MASON CITY, Iowa - An Iowa billboard is creating huge amounts of controversy, drawing criticism even from the group that put it up in the first place.
The billboard depicts President Barack Obama alongside two of history’s most hated villains, Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin.
Under each picture is the word “Change" and the phrase "Radical leaders prey on the fearful & naive."
The North Iowa Tea Party paid for the sign, which it claims is not disrespectful. Other Iowa tea party members disagree.
“I think it really does an injustice to the people who suffered and died under Stalin and Adolf Hitler,” said Ryan Rhodes, an Iowa Tea Partier, “and making that comparison's not really fair.”
Experts say this is a calculated attack on the polarizing president.
“This is called 'negative association,' so you associate someone that you don't like with a very negative caricature,” said Diane Bystrom, a professor of Political Science at Iowa State University.
The Iowa Tea Party said they have confiscated similar signs at rallies, but their state director sent a very different message earlier this week.
John White told Radio Iowa that everything Obama has done so far in office is in “lock step with what Hitler did in his day.”
This is a message that many, including some Iowa tea partiers, find disrespectful.
“I think that's the more troubling thing right now is that
no matter if you agree or not with the president, I think there
needs to be a certain respect for the office of the
presidency,” said Rhodes, “and that certainly isn't
comparing the president with Hitler.”
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