A Lesson in Bad Optics

This is so shameless, rude, crass, douchey, and fake it leaves me damn near speechless.

Paul Ryan posed for a photo-op while cleaning a pot at a Youngstown, Ohio soup kitchen on Saturday. And that may sound like a kind gesture until you read what really happened.

Brian J. Antag, 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,” Antag 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.

The pot Paul Ryan was seen cleaning in the photo was already clean.

Because of Paul Ryan’s impromptu visit, the president of the soup kitchen is reportedly concerned he may lose funding from private donors if it even appears that he endorsed a candidate. And Paul Ryan did not have his permission to shoot a photo-op during his visit. A visit wherein he “did nothing.”

Thanks a lot, Paul Ryan.

The sick irony is that Paul Ryan’s policies, if they were ever implemented, would more than likely send more people to the very same soup kitchen he endangered today.

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  • Victor_the_Crab

    Maybe that was their plan all along. To promote the soup kitchen as a potential growth business of theirs.

  • drsquid

    As a result, we’re trying to get #PaulRyanCharityWork trending on Twitter. Just a quick summary of an utterly useless and/or counterproductive activity that can be photo-opped to show how you’re “helping the poor”. Like donating diapers and formula to the local middle school. Or giving a copy of Atlas Shrugged with every plate of stew at the shelter.

  • mrbrink

    Sounds like a violation of the Constitution’s exact text of the 3rd amendment:

    No right wing douche bags shall, in time of elections be quartered in any house, soup kitchen, or brothel, without the consent of Owners in the 47%, nor in time of war mongering, but in a manner to be prescribed by the common law of you’re fucking my shit up right now.

    Paul Ryan took charge of a situation already well under control. That’s so Romney/Ryan. Serving the needs of no one.

  • agrazingmoose

    I couldn’t hate this guy any more. Really, it is not possible.

  • muselet

    This is so shameless, rude, crass, douchey, and fake it leaves me damn near speechless.

    Me, too.

    But …

    “They showed up there and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.” Fine. But why didn’t a supervisor tell Paul Ryan and his hangers-on to get lost? There were no supervisory personnel in the building, only low-level volunteers? No supervisor was reachable by phone? Really?

    Call me a cynic (I’ve been called worse, and I freely admit I could be quite wrong about this), but it sounds to me like Brian Antag got a call from his organization’s tax attorney after the photo op was over.

    –alopecia

    • ninjaf

      According to an article I read on this, an anonymous campaign staffer said they called ahead and spoke to a volunteer in charge at the site who gave them permission to stop by. By the time they got there, the food had been served, the hall cleaned up, and the last few volunteers were hanging around doing the last bit of cleaning and waiting to meet him.

      So, someone at the site supposedly gave them permission (who must be a R/R supporter?) and didn’t know or didn’t follow the rules. I wouldn’t think getting the OK from an onsite volunteer would be sufficient to invade like that, but what do I know?

  • bphoon

    Reminds me of a GWB surprise visit to Iraq at Thanksgiving of, if I recall correctly, 2003. The photo was of the president “serving” turkey to troops at a chow hall. The video showed him picking up a platter of turkey, pictures snapping, him setting the platter down and moving on.

    Shameless use of, in GWB’s case, troops whom he had put needlessly in harm’s way and, in Ryan’s case, the poor and hopeless he has no intention of helping in any real way for political gain.

    • ninjaf

      Just another version of “Mission Accomplished.”

  • rikyrah

    this totally sums up who they are .