Sisters Speak Out
For the past two days Mitt Romney and his campaign have busied themselves with their latest false attack against the president — the allegation that President Obama “gutted” the 1996 welfare reform by giving states additional flexibility in how they run their programs. In Romney’s telling, welfare recipients now can just sit back and collect checks forever without even having to try and find a job. This charge is of course completely false, hypocritical (Romney himself asked for even greater flexibility back in 2005), and full of racial overtones.
President Clinton slammed Romney, calling the attack “disappointing” and “not true.” Fact checkers gave it four pinocchios and said it was a “pants on fire” lie. Reporters called it “mind-boggling” and “a huge and shameless deception,” among many other things.
Now an even more powerful messenger is speaking out: nuns. The same group of nuns who recently toured the country to denounce the Romney-Ryan budget’s deep cuts to programs for those most in need is now calling out Romney:
“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 of course 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 — or both.
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.”
But these nuns are not just talkers; they’re doers. And now they’ve invited Mitt Romney, who famously said he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” to come spend a day with the Catholic Sisters who work hard each and every day to serve those most in need.
If Romney were to accept their invitation, Campbell said she would take him to places like St. Augustin’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 refused to tell ThinkProgress whether he’d take the nuns up on their invite. 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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