July 14th, 2010
04:02 PM ET
13 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. Terry

    Oh ya, these folks are the ones I want leading the country. You betcha!!??

    July 14, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. Scott O' Canada

    Holy Cow. Whose the King Cranium who came up with that one? The person, or persons, who came up with that sign surely has no foothold in reality. I'm not a huge Obama fan but those teabaggers, most of whom cannot string together a cohesive thought to muster an opion, should be summarily rounded up and seperated from the general masses. Least not to infect others.

    July 14, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Michael

    Another example of how low individuals will go to demean an opponent. When I was growing up this kind of action would not have been tolerated especially when directed towards the president. Now, I guess, anything goes. I just wonder how far down individuals will sink to promote their own agenda. I read comments today that were made by Rush Limbaugh regarding George Steinbrenner who passed away yesterday. His comments showed no respect at all. All I can say is people are judged by their words and actions. When it comes time to stand before THE Judge, all these hurtful words and actions willl have to be accounted for. We have sadly regressed beyond anything I could ever have imagined.

    July 14, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. german citizen

    Hey guys,

    I am German citizen who lived in California for half a year.
    I was appalled by that poster. Comparing a brilliant politician like your president with a cold-blooded monster like Hitler is not just bad taste, it shows a really frightening lack of knowledge about fundamental chapters of history.
    I really, really hope that such dangerous fringe elements like the Tea Party will never be elected to important public offices. We would be better off without them!


    July 14, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Pen

    Obama does want the eutopian secular socialist nation but on a page with Lenin and Hitler is over the top. Funny but excessive. Listen we had 8 years of liberals calling Bush everything vile thing you can imagine so all you Obama drones get over it because it is not going to stop.

    July 14, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. La Piovra

    It looks as if the Tea Party is finally learning to cover its class.

    July 14, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Rob Johnson

    Just because you don't agree with Obama's policies doesn't make him equivalent to Hitler.

    Stunts like this just make it easy to dismiss the Tea Party as a "radical" movement that is trying to "prey upon the fearful and naive."

    It's the pot calling the kettle black...or in this case, the pot calling the kettle a secret Muslim Manchurian Candidate who wasn't even born here and is trying to destroy America!

    July 14, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  8. Dale

    The billboard is fear-based propaganda lecturing about the dangers of fear-based propaganda. How Ironic! Of course the exaggeration destroys any credibility that it would have had, if it wasn't posted by the zero credibility folks in the Tea Party.

    July 14, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |

    These Tea Partiers are some truly sick and extreme people.
    They need to be removed from our society!
    They have now become an uncontrolled social cancer.
    These poster tactics are of the same kind that the Nazi's used in Germany against the Jews. (Look it up in your history books)
    Now the Tea Party is starting to scare me.

    July 14, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. JonDie

    The Tea Party promotes nothing but FEAR and is, by far, the gravest threat to freedom to hit the country this century because the Tea Party is really a bunch of filthy rich anarchists.

    July 14, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  11. Connie in Tennessee

    If you are going to pur up a billboard about leaders preying on the fearful and naive, all you need to do is show Republicans. All they know how to do is scare naive people!

    July 14, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. AqW

    Is this even a surprise ? The fringe group tea party, which tries to camouflage itself in various forms, cannot escape from its true character. Actually speaking, it is they who need to be next to Hitler, because they are the ones who personify everything as either good vs. evil; they are the ones who want the power-by hook or by crook. It doesn't matter even if they got only 173 seats vs. Obama's 365. What really matters to them is that they dont want to pay higher taxes if they are in the high income bracket, they want the freedom to carry guns, run wall street from greed to ground, but they sure do want to restrict freedom for other such as gays and america's ethnic population. Wait till the tea party flop becomes visible, just as was the case with McCain/Palin.

    July 14, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Bob

    These North Iowa Tea Party has shown its intelligence's again....they don't deserve a comment, so none will be given!

    July 14, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. John in binghamton

    Obama is every bit as much a radical socialist as Bush was and every president before him. Large movement expansion medicare part D and taking a suplus into over a Trillion $ deficit. Not to mention tapping phone lines and playing big brother to "keep us safe".

    These people are ignorant morons, where are their original birth certificates signed by a doctor? If they don't have them I say deport them to Mexico.

    July 14, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. Larry

    The Republican sponsored Tea Party is an absolute joke

    And talk about radical leaders preying on the fearful and naive ... those words represent the core values of the Republicans and their sponsoring of fake news sites like Fox

    Talk about the kettle calling the stove black !!!

    I have found that those in this world who cast stones, are usually exactly what it is they are claiming others to be

    As well it seems, that those that use name calling when arguing their point, usually indicates, immaturity, ignorance and no validity to their message

    July 14, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Was the irony of the bottom line of this billboard intentional? If so, the tea partiers are much more clever and subtle than I give them credit for. Have a nice day!

    July 14, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. cynthia kabisch

    "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve"

    I believe their own words tell the tale here...preying on the fearful and naive....Indeed.

    July 14, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. lolo

    This just proves how ignorant the tea partiers are. They really need to shut up and tell the truth as to why they really dislike the president. It is definitely not political. It really amazes me that of all the evil things that the last administration did , you did not hear a peep from them. Just unbelievable.

    July 14, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Tony L. - Atlanta

    I can't remember a president that has been so demonized as Obama has. This without a doubt has nothing to do with his policies or practices. This has to do with him period. I wonder why? Maybe if the so call tea parties can stop the hate and start to offer solutions, then maybe they will be taken seriously.

    July 14, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. Carole

    Is there no limit to the ignorance of the right wing?

    July 14, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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