Political photo-opportunities — photo-ops, for short — are a time-honored staple on the campaign trail.
The routine goes like this: The candidate’s aides seize upon an opportunity to have their boss photographed while doing something that presumably bespeaks a certain character trait — helpfulness, kindness, manliness, tenderness or some other kind of -ness.
But photo-ops sometimes can backfire, making the candidate look foolish, awkward or out of touch. History is full of such examples. Just ask the senior George Bush, or John Kerry, or Michael Dukakis, or any of countless other victims of such misfortune.
And now such a fate has befallen Paul Ryan, as we see HERE:
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.
THIS OTHER ACCOUNT of the matter is just too snarky to not share with you:
The campaign claimed Ryan was there to draw attention to the fabulous work done by volunteers, and certainly wasn’t intended to create the (false) impression that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan love poors and homelesses and sick children and other gross 47 percent moochers like that.