in God’s eyes. Efforts to divide us by class or score political points at the expense of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters reveal the worst side of our country’s politics.”

Romney has endorsed the House GOP budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). It was that plan, which includes deep cuts to food stamps and other safety net programs that benefit the middle class, that NETWORK’s Nuns On A Bus tour targeted, with Campbell and other sisters blasting it as “immoral” at the tour’s conclusion in Washington D.C. Romney has also proposed massive tax cuts for the rich that would likely come at the expense of lower- and middle-class families, which would see higher taxes or significant cuts to the programs they depend on.

Those policies, Campbell told ThinkProgress, show that Romney “doesn’t have clue” about the struggles the poor face. “The fact is, his policies shift wealth to the upper class,” she said. “Yes, it hurts the middle class, but it devastates those at the margins of our society.” If Romney were to accept their invitation, Campbell said she would take him to places like St. Augustine’s in Cleveland, where food programs “provide a hand up” to the community’s neediest members. “He thinks they’re lazy,” Campbell said, in reference to Romney’s misleading welfare reform ad. “It is hard work to keep things together when you’re poor. He doesn’t have a clue. Let him talk to them, and maybe they’ll touch his heart. And his mind too.”

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Campbell said she “lives in hope” that he will accept, even if he spends only an hour with the group. “I’ll take whatever I can get,” Campbell said. “He should accept.”

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