Paul Ryan fakes photo op but his budget cuts are real

Ryan soup kitchen
Ryan soup kitchen

Paul Ryan can scrub all the soup kitchen dishes he wants—but wiping away the reality that the Romney-Ryan budget would make life even harder for struggling Americans could prove a lot harder.

The Republican vice presidential candidate stopped by the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, a Youngstown, Ohio charity,  with his family over the weekend so he could get his picture taken scrubbing pots and pans in the dining hall, the Washington Post first reported

But Brian J. Antal, president of the group, said he was not contacted by the Romney’s campaign before Ryan’s 15-minute visit on Saturday. And Antal said the unannounced visit caused a headache for his organization, which is nonpartisan.

To make matters worse, the Post reported that by the time Ryan arrived “the grits, sausage and doughnuts had been served, the hall was empty…and the volunteers appeared to have already cleaned up.”

“The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing,” Antal told the newspaper. “He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”

The New York Times  confirmed that impression. The Ryan family “put on aprons and washed several large pans though they did not appear to need washing,” the paper reported.

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne told msnbc’s Ed Schultz on Monday there’s a larger point: The photo shoot, said Dionne, was ironic, because 62% of cuts from the Republican’s budget come from programs that benefit low-income Americans. That would end up meaning even more pressure gets put on soup kitchens like the one Ryan tried to exploit.

Dionne also dished some advice to Ryan: “If you’re going to have a photo-op, do it right. Get permission from the group. Don’t cause them trouble.”

Late Update, 10/16 12:50pm: Chris Maloney, Ohio communications director for the Romney campaign, told The Washington Post:  “Our campaign and Congressman Ryan were pleased to bring attention to the meaningful charitable contributions the St. Vincent De Paul Society makes to people in need.”