Paul Ryan’s shallow ‘soup kitchen’ photo opp confirmed aloofness, rather than confounded it. You beat negatives in a political reputation with evidence, not falsehoods. Ryan’s soup kitchen photo opp got called out because it was so manufactured. Although journalists have a tolerance for being manipulated by politicians (biting the hand that feeds and all that), it eats away at their personal integrity. Thus, the soup kitchen photo opp, was a step too far. It appeared to be a set up, and they revealed it to be one. Apparently the dishes didn’t need to get done, and the actual homeless weren’t in at the time.
I can imagine his team organising the event though: they would have seen cleaning already-clean pots and pans as just a matter of timing. He would have cleaned dirty pots if he could have been there earlier – so what’s the difference? His campaign people would have avoided the homeless people though, because that is uncontrollable.
I like a good amount of uncontrollable in an election campaign – because it allows the true character of a candidate to emerge. You only refrain from uncontrollable if you don’t know PR very well (the voters give politicians credit when they’re seen faced with ordinary or ornery people), or if you are nervous about whether the candidate can hack real life. If they can’t hack real life, then they shouldn’t be a candidate.