Last November, a billboard questioning Barack Obama's nation of birth and asking the question "President or Jihad?" appeared along I-70 on the property of Wolf Interstate Leasing & Sales, earning enormous publicity for the birther cause and prompting regular protests. But now it's gone -- replaced with a sign promoting Dan Maes for governor.
According to Phil Wolf, the car lot's owner, the switch was made within the past couple of weeks. He adds that he's backing Maes's candidacy because "he's not a political veteran, I guess. He may not be 100 percent mister perfect, but he's not dirty -- at least that anybody knows of. And I am totally fed up with professional politicians. Fed up."
The genesis of the birther billboard can be traced to KHOW talk-show host Peter Boyles, who began to talk up the idea last August. The next month, Wolf stepped up to offer the billboards on his car lot to deliver the birther message.
But in November, Wolf went well beyond the "Where's the Birth Certificate?" text authorized by World Net Daily, the organization with which Boyles collaborated. The image he conceived featured two Black Sambo-like images of Obama -- one with a turban, one without -- plus the slogan "Wake up America! Remember Ft. Hood," a reference to thirteen murders attributed to Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major of Muslim descent.
Shortly after the billboard was completed, Wolf said he was thrilled by the controversy. And he claimed not to be bothered by regular protests at the site, although picketers said Wolf's employees tried to asphyxiate them on at least one occasion.
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After apologizing for the gassing, Wolf organized a counter-protest. But in the end, the picketing naturally ran its course.
Why did it stop? "Maybe because we asked them to stay longer," Wolf says. "They were good for business. We offered them coffee and donuts and all of that. But they just disappeared."
As for whether the anti-Obama billboard accomplished his goal, Wolf isn't sure. "I wish I could tell you affirmatively," he admits. "But the political scene in our country is so disgusting that I don't know if it did any good or not."