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Presidential Election Mailers Can Get Ugly

Messages based on fear have been getting out via mailers lately. The Republican Party of Virginia has sent out an ad that says "American must look evil in the eye and never flinch." It features an almost unrecognizable picture of Osama bin Laden, in which the skin is darker, the beard lighter, and the nose covered by words. Obama supporters worry that the Virginia GOP, whose chair compared Obama to Osama bin Laden recently, manipulated the picture to resemble Barack.

Over in North Carolina, the Republican National Committee sent residents a controversial mailer. On a page next to a prominent white hand with its hand over its heart, are the words "It used to be easy to recognize patriotism."

And perhaps the most blatantly inappropriate, and most obscure, anti-Obama pamphlet comes from the Chaffey Community Republican Women Federated in Southern California. The group sent a newsletter to 200 members, which contained an image of Barack Obama surrounded by a bucket of KFC chicken, watermelon, ribs, and Kool Aid, with the words: "Obama talks about all those presidents that got their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps, what else!"

Are critics of these ads being overly sensitive, or is there reason for concern? Can these attitudes impact the election, or will there always be extreme, yet inconsequential, fringe groups.

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