An electronic billboard in Caldwell, Idaho, compares Obama with James Holmes, the man accused of shooting and killing 12 and wounding 58 in Aurora, Colorado on July 20. The billboard has sparked outrage in the community with many saying it went too far.
According to The Huffington Post, the sign on Franklin Road and North 21st Avenue, shows a photo of Holmes with the caption: "Kills 12 in a movie theater with assault riffle, everyone freaks out." Next to Holmes' photo is a photo of Obama with a caption that reads: "Kills thousands with foreign policy, wins Nobel Peace Prize."
The Huffiington Post reports the billboard that has often featured anti-Obama messages is sponsored by the ultra-libertarian group The Ralph Smeed Foundation, named after the late Libertarian activist. According to the NY Daily News, the group campaigns for limited government and individual liberty. Maurice Clements, president of the foundation's board of directors and a former lawmaker, said the billboard is a response to Obama's "broken promise" to bring American troops home.
Clements said the intention was not to connect Obama to Holmes but only to compare the actions of one with the other and to compare the way society reacts. CBS News reports Clements said the content is "a technique of trying to make a point." He defended the message, wondering why Americans are "all outraged over that killing in Aurora, Colo... but we're not outraged over the boys killed in Afghanistan."
According to The Idaho Statesman, Clements said: "There's a tremendous amount of outrage over the people who were killed in Colorado, and justifiably so, but there's not an equal amount of outrage over all the American soldiers that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the innocent civilians dying over there." He added: "We’re not saying that Obama is a lunatic."
YouTube / Screengrab
Idaho billboard compares Obama to James Holmes
NBC News reports many local residents are protesting the billboard and have described the message as "abhorrent," "pathetic," and "offensive."
According to The Huffington Post, Fabiola G. Monroy, commenting on the Facebook page of KBOI-TV, said: "This billboard is offensive to all those lives lost and affected by the shooting. Just pathetic, even if this is their expression of the 1st amendment."
The NY Daily News reports Dawn Van Nata, wrote on KBOI-TV's Facebook page: "I’m not an Obama fan but this is way out of line."
A.J. Ellis said: "It exposes a simple truth for all to see and think about."
KBOI-TV reports Ashley Helton wrote: "It's a free country, this group has a right to voice their opinion no matter what anyone thinks about it."
The Huffington Post reports that Canyon County Democratic Party communications director Judy Ferro, told The Idaho Press-Tribune she believes that even the late Ralph Smeed would object to the message. She said: “There’s no factual basis to it at all... it’s just offensive."
The NY Daily News reports Clements said: "We're not afraid of flak for what we say." He added: "We're probably going to leave it up for a while."