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.