In Mason City, Iowa, a roadside billboard juxtaposed the images of President Obama, Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin in an attempt to draw links between what the North Iowa Tea Party believed to be similarities in the socialist agendas of the three leaders. The image drew scathing criticism from across the political spectrum, and the party asked for the billboard to be covered with a public service announcement yesterday.
We speak with Ryan Rhodes, Chairman of the Iowa Tea Party, who says his party may share the same state and political banner as the North Iowa Tea Party, but they have no connection with the group or its message beyond that. His argument underscores one of the unique characteristics of the Tea Party movement: the decentralized (and less-coordinated) nature of the groups.
Earlier this week, the national Tea Party received official criticism from the NAACP, who passed a resolution condemning racist elements within the party. We speak with the NAACP's Washington Bureau director, Hilary Shelton.
The NAACP believes the Tea Party movement is responsible for the racist remarks of their followers, but with a lack of central organization in the political party, who's really to blame?