Huffpost Politics

Brad Oliver, Indiana Republican Candidate, Disagrees With Obama Punching Bag At County Fair [UPDATED]

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A Republican candidate for the Indiana state legislature left a county fair after fellow Republicans set up a punching bag depicting President Barack Obama at the GOP booth.

Brad Oliver, a college administrator seeking an open state House seat, told The Star-Press that he and his campaign team left the Delaware County Fair in Muncie Wednesday night due to the punching bag. The local Republican Party set up the punching bag during "Democratic Night" at the county fair.

The Star-Press reports:

It prompted Brad Oliver, Republican candidate for the Indiana House District 34 seat, to leave the fairgrounds, along with his campaign volunteers.

Oliver later issued a statement saying he was “unable to reconcile my own personal and political convictions with an inflatable punching bag depicting an inappropriate and offensive image of the president of the United States.”

The candidate said he felt a responsibility “help our children learn the art of political civility and the need to listen and respect the diverse views of others.“

Oliver told The Star-Press that he was still considering whether he'd campaign at "Republican Night" festivities Thursday evening at the county fair.

This is not the first reference to Obama at a Republican event that has raised eyebrows. Last month, the Montana Republican Party showcased an outhouse with bullet holes dubbed the "Obama Presidential Library" during their annual convention. The display -- which delegates took pictures with -- including sexual innuendos targeting First Lady Michelle Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).

Oliver, an associate dean at Indiana Wesleyan University, is facing former state Rep. Sue Errington (D) in November for the seat of retiring Rep. Mike White (D).

Update:

The Delaware County, Ind. Republican Party has decided to take down the punching bag with the likeness of President Barack Obama at their booth at the Delaware County Fair, the Indianapolis Star reported on Thursday afternoon.

Tom Bennington, a county GOP spokesman, said that the decision to take down the display was made after an objection from a veteran who thought it disrespected Obama as commander-in-chief. Bennington, the president of the Muncie Sanitary District Board, said the display was "not racial" and said that he considered it "mildly offensive."

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