A Tea Party group in northeastern Indiana took down and relocated a controversial billboard this week, following criticism of its comparison between President Barack Obama and slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
“The Navy Seals removed one threat to America … The voters must remove the other,” text on the sign reads beside images of U.S. soldiers. According to the Associated Press, the billboard originally stood on U.S. 30 just west of the Allen County line, but has now been moved 20 miles west to the town of Larwill.
A similar sign erected in Elkhart, Ind. over the summer drew demonstrations over its content.
David Ditton, a spokesman for the Whitley County Patriots, the Tea Party-aligned group responsible for the sign, told WANE-TV that the move had come at the request of the property owner, Steel Dynamics Inc.
Steel Dynamics has popped up on the campaign trail as an example GOP presidential Mitt Romney likes to cite as proof that Bain Capital, which invested in the Indiana manufacturer in the 1990s, helped create private sector jobs.
Ditton said the company had initially been informed that their billboard would carry a political message, and that the proprietors had only recently expressed disapproval.
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports that the sign in question was one in a series of billboards that had drawn rebukes from local Democrats.
“You might not agree with the president but comparing him to Osama Bin Laden, who conspired to kill thousands of Americans, is utterly disgusting, despicable and shows the Tea Party’s true colors,” Dan Parker, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, told the Journal Gazette. “There is no place in American political discourse for that kind of expression.”
Ditton has explained that Obama and bin Laden represent very different types of threats, and denied that the sign was an attempt to directly compare the two.