Condoleezza Rice appeared at a fundraiser in Nashville for U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn on Monday, and members of the Occupy Nashville protests took notice.
A group of about 12 of the protesters moved from War Memorial Plaza to the area of the Hermitage Hotel nearby where Rice, former U.S. secretary of state and national security adviser, was featured at a midday gathering in the ballroom.
One of the protesters said he began on the sidewalk on the side of the street where the hotel is but was asked by security to move. The group then protested across the street.
Inside the hotel, a campaign spokeswoman confirmed that Rice was at the event but that no media were allowed.
“The people or the profits,” the protesters chanted. “We are the 99 percent.”
A few of the protesters were asked to explain what exactly their reason was for protesting Rice.
“Condoleezza Rice has definitely become part of the 1 percent. I’m a representative of the 99 percent, the people,” said Joshua Bible Dufour, who said he is from Long Beach, Calif., and is passing through Nashville, spending four days in the state capital.
“Our representatives have forgotten about the people, and we’re reminding them that we’re here and that we can get together and we’re not going to let them get away with what they’re doing anymore.”
Dufour said Bible is his mother’s maiden name.
“This is the Volunteer State, and I came to help volunteer for the movement,” he said.
David Reason, an independent contractor and property manager from Kentucky, said he has been camping out with the protesters.
“We’re here to speak to Condoleezza Rice because of the money and corruption that is brought from the thousands and millions of dollars they generate from these exorbitant fundraisers,” Reason said. “I think it’s like $250 a cup of coffee or $1,000 a plate inside the Hermitage right now.
“These guys have no clue about what the people on the Plaza are going through, the people that lost their houses through unjust repos.”
“She’s part of the problem,” said a man who would identify himself only as Michael, 42, who lives in Nashville. “She’s the one that helped put us in this mess in her eight years in office under George Bush. She helped put us in this situation. She backed up the president in all the decisions that got the country into this shape.”
Michael said he has been laid off from a company in Nashville.
Blackburn, a Republican, represents the 7th District, which currently runs from the suburbs of Nashville to the suburbs of Memphis. First elected to Congress in 2002, Blackburn would be considered a heavy favorite for re-election to Congress.
Rice, a professor at Stanford University, has also been promoting her latest book, No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington.