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.
According to a Romney aide not authorized to speak publicly about the event, the campaign followed its usual protocol for impromptu, on-the-road stops by candidates: A staffer was dispatched to the St. Vincent De Paul Society ahead of Ryan’s visit Saturday morning and spoke with a woman in charge on site, who said that it would be fine for the congressman to stop by. The campaign did not contact Antal ahead of the visit.
The woman on site told the Romney staffer that some of the volunteers had already left, but that most were happy to remain until Ryan arrived, according to the aide. After Ryan left the soup kitchen, the woman approached a campaign staffer and expressed gratitude for Ryan’s visit, the aide said.
Chris Maloney, Ohio communications director for the Romney campaign, said that the visit by Ryan had been intended to highlight the work of the soup kitchen volunteers.