Paul Ryan & campaign bum rush Ohio Catholic charity soup kitchen for Fake Photo Op (fauxtaux)
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 15, 2012
Charity president unhappy about Paul Ryan soup kitchen ‘photo op’
By Felicia Sonmez , Updated: October 15, 2012
The head of a northeast Ohio charity says that the Romney campaign last week “ramrodded their way” into the group’s Youngstown soup kitchen so that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan could get his picture taken washing dishes in the dining hall.
Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, said that he was not contacted by the Romney campaign ahead of the Saturday morning visit by Ryan, who stopped by the soup kitchen after a town hall at Youngstown State University.
“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.”
He added: “The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”
Ryan had stopped by the soup kitchen for about 15 minutes on his way to the airport after his Saturday morning town hall in Youngstown. By the time he arrived, the food had already been served, the patrons had left, and the hall had been cleaned.
Upon entering the soup kitchen, Ryan, his wife and three young children greeted and thanked several volunteers, then donned white aprons and offered to clean some dishes. Photographers snapped photos and TV cameras shot footage of Ryan and his family washing pots and pans that did not appear to be dirty.
According to a Romney aide not authorized to speak publicly about the event, the campaign followed its usual protocol for impromptu, on-the-road stops by candidates: A staffer was dispatched to the St. Vincent De Paul Society ahead of Ryan’s visit Saturday morning and spoke with a woman in charge on site, who said that it would be fine for the congressman to stop by. The campaign did not contact Antal ahead of the visit.
The woman on site told the Romney staffer that some of the volunteers had already left, but that most were happy to remain until Ryan arrived, according to the aide. After Ryan left the soup kitchen, the woman approached a campaign staffer and expressed gratitude for Ryan’s visit, the aide said.
Chris Maloney, Ohio communications director for the Romney campaign, said that the visit by Ryan had been intended to highlight the work of the soup kitchen volunteers.
“Our campaign and Congressman Ryan were pleased to bring attention to the meaningful charitable contributions the St. Vincent De Paul Society makes to people in need,” Maloney said.
Antal, a self-described independent voter, said that he “can’t fault my volunteers” for letting the campaign in but said that the campaign “didn’t go through the proper channels.”
He noted that the soup kitchen relies on funding from private individuals who might reconsider their support if it appears that the charity is favoring one political candidate over another.
“I can’t afford to lose funding from these private individuals,” he said. “If this was the Democrats, I’d have the same exact problem.”
He added that the incident had caused him “all kinds of grief” and that regardless of whether Ryan had intended to serve food to patrons or wash dishes, he would not have allowed the visit to take place.
“Had they asked for permission, it wouldn’t have been granted. … But I certainly wouldn’t have let him wash clean pans, and then take a picture,” Antal said.
Reporters barred from covering Paul Ryan exchange with homeless Ohioans
By Felicia Sonmez , Updated: October 13, 2012
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Paul Ryan visited a soup kitchen here Saturday on his way to the airport, but by the time the GOP vice presidential nominee and his family had arrived shortly before noon, the grits, sausage and doughnuts had been served, the hall was empty of patrons and the volunteers appeared to have already cleaned up.
When Ryan did talk to some men who appeared to be homeless, as he did when he left the venue, reporters were not allowed to listen in on the exchange.
The visit by Ryan came after a town hall meeting Saturday morning at Youngstown State University.
After greeting and thanking a handful of volunteers from St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Canfield, Ohio — who said they typically visit the St. Vincent DePaul Society every Saturday and serve food from 10 to 11:30 a.m. — Ryan, his wife and their young children headed to the kitchen, donned white aprons and offered to clean up some dishes.
Ryan stood at the sink and took some large metal pans that did not appear to be dirty, soaped them up and rinsed them, remarking as the cameras clicked and the TV cameras rolled that he had spent a summer washing dishes when he was younger.
“We had a Hobart, though, which was — you get calluses on your fingers because it’s so hot,” he said, referring to the Hobart industrial dishwashing machine.
A few minutes into the dishwashing, reporters were escorted out of the building and onto a press bus.
As Ryan exited the building some minutes later, a small group of people, some of whom appeared to be homeless, seemed to engage Ryan, and the candidate stopped for several moments and spoke with them.
The campaign escorted photographers from the bus for Ryan’s exchange, but reporters were not allowed to do so. Ryan’s motorcade took off for the airport a few moments later.
A campaign aide said that the exchange was not open to press because it was an impromptu conversation.
Ten volunteers had served 180 people at the soup kitchen before Ryan arrived Saturday, the aide said.
Spokesman Michael Steel said that the visit by the Ryans to the soup kitchen “emphasized the importance of charities and volunteerism to civil society.”
“Breakfast service at the soup kitchen had ended during the town hall at Youngstown State,” he said when asked why Ryan had stopped by the venue after food had been served.
This post has been updated since it was first published.