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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 03/02/2012

Metro chief executive speaks out on controversial Obama ad


The political ad at the Clarendon Metro rail stop in Virginia. (KAREN BLEIER - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

[This post has been updated]

Metro’s chief executive is “deeply offended” by a controversial anti-Obama ad posted at the Clarendon Metrorail station, but the message isn’t scheduled to come down until March 11, the transit official wrote in an e-mail to the authority’ staff.

The ad reads “Barack Obama wants politicians and bureaucrats to control America’s entire medical system. Go to hell Barack.”

General Manager Richard Sarles sent an e-mail addressing the ad to Metro’s 11,000 employees Friday.

“Like many of you, I am deeply offended by this ad and find it disrespectful to President Obama, and the nation,” Sarles wrote. Sarles said the “views and opinions expressed in this ad . . . are not endorsed” by Metro and “do not represent the views of the agency.” He said Metro had contacted the advertiser, asking for him to “remove or modify” it, but he declined.

Freestar Movie LLC of Los Angeles paid $800 for the ad to run from mid-February to mid-March.

Logan Clements, executive producer of “Free Star Movie,” a film about his take on President Obama’s health-care law, said he “wanted to call attention to where Obamacare is going to take American medicine.”

In his e-mail, Sarles explained that Metro “did not decide to accept this ad for reasons of revenue, rather we cannot reject it because the courts have ruled that the Metro advertising program provides a public forum protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

“There are very few limits placed on freedom of speech and, unfortunately, the language used in the ad would not be included under those few exceptions,” he wrote.

Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) wrote to Metro on Wednesday, asking that the ad be removed and calling it “inappropriate” and “disrespectful of the President.”

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By  |  11:00 AM ET, 03/02/2012

 
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