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Fox News’ image of Texas Obama volunteers with Che Guevara flag

The Fox TV affiliate in Houston has captured images of a volunteer in a campaign office for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama working in front of a flag featuring the image of Che Guevara, the South American revolutionary who became Fidel Castro’s executioner after the communist takeover in Cuba.

And while the Obama campaign has issued a statement placing a modest distance between the campaign and its “volunteers,” the issue of such an image on display in an office operating on behalf of a man hoping to be commander in chief of the world’s last remaining superpower is raising alarms.

Even Obama supporters have been forced into corners because of the issue, with one likening the Texas state Republican Party to Guevara, to whom have been attributed hundreds of executions of anti-Castro leaders.

Under the heading “Barack Guevara,” Investor’s Business Daily raised some of the more pointed questions, to which the campaign responded only with a statement: “The office featured in this video is funded by volunteers of the Barack Obama Campaign and is not an official headquarters for his campaign.”


“How is it a front-runner for the highest office in the land can reject an American flag on his lapel but permit the display of a huge Cuban flag at one of his offices, emblazoned with a mass murderer’s mug?” the publication asked.

“Barack Obama, displaying the same ‘anything goes’ standard of patriotism he showed when he ostentatiously refused to wear a U.S. flag in his lapel, now shows he’s got a whole different idea about patriotism,” the publication continued.

“Rather than repudiate the image, Obama would only call it ‘inappropriate,’ apparently without insisting it be taken down. That contrasts with his dismissal of his Senate colleagues who wear lapel flags as ‘hypocrites.’ Some hypocrites,” IBD said.

“The display of the Castroite flag with Che’s picture on it sends a particularly disturbing message about his campaign. Apparently, Obama tends to attract the kind of people who think of mass murderers like Che and Fidel as romantic revolutionaries. Those same people see Obama as a man with a messianic message.

“These are the voters he’ll be indebted to should he win higher office,” the publication warned.

But even worse, such a situation “coincides uncomfortably” with the candidate’s demands for a “no-strings-attached” relationship between the United States and communist Cuba.

“Obama’s naïve idealism is based on a false understanding of history. Cuba is a nation that aimed Soviet missiles at us in 1962 and is likely to do the same if and when Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez gets advanced weapons from Russia or Iran,” IBD said.

And, the publication said, that’s not all: Cuba also in 1962 tried to launch a 9/11-style attack on New York’s subways, a plot masterminded by Guevara, and in 1982 it tried to get the U.S.S.R. to launch nukes at the U.S. In 1996, Cuba shot down two airplanes and killed six Americans who were trying to rescue Cuban refugees at sea.

“Had a political candidate in Latin American pasted up a picture of Che at election time, there’d be no doubt where he stood – ones who did just that are now running countries with names like Bolivia and Venezuela. Is that what Obama really stands for?”

In a commentary on National Review, there was surprise that the Obama team only called the flag “inappropriate.”

“What does it say that among these Obama volunteers, none of them thought to say, ‘Hey, fellas, you know, this guy ran show trials and executions … Is this really the image of ‘change’ we want to project to the electorate?’”

Some Obama supporters defended the candidate’s response.

Steve Benen, a Huffington Post contributor, wrote in his Carpetbaggerrerport blog, “If it behooves Obama to renounce Che, would it also behoove [GOP candidate John] McCain to renounce the Texas GOP’s lunacy?”

He had explained, “The far-right sure does find some odd things to get excited about” and describe the outrage over the Guevara flag as a “major-league freak-out.”

Benen said he wanted to “nip this in the bud.”

“The reality is, a volunteer found office space in advance of actual campaign staffers arriving in Houston. One of these volunteers put up the flag, presumably taken from some dorm-room wall. When actual, paid campaign aides show up – they’re due by the end of the week – one can safely assume the flag will be gone.”

He likened the Texas GOP to Guevara because he says it suggests the U.S. monetary system be returned to the gold standard, the decriminalization of sodomy be reversed, the IRS be abolished and the U.S. should drop out of the United Nations.

On the Lone Star Times website, the authors said they had tentatively identified the volunteer as a Maria Isabel, based on her matching photos and identification in an earlier news report.

And on the Powerline Blog, the authors criticized the Obama campaign’s “muted” response.

“This incident is significant, however, in that it reveals what sort of change at least some of Obama’s supporters think he has in mind. Are they wrong? Maybe, but what has Obama said or done to disabuse them of the idea that he is a Che-admiring leftist?” the authors said.

“Then again, maybe these far-left Obama supporters are ‘confused’ because they’ve been following his votes in the Senate. Obama was one of only 29 senators who voted to filibuster the provision of the FISA reform bill that extended immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperate with law enforcement and intelligence authorities in identifying international terrorist communications,” they wrote.


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