Oops.

Campaigning in Ohio, Congressman Paul Ryan’s campaign made plans to showoff the vice-presidential candidate’s social justice side, bringing him and his family to a soup kitchen to meet some volunteers and lend a helping hand. So far, so good. But then this:

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.

The reporters were sent to the press bus when a group of men who “appeared to be homeless” approached Ryan. Photographers were sent out to capture the image, but reporters were not allowed to listen to the exchange.

The head of the soup kitchen isn’t happy with the staged photo-ops:

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.”

Whatever you pretend to do for the least of these you do for me. Or something.

Update: NBC News' First Read is reporting that Ryan, in fact, did wash some dirty pans.

Comments

J Cosgrove | 10/16/2012 - 3:07pm
''Only in synch with some who live in Briarcliff. For a guy who had 16 yrs. of Catholic schooling, for just don't seem to get it.''


A couple points.  I do not live in Briarcliff.  It is interesting that you would try to go after someone personally by saying where they lived, like that proved something.  I live in a town where half the people are blue collar workers.  When I first moved here the percentage was higher and they taught Italian in the local schools to the children of immigrants but it has become more of NYC bed room community so the percentage now is about half.

Second, maybe I get it better than some others because I read a lot.  Maybe I read the wrong stuff but I have not seen anything recommended here that would support the argument that Ryan is not on the right track for helping the poor.  I would suggest providing information to somehow counter those who many have it wrong as opposed to getting personal especially with where they might live.  I find that creepy.
Amy Ho-Ohn | 10/16/2012 - 9:41am
I think this is a little bit unreasonable. (Is it my imagination, or are Obama's supporters sounding a bit desperate lately?) Ryan's staff told him to come perform a piece of political theater for the cameras. He did what he was told. That's how campaigns work. A modern political campaign is a reality TV show. It doesn't mean he's a fraud and it doesn't mean he's an altruist. It says nothing at all about him.
John Barbieri | 10/16/2012 - 2:26pm
To: Amy Ho-Ahn at #3

Thank you once again for injecting good sense into worthless commentary about a worthless debate. These various public relations photo ops and other such nonsense tell us nothing about Ryan and Biden other than that they do whatever their handlers tell them to do. 
JOHN SULLIVAN | 10/16/2012 - 1:58pm
Please forgive the typos. You still get the point.
JOHN SULLIVAN | 10/16/2012 - 1:43pm
#10 Only in synch with some who live in Briarcliff. For a guy who had 16 yrs. of Catholic schooling, for just don't seem to get it.
J Cosgrove | 10/16/2012 - 1:30pm
''Ryan should be more concerned about how his economic plans stand up to Catholic social teaching''


Ryan's economic plans are more in sync with Catholic Social Teaching then those of the Democrats.
Joseph Nuzzi | 10/16/2012 - 1:01pm
Shameful! But what is worse to my mind is that even if he were volunteering legitimately and the photos were real it STILL misses the point. Catholic social teaching rests on two feet, not just one: one is charity - the immediate help of those in need, which we are all called to and probably have opportunities for each and every day.

The other is JUSTICE where we create systems of equity that reduce poverty and increase human dignity so that less soup kitchens will be needed. We are also all responsible for this, however, not everyone has equal opportunity to create systems of justice. But legislators, heads of industry, CEO's, etc do and they have a moral obligation to work for Justice.

Of what use is it for a politician to propose or pass legislation that decreases human dignity and then go and wash some pots? That smacks of washing the outside of the cup, as Jesus accused the pharisees of. Ryan should be more concerned about how his economic plans stand up to Catholic social teaching and less about how dirty the pot he was pretending to wash was.
Marie Rehbein | 10/16/2012 - 10:38am
Walter,

Perhaps Biden simply does not report his charitable contributions on his income tax.  Some people don't bother keeping track, you know.
Rick Fueyo | 10/16/2012 - 10:29am
And I would agree that Ryan is a fraud, but not because he exaggerates his marathon times, the amount of peaks over 14,000 feet that he climbs, or his propensity towards corporal works of mercy.
 
 
He's a fraud in cultivating an image as a deficit hawk, when he is anything but. Just the opposite. Those can be unfair to label him a Randroid in all senses, including religious ones, he certainly has been drawn into her immoral worldview and has internalized it in all its evil manifestations.  He epitomizes the GOP's preferential option for the wealthy and powerful.
Rick Fueyo | 10/16/2012 - 10:26am
Campaigning is political theater from all sides. But you're supposed to have the consent and agreement of all of the actors, and it sounds like in this case they did not.  That makes it wrong, although I would agree that it's not the largest on the scale of sins.
 
Former Florida Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham famously had work days, working a single day, or part of the day, on various tasks. He did not pretend he did the job regularly, but as part of trying to understand the job. It was also plainly political theater. But it was not misrepresented.


I will say that personally, pretensions of piety are an outsized sin.  Not sure that's what this is, but if it isn't, it borders on it.
Michael Appleton | 10/16/2012 - 6:17pm
Critics of Mr. Ryan simply don't understand his extremely tight schedule. On the day in question, his plans allowed for only two minutes of compassion.
JOHN SULLIVAN | 10/16/2012 - 8:55am
Ryan is a plain and simple fraud. Says and does anything to advance his agenda. This is another example, like his marathon time which was grossly overstated. God help us if this knucklehead wins.
JOHN SULLIVAN | 10/16/2012 - 11:26am
There's no desparation here, only amazement that Ryan (staff) stage something so poorly. He's not very good at pretending. The shirt and tie looks ridiculous in the photo. As far as the marathon time is concerned, you're absolutely correct that it doesn't rise to the level of high crime and treason, only a gross exaggeration-sub 3 hour time is extrodinary. Did he think that no one would verify, again inept at pretending. Just who is Ryan anyway?

Fraud-deception deliberately practiced. We could point some of the more substantive examples, but one's character is revealed in many some ways.
C Walter Mattingly | 10/16/2012 - 5:22am
While questioning the validity of a candidate showing up for a photo op at a charity or one for kissing babies is legitimate, a far better measurement of the concern of our two Catholic VP candidates for the upcoming term is their personal charitable contributions as reported on their tax returns. In the case of Mr. Ryan, his charitable contributions, while not especially impressive, have tended to run a little over 2% of his income annually. 
That figure is, however, over 15 times greater than that of current VP Joe Biden, which prior to his election as VP ran approximately .14 of 1% of his income for the 3 or so years prior to his vice presidential run.
And that .14 of 1% for someone making $300K a year represents not an "oops," but a pattern characteristic of a tightwad on personal financial contributions to those in need and organizations which serve them, such as the Vincent de Paul Society.
JOHN SULLIVAN | 10/16/2012 - 11:25am
There's no desparation here, only amazement that Ryan (staff) stage something so poorly. He's not very good at pretending. The shirt and tie looks ridiculous in the photo. As far as the marathon time is concerned, you're absolutely correct that it doesn't rise to the level of high crime and treason, only a gross exaggeration-sub 3 hour time is extrodinary. Did he think that no one would verify, again inept at pretending. Just who is Ryan anyway?

Fraud-deception deliberately practiced. We could point some of the more substantive examples, but one's character is revealed in many some ways.