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. Duck Fallas

    Good Lord. What in the world is the matter with you people. I know you're afraid of the black man, but this is ridiculous. Always the victim, lashing out. Boo hoo.

    July 14, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Jeff in Virginia

    Are the Tea Party leaders not doing EXACTLY what they are accusing Obama of?

    They are preying on the fearful and naïve. It's a straight play from the conservative handbook. And here they are, trying to project their tactic onto the very group that they use it against, the Democrats.

    The Tea Party must think Americans are really stupid if they think we'll buy this crap.

    July 14, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. MONUMENTAL TRUTH!

    This is a crying shame. They have as much right as the NAACP spreading it's lies about any of the Tea Party's organization. Besides this is not the policy of the Tea Party. All people are welcome to attend our meetings. They can see for them selves if any racial remarks are made. They may be some commentary on what wrongs OBAMA has committed but not racial overtones. Just the plain old truth. If you can't stand the truth then don't com

    July 14, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Meg from Iowa

    I find it interesting (and disgusting) that the sign reads "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve" - Isn't that exactly what this billboard intended to do?

    The North Iowa Tea Party really needs to get a grip. It is one thing to oppose the President's policies but it is another to compare him to Hitler and Stalin!

    The true reason for the hatred of Obama is becoming more and more clear and billboards like this are proving the point that they are fear mongers and hateful people.

    Most Iowans are not this way, thank goodness!

    July 14, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. jules sand-perkins

    Unfortunately, sometimes ugly shoes fit quite comfortably.

    July 14, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. dave

    Tea party, Pea party–just go away!!!

    July 14, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. JoAnn in Iowa

    This billboard was put up in my town by the local tea party group and has been a source of deep embarassment. Our town is trying to renew our commitment to economic development and present ourselves as well educated and reasonable, and then some right-wing Obama haters put up stuff like this. Mortifying!! Please everyone, know that our whole town is not represented by this fearmongering . The Iowa tea party group didn't like the billboard so it was covered today. We are good people here. Please don't judge us by the few who do stuff like this.

    July 14, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. jules sand-perkins

    There was no picture of Chairman Mao on the billboard?

    July 14, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. AnIndependentViewer

    This is obscene....the Tea Party is a shameless, wreckless group. It is becoming apparent that they do not have a place in civil political discourse....just a disgrace....

    July 14, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. MD

    Unfortunately Rhodes is right, this kind of a quick billboard message detracts from the overall message of American exceptionalism. That being said it still made me laugh.

    July 14, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. GuyinVA

    How is it that both sides of the political spectrum can get so offended by the use of terms like Nazi, and invocations of the names Hitler, Stalin, etc., and then do the same thing themselves and find no wrong in it?

    July 14, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Rob

    Why even bother commenting on such a story? It speaks for itself.

    July 14, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. John D. Nguyen

    Unbelievably in bad taste, and displayed a complete ignorance in history or politics. Fascism and Marxism are totally diametrical. Democratic ideas and ideals are like oil to those two others' water. On top of that, lumping a popularly (and electorally) elected head of state with two evil authoritarians is inexcusable.

    July 14, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Really?!?!?

    This is the type of action bringing about the NAACP claiming racism.

    July 14, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. G-No-P

    "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve"

    Maybe these people should look in a mirror and their own party. How many of them screamed "Death Panels" about the health care bill? How many claim that Obama socialized banks and auto companies, when he actually did a buy-in (not taking them over outright, or giving away taxpayer money with nothing in return)???? And how many supported the Bush/Cheney team who were "keeping us safe" all the while doing warrantless wiretaps and coming out with their conveniently timed threat warnings???????

    July 14, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. Pete in Guilford

    "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve"

    The North Iowa Tea Party is correct. This describes the Tea Party perfectly.

    July 14, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. cando

    The crazies will never cease to amaze me. What a bunch of hate filled bigots which includes my own brother who is one of the teabigots.

    July 14, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Scott Perkins, Cincinnati

    I continue to believe that the biggest threat to the demise of the tea party is those fractured people who believe the toxic trash being offered by the tea party in place of sound policies. It's almost as though they've lost their minds and we get to watch it happen each time they get together in front of a camera, which is pretty much everywhere anymore.

    July 14, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. chris brown fl

    yes i think that's true Sara painen moved into the nest and brought the band of waco's with her[ the republican base that she excited during the election] it is really A shame because we need the tea party to straighten out the political system SUPRISE the tea party is just another part of the system this has the potential of being a really good thing LETS GET IT TOGETHER TEA PARTY .

    LIFE LONG FED UP DEMOCRATE

    July 14, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. Anthony Beasley

    Nah, there is no racism in the Tea Party. (Really) Oh, where is the billboards linking George Bush to a radical figure in history? Don't worry, I'll wait while you look.

    July 14, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. kilo charlie

    what's a bigger train wreck, these goofballs or the palin camp?

    July 14, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. John D. Nguyen

    Unbelievably in bad taste, and displayed a complete ignorance of history or politics. Fascism and Marxism are totally diametrical. Democratic ideas and ideals are like oil to the two others' water. On top of that, lumping a popularly (and electorally) elected head of state with two evil authoritarians is inexcusable.

    July 14, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. RACIST TEA PARTY

    ...the NAACP was SPOT ON for calling-out the TEA PARTY as being rascist!

    July 14, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. felicia

    Yea right the tea party folks just keep proving us wrong, they are a bunch of racist pigs.

    July 14, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Laverne

    They got called out on all of the MSNBC shows yesterday, that is the ONLY reason they took it down. I am so glad certain people are speaking out against this non-sense trying to paint President Obama as something HE IS NOT. Their tactic is to demonize President Obama and they are the ones who are fear mongering. They should be ashamed of themselves!

    July 14, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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