July 14th, 2010
04:02 PM ET
4 years ago

Report: Controversial Tea Party billboard covered


(CNN) - A controversial Mason City, Iowa billboard that featured President Barack Obama next to images of Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin was papered over Wednesday, according to a report by the Mason City Globe Gazette.

The billboard went up last week, the local newspaper reported, and was ordered and paid for by the North Iowa Tea Party. The billboard showed Obama underneath the label "Democrat Socialism," Hitler under the label "National Socialism," and Lenin under the label "Marxist Socialism." The word "change," one of Obama's trademark slogans from his White House run, appeared beneath each of the images. And the phrase "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve" was written across the bottom of the billboard.

The North Iowa Tea Party, the local Tea Party group behind the billboard, has not responded to requests for comment.

In a phone interview with CNN, Ryan Rhodes, a representative of the Iowa Tea Party, emphasized that his larger, statewide organization was not behind the billboard. Rhodes said that the billboard caused "a lot of outcry" amongst Iowa Tea Party groups and activists as word spread that the billboard had gone up.

"It detracts from the message we're trying to promote which is freedom and not fear," Rhodes told CNN. The Tea Party activist added that the billboard did an "injustice to the cause we're trying to promote which is American exceptionalism."

"None of us control one another," Rhodes said of the loose network of Tea Party activists and groups in Iowa. "But we do try to communicate with one another." He suggested that the North Iowa Tea Party's decision to put up the billboard was the result of a breakdown in communication with the larger Tea Party network in Iowa.

He added, "we discourage inflammatory billboards" but would have no problem with billboards with educational messages.

Rhodes said his organization, the Iowa Tea Party, is affiliated with the national Tea Party Patriots organization, and that his responsibilities include communicating with and coordinating between Tea Party groups across Iowa.

Updated: 4:23 p.m.


Filed under: Iowa • Popular Posts • President Obama • Tea Party movement
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. get real

    Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve – sounds more like a description of Cheney.

    July 14, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Luke Brown

    Just one more reminder of the kind of people these Tea Party types really are. I am sure America's enemies take pleasure in seeing how little these people respect the Presidency.

    July 14, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. Irma in North Carolina

    It just goes to show that this group is nothing but a bunch of racist and their tea party girl who started all this. Any person who disgraces the President of the USA like this should serve jail time. May be then they would keep their mouth shut.

    July 14, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Dennis

    Rightttttttttttttttt................That is exactly what you are trying to promote, lies and fear. Your true colors are starting to come out daily. You're a movement spawned by dangerous wingnuts.

    July 14, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Bob(Illinois)

    The Tea Party 'nutters' have some truly disgusting members!

    ""None of us control one another," Rhodes said of the loose network of Tea Party activists and groups in Iowa. "But we do try to communicate with one another." He suggested that the North Iowa Tea Party's decision to put up the billboard was the result of a breakdown in communication with the larger Tea Party network in Iowa."

    No, it's a complete MENTAL breakdown!

    July 14, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. American Patriot - a "real" tea partier

    Radical leaders do prey on the fearful and naive. How else did Bush push through all the nonsense he did?

    July 14, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. judy

    Is this an example of what republicans think?

    July 14, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Seems to me the message on that billboard was spot-on–why was it taken down?

    July 14, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    "It detracts from the message we're trying to promote which is freedom and not fear," Rhodes told CNN. The Tea Party activist added that the billboard did an "injustice to the cause we're trying to promote which is American exceptionalism."

    Ahh yes, American exceptionalism. It's OK for us to torture people. It's OK to invade 2 countries who never attacked us. It's OK for us to have nukular weapons, but no other country should. We don't need universal healthcare like every other civilized country on the planet. And so on and so on. Two things about Americans: they're generally pear-shaped and they're always right. Have a nice day!

    July 14, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Gil

    Just more sick teabugger hypocrites who don't have anything better to do than hate! Disgusting movement and people! Morons basically!

    July 14, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. Nancy, CA

    Real nice people, those folks in the Tea Party, aren't they???

    July 14, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. hobart

    >it did an "injustice to the cause we're trying to promote which is American exceptionalism."

    Earth to Rhodes: A poster placing Obama's image with those of Hitler and Lenin did a lot more than just hurt your cause. It dishonestly portrays our President as being somehow similar to Hitler and Lenin. It's an absolute lie, and you all damn well know it! Shame on you! It demeans the Office of the Presidency and has no place in our political discourse. Yet Tea Party posters, signs, pamphlets and speeches absolutely overflow with this precise lie.

    Why does the Tea Party hate America?

    July 14, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Video Guy

    When are these Tea Party folks going to learn what Socialism real means.

    July 14, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Andrew Steiner

    Ahhhh... the Tea Party. Have we come to expect anything else from this hateful-fringe group? Their values are a mixture of hatred and fear, with some ignorance and stupidity on the side. How pathetic. They know no shame.

    July 14, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. No Lie

    The board spoketh the truth, Wake up America. or should I say comrades.

    July 14, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Texas Granny

    Folks, we ALL need to take a step back and look at what is going on in this country. The hatred & divisiveness is reaching a truly scary level. Aren't we ALL human beings?? Can't we treat each other with some respect? We can have our differences, but can't we at least be civil to each other? I truly fear for the lives my grandchildren & their children (etc) will be facing if we don't stop all this hateful behavior. People like to point fingers at some of the waring factions in other countries & talk about how "uncivilized" they are.... but we're headed the exact same direction. It's time to stop the finger pointing, stop the hatred, stop the holier-than-thou attitudes..... we need to start being civil again ourselves.

    July 14, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. Sharron

    This is why I do not support the Tea Party, there are to many Hate Groups involved, to many racists.......this is why I will not support any Republican because they cater to the Tea Party and will not stand up to any of the Racists and Radicals that represent the right wing conservative party.....(Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Vitter) any politician trying to continue to say this President isn't a US citizen and all the other propaganda is totally Racists and Bigots and Insane......will not vote for any of them

    July 14, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Susie

    But no one in the Tea Party is racist; they said so yesterday! So if they aren't racist, they are just stupid...Bush was far more like Hitler and they loved his policies.

    July 14, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Thomas

    The Irony is that the Tea Party "{Prey's} on the Fearful & the Naïve". They propigate the message that Obama is a socialist, not a legal citizen, or muslim when the facts show that none of these things are true. If they only told the truth in their advertising they would have very little to say.

    July 14, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. jenn, philadelphia

    I'm sure this is where the liberals and their media lap-dog comment that this is proof of the racism of the Tea Party movement. They of course will conveniently forget to mention all the posters of George W. Bush with a Hitler mustache created by the left's wingnuts.

    July 14, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Jeff in Oregon

    The American tea party is a joke and an embarrassment, clearly full of racism and hate. I will not vote for anyone associated with this group. Do tea party members really think these types of views and actions are whet we need in our government? If elected do you think they would represent all Americans. I don't and I am glad I live in Oregon where the only thing at a tea party is good organic tea and good peaceful conversations with family, neighbors and friends. Find some love and spread it tea party members. Drop the hate.

    July 14, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. vs

    The "breakdown in communication" was that expression of their inherent rascism have to be more properly directed and graduated to motivate like minded bigots. They just were a little too enthusiastic and need to remind themselves that they haven't reversed the perversions of the liberals such as civil rights yet. They need to be a little more patient. .

    July 14, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Mudfoot

    "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve"... Wow, that statement applies perfectly to the Tea Party itself....

    July 14, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Sam I Am

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with a political discussion about the pros and cons of a particular politician or his or her party. In fact, the American political system was designed to have a natural tension in which people from various political positions discuss issues coming from different angles, and then work together to find comprimises that perhaps not everyone is completely happy with, but which are workable. That being said, the Tea Partier's tendency to name call, post inflamatory images, and make dire threats about where the country is headed and what will happen if things are allowed to continue "this way" are the ravings of petulant children. I do not believe the 2nd Amendment covers the right to act like a screaming 2 year old. The only thing this bill board did is show just how incredibly stupid these people are. It was an unintended effect on their part, but it worked really well.

    July 14, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. zb

    >>>"Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve" <<<

    funny thing this term. Could one apply it to the Bush/Cheney admin and their justifying going after Iraq? AT&T wire taps etc.

    Can we move on and look at the hole we are in? Can people offer solutions rather than nay saying? Obama is not perfect and he so much as admits it, he also needs our collective help during these times to figure out a way forward.

    July 14, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
1 2 3 4 5