Home / Views & Opinion / Internet in uproar over allegedly staged photo-op by Paul Ryan in Ohio Catholic soup kitchen
Internet in uproar over allegedly staged photo-op by Paul Ryan in Ohio Catholic soup kitchen

Internet in uproar over allegedly staged photo-op by Paul Ryan in Ohio Catholic soup kitchen

Maybe the Catholic bishops' comments about the unGodliness of Ryan's budget got to the campaign.  Maybe Ryan really was interested in helping the poor.  Which of the two Ryan himself actually intended is up in the air as an attempt to possibly do a good deed has backfired again on the campaign.   What's the hullabaloo about?

Apparently the Ryan campaign made an unannounced visit to the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen in Canfield, OH–after the kitchen had gotten done serving , done the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen for the day.   The Washington Post in its initial article made the observation–very carefully–that the dishes Ryan was washing and his wife were lugging around appeared to be clean.  In its second article about the event, WaPo added:

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.”

Because of Ryan's budget, which makes it more difficult to help the poor, Antal went on to say that Paul Ryan may have adversely affected donations coming into the charity.   But the real question, according to BagNews is this:

Because there have been so many allegations made about the Romney/Ryan campaign and truth telling, my question is: did Ryan in fact stage his involvement in the clean up of the meal, and to what extent did the press collude with the campaign to make it appear so?

While the press was welcome to snap all the photos they liked of Ryan washing clean? dishes, the press was not allowed to overhear Ryan's exchange with what appeared to be some homeless individuals after the photo op.   As this article goes to press, in the last hour articles from the Daily Kos, CBS, Business Insider, and Crooks and Liars are heatedly arguing that Ryan faked the whole thing.


The head of a charity in northeastern Ohio where Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and his family were photographed cleaning dishes over the weekend said Monday that Ryan was not authorized to be on the premises and "did nothing" while there…The Romney campaign said the visit was designed to highlight the work of soup kitchen volunteers. As the video above shows, Ryan greeted five or six adults volunteers and two children before going back to the kitchen.

Daily Kos:

So this is pretty crazy: on Saturday, Paul Ryan planned to have a photo op washing dishes and serving food at a Youngstown, Ohio soup kitchen … but by the time he arrived, the food had already been served and the dishes had apparently already been done. So he did what any politician in need of a photo op would do—he washed them again, for the benefit of the cameras.

Crooks and Liars–"Paul Ryan's Compassionate Conservatism"

Let me get this straight: Ryan wants a photo op to help catapult over the conventional wisdom that he and his running mate do note care about 47 percent of the Americans, so he goes to a soup kitchen, but only after all those pesky poor people are no longer there?  Nice.  And then he deigns to speak to the few "homeless-appearing" (whatever that means) individuals still in the facility, but he doesn't want the press to hear what they're talking about.  Maybe he's afraid they'll bring up his proposed cuts to Medicaid. Or cuts to funding to keep homeless vets off the street. Or any of the social safety net programs for the needy, lest he creates a "culture of dependency", 'cause boy, that would be awkward. Still, you can't let a good photo op go to waste, can you?

Business Insider:

It seemed like a good idea at the time…

The Romney campaign apparently spotted an opportunity to make VP candidate  Paul Ryan appear helpful  and caring last week at a soup kitchen in Youngstown, Ohio.

But the head of the charity wasn't happy about the campaign's intrusion–or  about a staged photo-op in the kitchen in which Ryan "washed" some clean  dishes.  And after the VP candidate left, he vented to the media.

Finally, the New York Times had this to say in its article "GOP Focuses on Crucial Ohio Votes:"

Afterward, Mr. Ryan stopped with his wife and children at a nearby soup kitchen. The family put on aprons and washed several large pans, though they did not appear to need washing, according to a pool reporter. There also was no one to serve at the soup kitchen, as breakfast had ended.

According to the Romney campaign, the reason why Ryan stopped at the soup kitchen after the meal had been served and everything cleaned up was because the breakfast service had ended during the town hall at Youngstown State.



About Dakota O'Leary

Dakota O'Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. She is a contributing writer focusing on eschatology, biblical prophecy, and general religious news. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week. We like to call her "our in-house Biblical prophecy expert" as her articles on eschatology have received over 200,000 views on God Discussion.
  • Deborah_B

    Can't wait to hear what the Nuns on the Bus have to say about this one!

  • What a disgusting display of opportunism.

    I really find it appalling that Mr Ryan felt he needed to lie to us, to show us how much he wan't us to believe he cares about the poor..

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  • Lar5

    Pure bull. A stupid photo op that back fired and proved Ryan is a jerk. Too dumb to even find a dirty pot to clean

  • Peter

    I wish the Nuns would speak up but I have my doubts. They've been pretty quiet lately, at least I haven't read anything. I think the Vatican got to them and might have threatened ex-communication, but I don't know. I hope every American sees the Romney/Ryan for what they are, but it's doubtful.

  • Where is the Obama campaign? Are they all asleep? Why aren't the supporters of Obama as aggressive as Romney supporters?

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