An Idaho billboard maintained by the Ralph Smeed Foundation compares President Barack Obama to the alleged Aurora, Colorado shooter, but the group funding the electronic icon claims ”We’re not saying that Obama is a lunatic.” The moving image first shows an image of James Holmes, who reportedly killed twelve innocent people and wounded 58 more just one week ago in the worst mass shooting incident in the country. The next image is of President Obama. The captions read:
“Kills 12 in a movie theater with assault rifle, everyone freaks out,” and ”Kills thousands with foreign policy, wins Nobel Peace Prize.”
The Huffington Post reports:
The billboard often features anti-Obama messages, and is sponsored by The Ralph Smeed Foundation, the supporters of the late activist for libertarian causes in Idaho. Foundation member and former state lawmaker Maurice Clements, told The Idaho Statesman the billboard is a response to Obama’s ‘broken promise’ to bring home the troops.
“We’re all outraged over that killing in Aurora, Colo., but we’re not outraged over the boys killed in Afghanistan,” Clements explained to the paper, and added that he’s not trying to connect Obama to Holmes, he’s just comparing the way society reacts. “We’re not saying that Obama is a lunatic,” he said.
Regardless of what the billboard is really comparing, the message is not going over well with the area’s residents, who are outraged, calling it “offensive,” “abhorrent,” and “pathetic,” reports NBC News.
“This billboard is offensive to all those lives lost and affected by the shooting,” wrote Fabiola G. Monrroy on the Facebook page of KBOI-TV, which first reported the story. “Just pathetic, even if this is their expression of the 1st amendment.”
Most of the messages on the TV station’s Facebook page echo Monrroy’s sentiment, and Canyon County Democratic Party communications director Judy Ferro, told the Idaho Press-Tribune that she believes that even the late Ralph Smeed would object to it. “There’s no factual basis to it at all … it’s just offensive,” she explained.
Smeed’s biography on his Foundation’s website reads:
Ralph Smeed, alias the “Curmudgeon” has often been called the “H. L. Menckin of the West.” He is a not-so quiet blend of Barry Goldwater, Walter Matheau and H. L. Menkin. Ralph was born December 30, 1921 in Caldwell , Idaho. He was the second of two sons born to John and Florence Smeed. Ralph’s father was a prominent livestock man, rancher, livestock auction owner, part owner of a meat packing company and well respected citizen of SW Idaho . Ralph’s early years were spent traveling with his father buying feed and cattle.
One of his more interesting projects was the construction of a 15’ x 36’ foot reader board sign at the edge of Caldwell , Idaho. Its messages continue to amuse, tantalize and provoke the citizens of Caldwell and SW Idaho .
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