In the small town of Hanson in Mitt Romney’s home state of Massachusetts, three negative billboards aimed toward President Barack Obama have sparked a bit of controversy with some residents taking offense to the signs while others say it’s a matter of free speech, reports the Milford Daily News.
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In one sign, a pouting young girl is shown in a photo giving the offensive middle finger gesture with the following text: “Thanks Obama. You’ve spent my lunch money, my allowance, my inheritance, 35 years of future paychecks and my retirement. You Jerk. Vote Mitt Romney For 2012!”
Just outside motorcycle parts store Sullivans, Inc., another sign reads: “Somewhere in Kenya a village is missing its idiot. Obama One Big Ass Mistake America, Vote Mitt Romney for 2012!”
Eric Folsom, a 27-year-old father, isn’t amused by the signs and has taken pains to hide their existence from his young daughter. ““If my [6-year-old daughter] saw that, she’d say ‘Why is that little girl doing that? What does that mean?’” said Folsom. “How do I explain that?”
The man behind the billboards, business owner Robert Sullivan, agreed to take questions from reporters on the ground. But, according to Sullivan’s attorney, billboards are a matter of free speech although the signs are not in accordance with the law, according to building commissioner and zoning enforcement officer Robert P. Curran.
Sullivan’s attorney, Roger S. Davis of Quincy, had this to say:
“First amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It’s called freedom of speech,” Davis said.
When asked to comment about the signs violating town bylaws, Davis said the matter “has already been resolved” with Town Administrator Rene Read.
“I’m not at liberty to discuss it. That’s my understanding,” Davis said.
Sullivan was ordered on Aug. 2 to remove the signs and has thirty days to appeal the decision, although Curran said that no such motion has been filed. While the billboards have residents split, a Black middle school teacher offered the most potent response to the signs.
“If you want to support Mitt Romney, you can put up positive messages for Mitt Romney rather than negative slogans for Obama,” said James Brown. “That type of statement is real redneck. It’s regressive and not progressive.”