Billboard put up by tea party sparks protest
August 14, 2012 4:16PM
Updated: August 14, 2012 4:50PM
ELKHART (AP) — Some Elkhart area residents think a billboard ad supported by a tea party group goes too far by comparing President Barack Obama to Osama Bin Laden.
The ad reads: “The Navy SEALs removed one threat to America... The voters must remove the other.”
Doris Stickel, a retired teacher, was among about 25 people protesting Monday at the billboard. “I am highly offended at that sign,” Stickel told The Elkhart Truth.
The billboard was paid for by tea party group We the People of Marshall and Fulton counties. The group’s president, Don Nunemaker of Plymouth, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he knew the billboard would upset some people. He said the goal was to get people’s attention and to encourage people to vote Obama out of office in November.
“That first section gets your attention. That’s the key in any advertising. There’s no use putting up a billboard that doesn’t get your attention,” said Nunemaker, who said he served 22 years in the Air Force.
But the protesters believe the billboard is inappropriate.
“I think that’s rather out of line,” said Adam Bope, an Occupy Elkhart activist. “To take something that extreme, that’s pretty bad.”
Dwight Fish, secretary of the Elkhart County Democratic Party, said the billboard creates a tone of “fear.”
Sue Chilberg, who’s active in the Tea Party of Michiana Action Coalition based in Elkhart County, said she didn’t see a problem with the billboard, describing it as a call “to do something about the very real threat of socialism.”
Nunemaker said he’s received calls of support for the billboard, including some people offering to send money. He said the group, which already has two other billboards up with different messages, may purchase another billboard.