From the LA Times, the president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society soup kitchen in Mahoning County, Ohio caused a revision to be printed to the original story that ran in the Times. These updates shed more light on the comments from the local charity’s head. It also confirms my opinion that ALL POLITICIANS (did I say ALL POLITICIANS?) should refrain from appearing at non-profits (as 501(3)(c) organizations should remain neutral) for cheesy photo-ops.
There is nothing wrong with hanging out and talking to the persons served and the volunteers but trying to dawn some apron and “volunteering” just doesn’t cut it for me and most I would be. Maybe lending that ear from some genuine listening is more what should occur as most people, especially those who recognize the candidate(s), know they are campaigning.
In any event, the clarifications are necessary as stories like these are used to distort – on both sides no less – and have a negative impact on the importance of the campaigning and the poliotical process in general.
Read the exerpt below:
They showed up there and they did not have permission,” Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, told CBS News. “They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.”
“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,” Antal, who was not present during Ryan’s visit, said.
Antal has since elaborated on his remarks, telling NBC News on Tuesday that his accusation that Ryan contributed nothing was in comparison to the kitchen’s other volunteers.
Once inside, Ryan, his wife and three children talked to volunteers, then donned aprons and tackled dishes that, according to the pool report, were already clean, though Antal says Ryan did clean dirty dishes.
“You know, I spent a summer washing dishes,” Ryan said, recounting the calluses he’d get on his fingers.Ryan also talked with homeless individuals outside the kitchen, but members of the media were barred from listening in on those discussions.
The Wisconsin congressman’s appearance has Antal worried for other reasons.
“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations. It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it,” he told the Washington Post, which noted that the self-described “independent” has nonetheless voted in Democratic primaries for 17 years. “I can’t afford to lose funding from these private individuals. If this was the Democrats, I’d have the same exact problem.”