Angry Republicans target soup kitchen where Paul Ryan’s phony photo-op went awry

In THIS POST  the other day, I told you about Paul Ryan and his family pretending to volunteer at a soup kitchen in Youngstown, Ohio, for a purely phony publicity photo.

Well, the political embarrassment incurred by Ryan in that episode has prompted some Republicans to lash out against the soup kitchen, as we see HERE:

Ryan may have suffered a few late-night jokes, but the fallout for the soup kitchen appears to be far more bruising. Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, confirmed that donors have begun an exodus in protest over Ryan’s embarrassment. The monetary losses have been big. “It appears to be a substantial amount,” Antal said. “You can rest assured there has been a substantial backlash.”

Antal says he can’t give an actual dollar amount. “I can’t say how much [in] donations we lost,” he said. “Donations are a private matter with our organization.”

Antal’s charity represents the kind of organization that conservative Republicans might champion. But that was before the Ryan incident went viral a few days ago. According to The Washington Post, Antal said that the moment should never have happened. He told the newspaper that the photo-op was not authorized and that the campaign had “ramrodded their way” inside.

Ryan supporters have now targeted Antal and his soup kitchen, Antal said, including making hundreds of angry phone calls. Some members of Antal’s volunteer staff have had to endure the barrage as well, he said. “The sad part is a lot of [the callers] want to hide behind anonymity,” he said, adding that if someone leaves their name and number he has tried to return their call. In addition to phone calls, people have posted a few choice words on the charity’s Facebook wall, including statements like “I hope you lose your tax [sic] emempt status,” Anyone who is thinking about donations to you should think twice” and “Shame on you Brian Antal!”



  1. If Obama loses, you will see protests ten or twenty times uglier than anything we saw with Occupy Wall Street. There may be rioting in the streets in some cities.

    And you, Pat, swivel your puny spotlight onto Republicans who protest by not writing checks to charities? How extraordinary.


  2. Paul Lyan should reimburse the soup kitchen for lost donations and the abuse from his immature teabagger groupies.

  3. I am sure that Mr. Antal has no political motivation at all. Right?

    Watch out for the squirrel. Maybe we should be asking why the numbers of people seeking help at charity soup kitchens like those run by St. Vincent De Paul are at an all time high?


    Speaking Tuesday morning with NBC News, Antal said he was not on-site when Ryan was at the soup kitchen and attributes his earlier comments that the dishes were clean when Ryan washed them to hearing the details second-hand from a volunteer.

    Following a town hall meeting in Youngstown, OH on Saturday, Ryan — joined by his wife and three kids — made a quick stop at the St. Vincent De Paul Society shortly after the homeless people had breakfast. There were only volunteers left inside the building by the time Ryan arrived, as his public event ran longer than expected.

    After arriving at the soup kitchen — where Secret Service agents and staff had gathered before the motorcade arrived — the Ryan family put on white aprons and proceeded to wash dishes for several minutes as cameras and still photographers snapped photos nearby.

    In response to questions about Antal’s comments to the Washington Post that Ryan “did nothing” while at the soup kitchen, Antal said his words were mischaracterized. He told NBC News in that Ryan did very little work only compared to the larger context of Saturday morning, when the kitchen fed 180 homeless people breakfast. Antal conceded that Ryan did wash several dirty dishes.

    The head of the charity said a campaign aide who had sought permission for the visit prior to Ryan’s visit was granted access by a volunteer, rather than any person of authority at the soup kitchen. The volunteer, Antal said, had no authority to allow or deny the Republican vice presidential candidate’s stop.

    Ryan has made several quick stops that are unannounced to the general public in the past while campaigning across the country. In response to questions about the stop in the battleground state of Ohio that has raised questions in the media, campaign spokesman Michael Steel said: “It was a great opportunity to highlight the importance of volunteerism and local charities.”

    Antal says he is speaking to the media because the organization is non-political and is concerned that being connected to the campaign could negatively impact their support.

    The confusion, though, hasn’t stopped Democrats from trying to turn Ryan’s stop into a political issue.

    The Washington Post posted an updated article online Tuesday morning noting: “The head of an Ohio charity who criticized Mitt Romney’s campaign for staging a ‘photo-op’ at one of the group’s soup kitchens has consistently voted in Democratic primaries.”

  4. Tensions are running high on both sides. In a tight race we can expect all kinds of shenanigans.

    Pile Of Manure Dumped On An Ohio Democratic Headquarters

    Man arrested for tossing voter registration forms in Virginia

    Pennsylvania councilman, 19, jailed after stealing Romney campaign signs

    More Obama supporters threaten to kill Romney if he becomes president

  5. doc: Why am I not surprised that you would defend the cretins who have lashed out against the soup kitchen?

    Those are your kind of people, aren’t they?

    As for the Democrats turning Ryan’s phony gesture into a political issue, I don’t suppose the right-wing media (your favorite sources of information) would have done much the same if it had been Obama pretending to clean things up in the kitchen.

    You’re just being silly..

  6. Don’t be an idiot Cunningham.

    I didn’t defend anyone, I merely pointed out the entire truth, rather than the partial truth you and your press buddies like to highlight.

    And I am pretty confident that you would be all for individuals withholding contributions from a charitable organization that did not approve of the way the organization handled itself or their money.

    This guy took a foolish chance when he lashed out at Ryan without knowing the entire story. He should have been happy that one of the 5 or 10 most prominent people in the news right now would try to highlight the work his volunteers do.

  7. doc: Give me a freaking break! I wasn’t born yesterday!

    The purpose of Ryan’s photo-op was NOT to highlight the work of volunteers but to cast himself as a helpful guy who takes time from his busy campaign schedule to wash pots and pans in a soup kitchen.

    I’ve worked on campaigns, doc. I know about this kind of thing. Photo-ops invariably are intended to burnish the image of the candidate.

    I don’t know whether to attribute your misreading of this episode to naivete or craven partisanship.

  8. Sure it was a photo-op. As you pointed out, that is what a political campaign is all about.

    But it was a photo-op that was at Mr. Antal’s not for profit that was apparently arranged in advance.

    If he was smart he would have taken the publicity and made it into a positive. Instead, he tried to make a cheap shot political statement not based on fact.

    I have worked with many not for profits and been chairman of the board of 2 of them. I know that is what I would have done and would have expected that either of my executive directors would have done as well.

  9. Sorry, I didn’t answer your question. My opinion is neither based on naivete or partisanship.

  10. I did it again. Nor not or.

  11. Luke Fredrickson

    I think you included the word neither by mistake, doc.

  12. This is interesting too, although I don’t really know what it means. I guess it would help me decide how to spin an “ask” if I was soliciting a donation from a particularly group and I understood their political orientation.


  13. Give it up, doc. Wonder Boy and his handlers got caught doing a stupid photo-op. None of your nonsense undoes that fact. You’re just spouting gibberish.

  14. Stupid in you jaded political opinion.

    Whenever you tell me to give it up, I know I have gotten your old goat.

    Have a nice weekend.

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