"Offensive." "Abhorrent." "Pathetic." Words like that are being used to describe a billboard in Caldwell, Idaho, that compares President Barack Obama — unfavorably — to James Eagan Holmes, the suspect in the shooting deaths of 12 people in a Colorado movie theater last week.
The sign features photos of Holmes and Obama side by side. Of Holmes, it says: "Kills 12 in a movie theater with assault rifle, everyone freaks out." Of Obama, it says: "Kills thousands with foreign policy, wins Nobel Peace Prize."
The electronic billboard often blares anti-Obama messages, but this one struck people as especially insensitive. It's the work of supporters of the late Ralph Smeed, for many years a lightning-rod activist for libertarian causes in Idaho, The Idaho Statesman of Boise reported.
"This billboard is offensive to all those lives lost and affected by the shooting," wrote a commenter on the Facebook page of KBOI-TV of Boise, which first reported the story. "Just pathetic, even if this is their expression of the 1st amendment."
Another called it "insulting, ridiculous and just plain inaccurate."
Maurice Clements, a former Idaho lawmaker who now keeps Smeed's tradition alive, told the Statesman: "We're all outraged over that killing in Aurora, Colo., but we're not outraged over the boys killed in Afghanistan."
Asked about the reaction to his billboard, Clements acknowledged: "That's a technique of trying to make a point, and maybe it was poorly done."
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