July 14th, 2010
04:02 PM ET
10 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. Ronnie

    Is this not AMERICA? Where is the Freedom of Speech? Why is it okay for some to have it and not all? Our government is not working for the will of it's people ... they work for the illegals, the muslims and everyone else's citizens and throw racism in the faces of the rest who are paying for all of this treason and robbery. Time to take AMERICA back people and lets keep GOD in it.

    July 14, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. NC

    The tea party is nothing but a racist, fear mongering UnAmerican group. They are trying to overthrow the government of The United States. It is time for real patriotic Americans to denounce the tea party groups and take our country back.

    July 14, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. nn

    This is just wrong. This country is already under some forms of socialism. Social Security...Medicare... You people make me laugh. You want the government out of your business until – something happens you where you lose your house, job or money. I GUARANTEE that you will be screaming, " WHERE WAS THE GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT WHEN THIS HAPPENED"! I want my unemployment check! By the way, where are the teabaggers in LA right now. Oh, I forgot, they haven't lost enough money on beachfront property rentals yet to blame the government for not acting quicker to contain the oil spill. "D' ooH"!

    If you want to do something good and change the world, volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Pay someone's electric bill. Help someone find a job.

    July 14, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. 1st amendment

    Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

    July 14, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Rick

    truth hurts doesnt it Dems and obama, to bad pelosi isnt up there too.

    July 14, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. White Picket Fences

    This is the last straw. I fully supported the Tea Party when I thought they really wanted to represent ME. However, they are just as self-centered and profit driven as the crooks who sit in congress now, if not MORE so. This is nothing but a bunch of old white men who want to keep unregulated, negligent capitalism as the foundation for the US, and create a population of "worker bees" to support them.

    July 14, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. RoyalBloke

    Now that's irony, the north iowa teaparty crazies preying on the fearful (gee isn't it a frightening billboard) and naive (people who think hitler and obama are socialists like marx) with this billboard. But this is how they really think people. They're INSANE.

    July 14, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Kevin in Kentucky

    I only have 2 words to say about that billboard, " UGLY " and " REDICULOUS "

    July 14, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. AR

    stupid old freedom of speech pissing people off again. we should get rid of it.

    July 14, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. KM

    And you want to claim that the Tea Party is all-inclusive? The last time I checked, President Obama didn't take away any of my freedoms, it was the last president in the name of "national security" and it's called the Patriot Act.

    July 14, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. John

    The sign reads "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful and Naive."

    Boy, the Tea Party sure does. Comparing Hitler and Lenin to Obama only works with scared idiots.

    July 14, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve"? This is the funniest example of "If the shoe fits, wear it" I've ever seen.

    July 14, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. Bob in PA

    Just curious as to why it was papered over.
    Regardless of bad taste, isn't this still America ?
    Don't we as individuals still have a right to express our opinions ?

    July 14, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. burgs

    what a sad state of affairs that our country finds itself! truly canwe get any lower?

    July 14, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. Alex in Gig Harbor, WA

    How can President Obama possibly be a Nazi and a communist??? They are, by definition, mutually exclusive political systems.

    July 14, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Mikey

    Radical leaders pray on the fearful and naive?? I thought the billboard was about Obama, not the National Tea Party.

    The four horsemen of the Tea Party:

    But I think the name Tea Party PATRIOTS explains a lot. if you know anything about the "patriot" movement in the U.S.

    July 14, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. burgs

    what a sad state of affairs that our country finds itself! truly can we get any lower?

    July 14, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Common Cents

    Tea Partiers: "We're not RACIST!"....and I have a bridge that I want to sell ya! *wink*

    July 14, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. nini

    The socialist message is correct the killing innocent people IS NOT.

    They share the same fundamental idea of Social justice and government control.

    But I see how it could be used as CNN did here to say "they are comparing Obama to Hitler". Now they all share the same idea but two were killers were Obama is clearly NOT.

    July 14, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. Erin

    ha – well the truth hurts sometimes I guess,...

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

    I just don't get these people. They keep comparing Obama to Hitler but it doesn't make any sense. Where were they when George Bush was getting rid of the Habeus Corpus, having warrentless wiretaps and giving away tons of no bid contracts in his ill conceived wars that killed thousands of innocent people? Obama hasn't done anything on par with all that.

    July 14, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. Renee

    Look at that mess. They are so stupid it's beyond reasoning.

    July 14, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. Bobby Ray

    "Radical Leaders Do Prey on the Fearful & the Naïve" Leaders like the North Iowa Tea Party.

    July 14, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    What do you expect from Republican filth?

    What did these same guys say 2 years ago, it's unpatriotic to not support the President???

    Ah the HYPOCRISY......

    July 14, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Hendrik

    The ENTIRE tea party is a disgusting example of our declining country. It is amazing that even the team partiers who stooped to this level. We blame Move On for its inflamatory statements and we are all up in arms. When the tea party does the same thing it is swept away as a few extremists. The group that posted the billboard is not a group of tea party extremists. THIS IS THE TEA PARTY.

    July 14, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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