The leader of the Nuns On A Bus tour that has criss-crossed the nation highlighting the effect the House Republican budget would have on low-income Americans said Monday that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent comments about the “47 percent” “show that he is “out of touch” and “has no idea how hard it is at the margins of our society.”
ThinkProgress spoke to Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby, in New York, where the Nuns got off the bus and onto the Staten Island ferry to highlight the GOP budget’s impacts on poverty programs in New York City. Aboard the ferry, Campbell said Romney’s comments “broke my heart” because they demonstrated his lack of knowledge about the living conditions of America’s poorest citizens:
CAMPBELL: I mean, it was shocking to me that a person who says he wants to be the leader of our nation believes that 47 percent of our country is basically lazy or dependent or indolent. That was shocking to me. But then, it broke my heart that he would be so out of touch, that he would so not know the truth of folks at the margins of our society who work so hard. And he obviously doesn’t know that if you work a minimum wage job, if you’re a child care, if you’re providing janitorial services, or if you’re a day laborer, if you work for minimum wage, you’re still in poverty. He has no idea how hard it is at the margins of our society.
The Nuns tour, which hit nine states earlier this year, was in New York to protest the House GOP budget authored by Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Even before he chose Ryan as his running mate, Romney supported the Ryan budget, which makes a majority of its spending cuts from programs that benefit the poor, including food stamps, Medicaid, and other assistance programs.
The Nuns On A Bus tour invited Romney and Ryan to join them during a stop in Ohio early in October but have yet to get an answer. But that visit, Campbell said, might be exactly what Romney needs. “That’s why we’ve invited them to come October 10 to Cincinnati, to have him listen to folks experience,” Campbell said. “Not speak, we want him to listen, to let his heart be broken by the truth of people in the U.S. That’s what he needs.”