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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    "we discourage inflammatory billboards"

    If you discourage inflammatory messages, you should tell that to your gang of bigots. The Tea Party are a bunch of hateful people.

    July 14, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Really, really?
    "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."
    So now you have the state teabaggers and the teabaggers party and the teabagging freakin idiots because you all are idiots!
    If President Obama was really even closely related to hitler and/or lenin you teabaggers would be having fun with bubba in jail, or worse yet, in some concentration camp waiting for the gas chambers.
    You people have no idea how good you have it in the US. This is disrespectful of not just the President but of anyone who lives in the US who doesn't "think" the way you teabaggers do.
    Crosshairs and revolution and if not by votes then guns is not trying to lead by fear? In what world? Your demented world?
    No, of course you are not a racist bunch of bigots. Who in their right mind would think of all of you as such!

    July 14, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. phoenix86

    What a great billboard. Of course, democraps cannot face the truth.

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

    and they say their movement is not based on hate...

    July 14, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Jeff S

    Its extremely sad how easily the Tea Party was derailed into a tool for the extreme faction of Neoconservatives, when in the beginning, it stood as a polar opposite to the Neocon wing of the Republican party.

    July 14, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Patrick

    "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve"..
    of course the Tea Party had to pull it down, their secret got out..

    LOL

    July 14, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Brian L

    It is sad that the TEA party is trying to stoke fear

    July 14, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Art Mills

    It constantly amazes me that the so-called leaders of the Tea Party movement allow rascist, outrageous statements to made in their name and then take steps to distance themselves from those same statements. If they are truly leaders, they will take swift clear steps to prevent this kind of trash from being distributed.

    July 14, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. Steph

    American exceptionalism???Like the fact that I think it is exceptional that this country elected an amazing African American president???

    July 14, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Sounds like it could be one of those liberal "red herring" things like SEIU would pull to reenforce the "bad" behavior image that they try to project of the TEA party. Then again, the message is true and the libs didn't seem to mind at all when this sort of thing happened to Bush and lets not forget "Petraeus Betray Us" stuff by MoveOn.org. (a wholly owned subsidiary of SEIU just like ACORN and AARP).

    July 14, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. sloop

    The Tea Party traitors are fascists, plain and simple.

    July 14, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Justin

    This is absurd. The Tea Party as a whole should be condemned for things like this. I don't know what makes people think its okay to do something like this. Its just plain wrong.

    July 14, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. MaryAnn in VA

    The great thing about the Tea Party movement is that it cannot disguise it's core beliefs and central message. The apparent misinformation and and plain hatred that has been spewed against the president and other folks who disagree with the tea party is amazing. The bill board is just another "oops" from the true force behind the tea party and shows thier true colors.

    July 14, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Lynette

    Sounds like the NAACP was right on the marker.

    July 14, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. Geoff

    The Teaparty billboard reads: Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve". Hello Pot, this is Kettle, you're Black. Actually, whereas naivety is concerned, that would be an enormous understatement. Ignorance, intellectually non curious, come to mind.

    July 14, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. jeff jackson, alabama

    Seems like I remember alot of letters in these blogs
    calling Bush and Cheney Nazis.
    Now I was offended by that but the term freedom of speech
    would keep coming up if a conservative protested.
    I'm not saying the billboard was appropriate . Personally,
    I think the bill board went way too far.
    But I am saying alot of you liberals out there epitomize
    the word HYPOCRIT.

    July 14, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. vic

    Our country is in wrong direction yes but this didn’t start past 1 ½ years it was going on long time

    This kind of billboards heartlessness

    July 14, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. scott

    funny, no one complained when Florida used taxpayer money to run a TV spot linking a tobacco company executive with Hitler. Yet the state pocketed billions of dollars from smokers. why is it wrong to do the same to obama (i think its a dumb idea, but that's not the point....)...

    July 14, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. LouAz

    Joseph Goebbells would have been proud of you TPers !

    July 14, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. Robert

    Typical GOP scare tactics: preying on the fears of the naive. Where are the solutions GOP? Where are they TEA party? What exactly are you offering other than "socialist this" and "socialist that"?

    July 14, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. george wheeldon

    The only thing the tea party has to run on is racism and fear. Just look at the candidates.

    July 14, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. JD

    What a bunch of freaks

    July 14, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Tillerby

    seems the NAACP was right, The Tea Party IS a racist organization.

    July 14, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. T'SAH from Virginia

    AND THEY CLAIM THEY ARE NOT RACIST!!!!!!

    Man – the SHISH-ka-bob is going to hit the FAN!!!

    July 14, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Craig

    Shows how horrible and what biggots some people are. No grand debate only hate

    July 14, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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