Obama image painted on Republican Club building

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NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama made an appearance here over the weekend at the campaign headquarters of the Republican Club of Southeast Volusia, or at least his image did.

A likeness of the Illinois senator, in purple spray paint, was stenciled on the front window and outside columns of the Third Avenue headquarters overnight Friday.

Club officials reported the vandalism Saturday morning and told police they would be willing to prosecute the responsible party.

"I think it is some un-American, uninformed and misguided individual," headquarters committee chairman Bob McKeen said.

Fellow Republican supporter Jerry Rowen said his sign promoting the John McCain-Sarah Palin candidacy suffered the same fate.

"They also did it across the street to a telephone box," he said Monday.

In addition to spray painting, McKeen has heard of about 50 campaign signs being stolen since Thursday. That includes a 4-foot by 8-foot billboard from the 2300 block of State Road 44 overnight Friday. But he isn't pointing fingers at his Democratic counterparts.

Clyde Walker, president of the Southeast Volusia Democratic Club, was equally disgusted with the vandalism and thefts.

"That is aberrant," he said. "This should not be part of the democratic process."

-- Mark I. Johnson