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Anti-Obama billboard draws angry comments

Published: Fri, October 24, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

A state lawmaker says he’ll call his colleagues about not using Lamar Advertising.

By Shelby Schroeder


NILES — A privately funded billboard calling Sen. Barack Obama a socialist is being blasted by some of the Valley’s political players.

“It’s the most ridiculous, inaccurate billboard that could ever be put up,” said state Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, of the advertisement that proclaims: “Say no to socialism! Say no to socialist Barack Hussein Obama.”

The message flashes on the digital screen across from the Eastwood Mall on Youngstown Warren Road. A photograph of Obama is positioned at the right of the billboard, his face crossed out with a white X.

Clinton Nickas, with the Youngstown bureau of Lamar Advertising, the company that owns the large billboard, would not comment on the company’s policy regarding political ads.

Nickas said the branch’s business manager, Brian Connely, was not available to comment — and that his voice mailbox was currently full “for obvious reasons.”

Nickas also refused to discuss the cost of the advertisement or details of the individual who purchased it, a man named Jack Kapp, as listed on the billboard.

Hagan said he received the same message when he called Lamar but will continue calling and e-mailing the company until the message, which he termed “libelous,” is removed.

“I will be urging all my elected official colleagues not to use Lamar Advertising unless that thing comes down within a week,” he said.

A call to officials at Lamar Advertising’s headquarters in Baton Rouge, La., was not returned late Thursday, and Kapp could not be reached.

Phil Richter, executive director of the Ohio Election Commission, said the advertisement does not appear to be a violation of election laws in the state. Craig Bonar, chairman of the Trumbull County Republican Party, also deplored the advertisement.

“I know private citizens are allowed to do anything they want,” Bonar said. “But the McCain campaign, the Trumbull County Republican Party, and the Ohio Republican Party would not condone it.”

Bonar called the sign “distasteful,” adding that political advertisements should remain positive. He said campaign ads, such as the Democrats’ “Barns for Obama,” reflect better on parties. The billboard accusing Obama of being a socialist is representative of fringe voters, he said.

“We have plenty of good, nice signs for Mc-

Cain-Palin,” Bonar said, suggesting voters stick to campaign-approved signs.

Isaac Baker, spokesman for the Obama campaign, said the ad is a familiar affront by both the Republican presidential candidate and his followers.

“John McCain and his supporters know he is out of ideas and has no plan to fix the economy, so they are resorting to these desperate, absurd attacks. The difference here is very clear: John McCain wants to give a $1 billion tax cut to Exxon, while Barack Obama wants to give a tax cut to the middle class,” Baker said.

Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams said the ad is simply a facet of the political process.

“Part of what makes this country great is that people are free to express their views — no matter how out of touch they are,” Williams said.


1Eric(196 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I thought this article was about the billboard? Let's stick to the topic, andersonathan. This is one area where I actually agree with Mayor Williams. I am an Obama supporter, but I defend this person's right to have their billboard. We still have freedom of speech in this country, and if the advertiser feels Obama is a socialist, he is free to pay for the billboard. I'm sure the voters are smarter than to believe such a thing. Quite frankly, I'm offended by Hagan's remark that “I will be urging all my elected official colleagues not to use Lamar Advertising unless that thing comes down within a week."

I may not agree with what you say, but I defend your right to say it!

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2JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I was so impressed with the articles that andersonathan showed such inititive in copying and pasting that I looked them up online. The first (aim.org) has a link stating "You Won't Believe What Liberals Say." The page that details those that run the organization show all middle-aged white people, one of which went to the melting pot university of the west -- BYU.

The second one has links where you can buy McCain's autobiography, books about Palin and other right-wing propaganda.

Clearly some unbiased sites to have chosen...

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3DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I have not read said articles, but sources must always be placed under the strictest scrutiny in this day and age. 99% of the media has the main objective of high ratings, sales, and getting people to keep coming back. The media in this country is merely an extended arm of the entertainment industry.
This should be a concern. When Ben Frankiln began the first newspaper his main objective was to give the public a play-by-play on what the government was doing. Based on the events he had witnessed over the previous decades it was a fantastic idea and invention.
In the present we see every major media source and almost all of the secondary media sources bowing down to the almighty dollar and power. There are very very few unbiased sources left and a website that sells McCain books, Palin books, etc. is certainly not one of these.
I am Doctor Gonzo and I approve this post.

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