Billboard puts Idaho in national spotlight

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A billboard in southwestern Idaho that compares President Barack Obama's foreign policy and the Colorado shooting suspect's alleged crimes, has gained the attention of national news outlets, and the image has gone viral online.

The electronic billboard in Caldwell displays a picture of Obama and James Holmes side by side.

Above the picture of Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people in a Colorado movie theater, the billboard says: "Kills 12 in movie theater with assault rifle" and then underneath: "Everyone freaks out."


Above the Obama photo, the billboard says: "Kills thousands with his foreign policy" and then below: "Wins Nobel Peace Prize."

Maurice Clements helps run the billboard as an executor for the estate of libertarian Ralph Smeed, who used it to skewer government and politicians before his death in 2010.

Clements told the Idaho Statesman ( ) the latest message isn't trying to connect Obama and Holmes, but compare society's reactions.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that local Democratic leaders are frustrated by the sign.

“I think even Ralph Smeed would object to it,” Canyon County Democratic Party communications director Judy Ferro said, reports the Press-Tribune. “There’s no factual basis to it at all … it’s just offensive.”

The billboard’s message drew more than 70 comments, most of them critical, on the Idaho Press-Tribune’s Facebook page Friday.

“To the extent that it feeds rage and anger and divisiveness, it’s unhelpful to the public debate,” Canyon County Democratic Party Chairman Bob Solomon said about the billboard. “It’s just going over the top."

Source: Associated Press

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