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Monday
Jul072014

Obama Outhouse Parade Float Draws Criticism

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NORFOLK, Neb.) -- A Fourth of July parade float has sparked controversy with its depiction of President Barack Obama.

Photos of the float on social media and used by ABC News affiliate KLKN-TV in Lincoln, Neb., show a smiling President Obama wearing overalls outside a building that looks like an outhouse and is labeled the Obama Presidential Library.

The Nebraska Democratic Party roundly condemned the float.

"There is a level of respect for the office of the Presidency which should not be crossed," Dan Marvin, NDP Executive Director, said according to KLKN-TV. "It's beyond disappointing the City of Norfolk, Neb., it's [sic] officials and citizens would allow such a thing."

Liz Guthrie, originally from Norfolk, told ABC News the crowd was laughing and clapping as the float went by. Her boyfriend Lance Harvey said he thought the float was simply political satire.

Another woman, Glory Kathurima, told the Lincoln Journal Star she was "scared" by the display and kept repeating "That's not OK," as the float passed her.

Norfolk city councilman Dick Pfeil told the Omaha World-Herald he was displeased.

"The City of Norfolk doesn't condone that," said Pfeil, who clarified the floats are approved by the Odd Fellows organization, not the city.

ABC News' calls to the Norfolk City Hall, the mayor's office, and a number listed as the Odd Fellows were not immediately returned on Sunday.

Parade committee member Rick Konopasek told the Lincoln Journal Star the parade was not meant to be any more offensive than a political cartoon. He addde that the float was the most popular of the parade and had been awarded an honorable mention.

"We don't feel it's right to tell someone what they can and can't express," he told the Journal-Star. "This was political satire. If we start saying no to certain floats, we might as well not have a parade at all."

ABC News' calls to Konopasek were not immediately returned. The float did not identify a sponsor and was listed as entry 29, according to the World-Herald.


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