Visiting San Diego for a fundraiser, the leader of this summer’s 2,700-mile Nuns on the Bus tour said it was “very clear” that Mitt Romney is out of touch with Americans in the wake of his remarks about “the 47 percent.”
“I was horrified that a candidate for president would have that view of half the country that he proposes he wants to lead,” Sister Simone Campbell said of Romney after a tape showed him saying that Obama backers don’t pay taxes and “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
“[Romney] showed that he has no idea of how hard people work for minimum wage—how hard they struggle … to get to their job and how difficult it is to keep both a roof over their family’s head and food on the table,” she said.
Speaking at an afternoon news conference in front of the County Administration Center, Campbell said the Republican nominee’s comments at a spring fundraiser in Florida was why her group has issued an invitation to both presidential tickets to come to Cincinnati Oct. 9 “and meet some of the people we met on the bus.”
Campbell’s bus tour of nine states and 32 towns brought major media attention to her Roman Catholic group’s opposition to the House budget plan of Rep. Paul Ryan, now the GOP vice-presidential nominee.
“Incredibly,” she said of Ryan, “he wants to stop social service programs in order to give bigger tax cuts to those at the top.”
Campbell gained notoriety with a speech at the Democratic National Convention, where she received a standing ovation, and earlier TV appearances, including a visit to The Colbert Report on Comedy Central.
She spoke quickly, pausing only for planes and helicopters flying overhead while local labor leaders hovered nearby. The event was sponsored by the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council.
Asked about the “disconnect” in America—the tensions in society—Campbell said: “We’re going to lose our democracy if we stay isolated and fearful. So we have to insist that our politicians do right by our nation.”
She no longer rides the famed bus, she said, and came here alone for a fundraiser in La Jolla, also Romney’s vacation home. The event’s location and host were not immediately available.
“I’m the lone wolf right now—here in San Diego,” she said. “We have … magnets to go on cars because we couldn’t afford to keep the bus—so everyone can be a Nun on the Bus.”
The two-week tour sponsored by a group called NETWORK, for which she is executive director, ended in early July. But Monday, she will join New York City nuns planning a Nuns on the Ferry—to Staten Island.
Campbell, a one-time attorney educated in Los Angeles and Davis, remains startled by her new celebrity status when people recognized her on the flight to Lindbergh Field.
She said the summer tour was intended to educate people about the nation’s economic problems—and her group’s plans to solve them.
“And I’m really glad to be here in San Diego to have a chance to lift that up,” she said, displaying literature about the “faithful budget,” which she said is summarized as “reasonable revenue for responsible programs.”
She said she would continue campaigning for her causes through the election, but said the drive wouldn’t stop there.
“Nov. 6 is Election Day. It’s a key date for all of us in our nation,” she said. “We have very clear choices this time. But Nov. 7 is equally important. We cannot be couch potatoes in our nation.”