The sign shows a Tea Party rally, along with a sign “Vote Steve Stivers May 4th,” referring to a candidate in next week’s House primaries. Stivers has the party’s endorsement for the GOP nomination to run against freshman Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, who narrowly defeated Stivers in the 2008 open-seat race.
The sign is added in. It is also very large, relative to the people and other protest signs in the rest of the photo. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the sign would have to be 30-50 feet high. The liberal Plunderbund site gave it a satirical news headline: “58 Tea Party protesters killed by falling giant Stivers sign.”In an interview with TPMDC, Ohio GOP spokesman John McClelland brushed off the attention that the mailing has received. “The photo was taken by us, and obviously the giant cartoon sign was added to make a political point that Steve Stivers shares the values of the people of that rally,” said McClelland.
I asked McClelland what he would say to those who maintain that the mailer is misleading — that somebody looking at it might initially think that the sign was real. McClelland responded with a question of his own: “Have you seen it?”
“This isn’t the first piece of political mail in which Photoshop was used,” said McClelland. He also added: “I’ve got plenty of mail pieces on my desk where the Democrats, from the Ohio Democrat Party and the DCCC, have used Photoshop against Steve Stivers. So criticizing the use of Photoshop in political mail, I don’t think the Democrats have any political room to be criticizing.”
Separately, a Stivers aide sent Ben Smith an example of a mailer in which Stivers is depicted as being hooked up to a lie-detector machine, in what is apparently supposed to be an equivalent example of Photoshopping by Democrats.